Mars' Jason Morgan says wellness programs often fail because companies focus on having the “latest and greatest” rather than centering on how much support the initiative is getting from workers and leadership.
Corporate wellness programs are on the rise as company leaders begin to recognize the benefits of preventative health initiatives to both productivity and health care costs.
In a Q&A with EHS Today, Jason Morgan, manager of global health and wellbeing at Mars Inc., tells readers why wellness programs are crucial to a healthier, higher-performing workforce.
Stefanie Valentic, EHS Today.com (EHS Today): Why is workplace wellness important to a company?
Jason Morgan (Morgan): A wellness program ultimately can help associates create and sustain healthy behaviors, giving them more energy, leading to greater productivity and higher performance. If you look only at costs (indirect and direct), it makes sense to try and establish healthy behaviors and environments with your associates. Healthier associates generally experience greater energy, higher productivity and fewer medically-related absences, all of which can result in significant cost savings to the company.
However, workplace wellness goes beyond that. Wellness programs and healthy environments can help improve morale and energy, as well as help in the recruitment and retention of associates. Associates see wellness programs and healthy environments as a sign that leadership supports their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The associate is then more likely to stay and grow with the company.
EHS Today: What components make up an effective workplace wellness program?
Morgan: An effective workplace wellness program should have strong leadership support and engagement, environments that foster and support healthy behaviors (i.e. healthy options in the cafeterias and vending machines, work spaces that promote and encourage movement; areas for associates to recover mentally and emotionally and programs that address holistic wellbeing (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual).
It’s important to first focus on the leadership and environment aspects because without supportive leadership and an environment that supports healthy behaviors, programs will struggle to be sustainable or successful.
EHS Today: How do you get workers to participate in these programs and stick with them?
Read the full article on EHS Today, a companion site of IndustryWeek and part of Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain group.