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When Done Right, Corporate Wellness Has Major Economic Benefits, HR Leaders Say

When Done Right, Corporate Wellness Has Major Economic Benefits, HR Leaders Say

The more comprehensive the wellbeing offering and the better the buy-in from C-suite leaders, the higher the ROI, Wellhub finds

Wellbeing programs have become non-negotiable in the modern workplace, and they’re paying off for employers, as 95% of companies that track the ROI of their wellness programs see positive results, an increase from 90% in 2023, according to a new study from Wellhub.

The corporate wellness platform (recently rebranded from Gympass) surveyed over 2,000 HR and executive-level leaders in nine countries from companies with wellbeing programs for its second annual Return on Wellbeing study. 

According to the study, the most successful programs in terms of employee participation and engagement need to be holistic and adopted by an organization’s leadership.

Wellhub found that companies with more than four holistic wellbeing programs and, subsequently, higher employee engagement rates are more likely to see a higher ROI. Those with comprehensive wellbeing initiatives saw significant returns, with 24% achieving an ROI of 150% or more. Companies that offered only two or fewer support programs (such as just mental health or fitness) saw returns between 0% and 50%. 

It’s also imperative that a company’s leadership team partake in wellbeing initiatives to drive overall employee participation. Wellhub found that when C-Suite engagement in wellbeing programs is low (less than 30%), the average staff participation rate is 44%. Staff participation jumps to 80% when there is high engagement from executive leaders (greater than 70%).

Wellhub’s new findings from surveying HR leaders in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Mexico demonstrate that offering a corporate wellness program is mutually beneficial for employers and employees.

Investing in employee wellbeing has increased employee productivity, according to 99% of HR leaders surveyed by Wellhub, and 91% say the cost of their healthcare benefits decreased as a result of their wellbeing program, an increase from 78% in 2023.

The wellness-focused programs also contributed to reduced turnover, reported 98% of respondents, and 89% attributed the initiatives to fewer employee sick days, a 4% increase from last year.

credit: Wellhub

A Changing Landscape

As Wellhub co-founder and CEO Cesar Carvalho points out, it wasn’t all that long ago that companies viewed wellness as a “fringe benefit.”

“If employees wanted to take a yoga class or go to the gym, that was fine, but it wasn’t seen as a critical part of the business,” Carvalho said, reflecting on the not-so-distant past.

In a post-pandemic setting, the enthusiasm towards health and wellness has penetrated all areas of life — not just at the gym, but at home, on vacation and at work.

“Now it’s clear that just offering a few point solutions doesn’t work,” he added. “Being a wellness company means creating a work environment where employees feel supported to take care of their holistic health – and giving them the resources to do so. The fact that almost two-thirds of HR leaders reported a $2 return for every $1 invested in their employees’ wellbeing is an eye-opening finding that shows how this investment benefits both employees and their employers.” 

Wellhub Embraces Whole Health

As Wellhub embarks on its mission to “make every company a wellness company,” the corporate wellness giant reports that 77% of companies using its services reported an overall ROI of more than 100%, compared to 53% of those without Wellhub. The company also found that 52% of employers using Wellhub saw a significant boost in employee productivity, compared to 45% of companies that haven’t retained Wellhub.

The company, recently valued at $2.4 billion, has grown to a network of over 55,000 partner brands, providing over two million employees access to gym memberships, boutique fitness classes and wellness services, including nutrition, sleep and meditation.

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“Our subscriptions are priced up to 50% lower than market rates, offering affordability without compromising on quality or selection,” Carvalho said last month. “The result for companies is better productivity, higher retention and lower healthcare costs.”

Employees have access to several mindfulness options through Wellhub’s mental wellness partners, Headspace, Meditopia, Asana Rebel and CorePower Yoga, while a new category connects members to licensed therapists.

credit: Wellhub

Wellhub reports that employee mental health app usage is up 74% from last year’s findings. 

Nutrition services are available through registered dietitians and nutritionists via Lifesum, MyFitnessPal, Nutrium and StrongerU. Wellhub also expanded its sleep app options with Rise Science, SleepCycle and SleepScore, and added a new women’s health category with Clue, a period-tracking app. Wellness coaching is also available for private, 1:1 support. 

The corporate wellness platform has also rounded out its fitness category, adding top Xponential Fitness brands such as Pure Barre, Club Pilates and Rumble, as well as Barry’s, Orangetheory Fitness, SoulCycle, Les Mills, Life Time and Apple Fitness+.

In the second half of the year, Wellhub is expected to launch engaging challenges so employers can create gamified group competitions for its employees. 

View Wellhub’s full Return on Wellbeing study here.

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