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Wellness programs extend beyond health benefits

Offering employee reward programs for participating in wellness initiatives could save organizations thousands in insurance expenses.

Rising medical costs are forcing every company to examine its health insurance policies and consider ways of reducing costs. Enacting workplace wellness programs may have greater benefits that most executives realize.

Offering employee reward programs for participating in wellness initiatives could save organizations thousands in insurance expenses. A study by Harvard University found that for every dollar spent on workplace health incentives, medical expenses were lowered by $3.27. This direct correlation has helped a number of organizations save money, but some firms are realizing that there are additional benefits to the programs.

"As the improvements go up on the wellness side, we also see corresponding increases in customer satisfaction and our loyalty scores based on industry data through third-party providers and our internal surveys of members," Paul Stull, senior vice president of strategy and brand at Arizona State, told the Credit Union Times.

The return on investment for employee wellness programs extends beyond budget savings, according to the Harvard study. Having healthier employees means less absenteeism, as well as more efficiency and engagement, which increases staff productivity. Reward and recognition programs are an effective way to encourage more workers to participate in wellness initiatives.

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