Increase participation in the wellness subsidy program.
The wellness subsidy, designed to promote health and well-being among employees, has proven to be a significant benefit for many companies. It can not only reduce absenteeism and foster a positive work environment but also enhance workplace productivity.
However, despite its potential benefits, a recent study conducted by the SOFCO (Framtidens hållbara kontor) research project reveals significant variation in the utilization of the wellness subsidy among companies.
The study involved eight companies with a total of 9,000 employees and examined their usage of the wellness subsidy. The results uncover a wide range, with utilization rates ranging from as low as 29 percent to as high as 84 percent. This broad variation raises questions about the underlying patterns of employee benefit utilization and what can be done to increase participation rates.
The wellness subsidy is a benefit offered by some employers to promote the health and well-being of their employees. It typically consists of a financial contribution or subsidy that employees can use to cover costs related to various forms of wellness activities and health-related expenses.
The subsidy can be used to cover expenses such as gym memberships, group classes, individual training sessions, swimming pools, yoga or gym sessions, massages, and other activities that promote physical activity and well-being.
Back to the study:
To understand what drives the variation in the utilization rate of the wellness subsidy, the effects of increasing the subsidy to a higher amount were also examined. The results showed that an increase in the subsidy, specifically to 3,000 SEK, led to an increase in the utilization rate. This indicates that the financial size of the subsidy has a significant effect on the incentive for employees to use the wellness subsidy.
Part of this increase is believed to be explained by a higher subsidy covering the cost of an annual pass at a fitness facility or other more expensive activities.
In addition to this, the study also identified the introduction of a benefits portal as another successful strategy to increase the utilization of the wellness subsidy.
With a centralized platform, the benefits portal provides employees with easy access to information about available benefits and the opportunity to apply for and utilize them. This increased accessibility and awareness have been shown to increase the utilization of the benefit.
What are the benefits of a benefits portal?
In a benefits portal, employees can easily get an overview of the various benefits available to them, including the wellness subsidy. Employees receive detailed information on how the wellness subsidy works, what activities and expenses it covers. This creates both clarity and transparency around the benefit, increasing awareness among employees who may not have been fully informed about the opportunity to utilize the wellness subsidy.
In addition to providing information, the benefits portal can also offer practical tools and features to facilitate the process of applying for and utilizing benefits. For example, there may be a simple application process directly through the portal, where employees can easily fill in necessary information and submit their application electronically. This reduces the administrative burden for both employees and employers and makes it easier for all parties to manage the wellness subsidy.
How can one strategically work to increase utilization rates?
By strategically implementing proactive measures, companies can increase the utilization rate of the wellness subsidy and promote a healthy work environment. Some initiatives that your company can work on include:
Clear and continuous communication about the benefit is crucial. This includes informing employees about the benefits offered, how they can be utilized, and the advantages they bring to their health and well-being.
Generosity with the Wellness Subsidy:
Increasing the amount of the wellness subsidy can be an effective method to boost motivation among employees to use the benefit. By making the subsidy more generous, it may be perceived as more attractive and worthwhile to utilize.
Creating a Positive “Health Culture”:
Establishing a corporate culture that values and encourages healthy habits can also increase the utilization of the wellness subsidy. This can include organizing group activities, offering wellness education, and supporting employees in their health goals.
Providing a wide range of wellness activities that cater to different interests and lifestyles can increase employees’ interest in using the subsidy. This can include everything from gym memberships to yoga or dance classes, or even non-traditional options like meditation or wellness events.
Implement a Benefits Portal:
By making the process of choosing from benefit and wellness services smoother and more accessible, more employees may be attracted to using the wellness subsidy.
Increase the utilization rate of the wellness subsidy
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This is how you develop a strong HR strategy for wellness and benefits
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