Health and wellness in the corporate culture

By Stephanie Benavidez

Think back to when you got your first job. What was important to you? If you were anything like me, all you cared about was, “Can I live off this salary? Do I have medical coverage? Is there a matching 401k? Cool. I’ll take it!”

Fast forward to today: There are so many more variables that are factored into consideration when choosing one’s “ideal job.” It’s not all about the salary these days. Of course, it’s important. But, many employees are looking for the whole enchilada. (And, you can thank millennials for that movement.) Call them what you want, but the younger generations are demanding more from their 9-5, given it’s where they spend most of their waking time.

They want robust benefit packages that complement their lifestyle and culture. They are demanding more from their employer in terms of the status quo. Don’t believe me? Check out Fortune magazine’s latest “100 Best Companies to Work For” or the “Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America” list. Some of the commonalities among these companies are their healthy workplace perks – discounted gym memberships, on-site fitness centers, healthy snack options, bike share programs, and other ample benefits.

In fact, many Vitality clients have been honored by making both lists. By placing a clear value on employee wellness, companies are able to attract and retain the best and brightest to their organizations. (More on this in a minute).

There is good news here for employers; specifically, I’d like to focus on mid-sized employers. Today, roughly more than 85 percent of companies in the United States are small-to-mid-sized employers (less than 1,500 employees). With healthcare costs escalating, employers are struggling to find a solution. They’ve reached their cap to cut costs through simple plan tweaks and cost-shifting to employees.

Mid-market employers have been slow to welcome wellness programs into their portfolio. But, that attitude may be changing. Recent studies have found that wellness may cut costs for mid-market employers. The value goes beyond the bottom line and makes a company an awesome place to work where people want to come every day. Wouldn’t you like your company to be listed on one of those highly esteemed lists?

The fact is, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to change a company’s culture into one that appreciates health and wellness. And, studies show that happy and healthy employees are more productive. In fact, according to a recent study by Dale Carnegie and MSW Research, only 29 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged, while 45 percent are not engaged, and 26 percent are actively disengaged. Yikes!

When you invest in your people, rather than focus on the health risks, you can shift the paradigm into a culture full of vitality. (No pun intended).

Stephanie Benavidez, Vitality Agency Sales Development Manager, Sales Development Strategist by day, and supermom by night. I’m a lover of books, a self-development addict, a food and wine snob, and busy mom to two toddler girls while trying to get back on track with my fitness goals.


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