January 2, 2023

Understanding the Drivers of Corporate Health and Wellness

A perfect balance of health and wellness. Does it exist? To a small few, it does—but for a majority of people, finding that balance can prove extremely challenging. That’s when things can start taking a toll on employees’ mental and physical health, and the negative effects can spill into their work performance and eventually their employers’ bottom lines.

“The Great Resignation” and “work-life balance” are buzzwords we’ve all been seeing lately, and these are reflective of the fact that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nearly 4.15 million people quit their jobs in August 2022. Employees are prioritizing their mental health, so much so that an estimated 64 percent of full-time employees said they would choose working in a less stressful environment over a 10 percent increase in salary, according to research from the Lincoln Financial Group. More interestingly, nearly two-thirds of employees said they have left a previous job or would like to leave their current job because it’s interfering with their mental health.

Here are other concerning statistics:

  • U.S. workers are some of the most stressed employees in the world (Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022)
  • 40 percent of workers reported their job as being very stressful (The American Institute of Stress)
  • 25 percent of workers view their job as being the number one stressor in their lives (The American Institute of Stress)

The Impacts of Health and Wellness

Employers are recognizing that in order to mitigate the consequences of unhappy and unhealthy employees, they need to support them in a more meaningful way. Wellable Labs released its 2022 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report and found that 90 percent of employers reported increasing their investment in mental health programs.

We also need to take into consideration that the impacts of health and wellness go well beyond employee productivity, retention and morale. Taking care of employees’ mental health can also help lower health care costs for both employers and employees, as stressors can often lead to physical ailments (weight management issues, diabetes, depression, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, to name a few). In fact, the American Institute of Stress reports that job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a systematic review of more than 50 published studies of worksite health programs and found that well-implemented programs can lead to 25 percent savings each on absenteeism, health care costs and workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs.

Investing in Employees

Employers have options to ensure their employees receive the support they need to help manage their health and wellness more effectively and reduce medical costs. At Western Growers Assurance Trust (WGAT), we partner with Pinnacle Health Management to offer care management programs at no cost to employees diagnosed with a range of chronic care conditions. This program is included with every WGAT health plan purchased. Additionally, employers can obtain our Wellness Program as an add-on, which includes quarterly wellness challenges, wellness toolkits, newsletters on popular health topics and customized reports at the end of all wellness challenges.

Our previous wellness challenges included “Ditch the Sugar,” which focused on reducing sugar consumption; “Destination You,” which encouraged participants to complete a set of health challenges over a course of several weeks; and the “Rest and Revive Challenge,” a mental health challenge that promoted positive emotional wellbeing through preventing and managing stress.

If you don’t have the WGAT plan, which includes a care management program and the added option of a Wellness Program, contact us to see how we can help you better manage your health care costs at (800) 333-4942.

In addition to serving as executive vice president of Western Growers Assurance Trust, David Zanze is the president of Pinnacle Claims Management, Inc.