Worker retention has become more challenging with the Great Resignation still not slowing down. Across industries and professions, people are burned out, worried about their health and safety, and rethinking what they’re willing to tolerate in the workplace. Many have quit working altogether, including the 50% of Americans aged 55+ now retired and others sidelined by COVID-related health concerns.
The tight labor market has left organizations coping with two employment challenges; 1) how to recruit new employees to fill open slots and 2) how to retain skilled workers already trained and productive on the job. With 11 million job openings in Q4 2021, applicants can be very picky when deciding which offer to accept. And existing workers who shop around for new positions often leave for better pay and benefits at other employers.
Employee Wellness Programs as a Competitive Differentiator
Given a choice, most people want to work where they feel valued and in a safe and welcoming environment. Organizations looking to sustain a productive and motivated workforce need to offer more than competitive pay and benefits – they need a well-developed workplace safety culture that protects employee wellbeing.
Workplace safety and employee health services are a competitive advantage in the talent wars, as they emphasize your commitment to a healthy workforce and bolster employee recruitment and retention initiatives. If your organization offers employee wellness resources and competitor companies don’t, that can be a powerful differentiator.
Along with attracting new workers, a robust organizational safety culture fosters higher employee engagement and commitment. Focusing on workplace safety can also lessen the temptation to hire unqualified personnel to fill an open slot. If the employee gets injured and leaves, you must renew the recruitment and training process, incurring associated costs and time lags. Using employee testing and other measures to hire appropriate personnel in the first place can improve workers’ health and lower turnover and associated hiring/training costs for replacements.
The Value of Investing in Employee Wellness Programs
A safety culture can encompass programs such as ergonomic assessments, worksite inspections, and training workers to perform their job activities safely. To optimize employee physical health, an onsite physical therapist can quickly uncover and treat musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries such as sprains and back pain before they become major health issues.
Employee wellness programs aren’t just “nice to haves” - they contribute to the bottom line by improving employee health and motivation and lowering medical costs. Studies show that a healthy, high-performing workforce can deliver measurable business benefits, including improved morale, productivity, and profitability, with less employee absenteeism, stress, and burnout.
Keeping skilled employees healthy and on the job is as big a battle as finding new workers. On-the-job injuries, especially MSK disorders, are a leading cause of employee disabilities and absenteeism/presenteeism. They also contribute to older workers retiring early due to ongoing discomfort. Employee wellness programs such as health screenings, work conditioning, and onsite MSK injury care can protect workers’ physical abilities, so they can continue to ably and comfortably perform their jobs.