light-bulb-1246043_1920There’s a lot of talk these days about wellness programs. How to implement one, how to encourage employees to participate, and how to best tailor these programs to work for your employees.

And workplace wellness programs, while valuable, aren’t necessarily the only or even the best way to keep your employees healthy and happy. In fact, when it comes down to it, the simplest solution to employee wellness could be the same strategy you’ve been using all along: employee benefits.

In a recent survey conducted by #HRWins and Namely, over half of employees said core benefits such as health insurance were the thing that most contributed to their feelings of engagement. So while weight loss contests or healthy eating seminars may help workers improve their health, they’ll never reach their healthiest self without the basic benefits they need the most. Here’s why.

Nothing beats health insurance for keeping employees healthy.

When employees are stressed out about being financially able to care for themselves, then tend to fall into a downward spiral of unhealthiness. They start to neglect their wellbeing, which leads to more stress. In fact, in a survey done by the American Psychological Association, some people even admitted to skipping doctor visits in order to save money.

When covering the cost of health care isn’t an issue, employees are more likely to get the care they need, even when they’re short on cash. And with consumer-directed health plans that include health savings accounts (HSAs), they can proactively address health issues and pay for needed treatments with tax-free money they’ve saved.

So, while–yes–wellness perks also do their part to improve health, the security that a solid health plan provides can help stop the stress cycle before it starts and help employees better manage their health on the front end.

Voluntary benefits are a cost-effective way to meet employees’ needs.

A solid health insurance plan is a good start to an attractive benefits package. But it doesn’t stop there. Just as all employees are unique, so are their health needs. While one might find value in a good dental or vision plan, another might be better suited by benefits such as life or disability insurance.


Having access to affordable benefits like these is so important to employees that they’re more than willing to pay for them. In a survey conducted by MetLife, 60 percent of workers agreed they were willing to cover more of the cost of their benefits themselves just to have access to more benefits to meet their individual needs.

In addition to traditional benefits like cancer and critical illness insurance and accident and indemnity policies, there are now non-traditional benefits that can also help address specific concerns. For example, telemedicine can help virtually connect employees with physicians to diagnosis simple illnesses or refill prescriptions, without them having to take the time to visit a doctor.

Financial benefits help eliminate stress.

In the same survey by the American Psychological Association, almost 3/4 of adults confessed to feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, with almost 1/4 indicating they’ve experienced extreme financial stress. And these financial woes greatly affect employees health as well as their productivity at work.

With the right financial benefits, employees can better manage their finances and hopefully ease some of the stress they feel over money issues. Some examples are student loan repayment, financial planning workshops, and money-management seminars.

By offering quality traditional and even non-traditional benefits, you can help improve your employees’ health, ease their stress, and help them perform their best.