Workplace weight management programs can have a significant impact on the lives of team members as well for a company’s bottom line. A recent study conducted by Dr. Michaud of University of Nebraska Medical Center focusing on a weight management program implemented on employees at the University of Minnesota revealed that participants experienced a bump in their quality of life. Moreover, the program was effective in cutting health related costs for the university. The study found that weight management program costs ran around $164,000 per year and yielded savings totaling $3,700,000 over 3 years. This estimate does not include the intangible benefits of improvement in quality of life, which Dr. Michaud estimated to be an additional $900,000 over those same 3 years.
This weight management demonstrates the benefits of workplace wellness programs for both employees and employers. Employees make up the greatest percentage costs for companies. If employers want to protect their greatest asset, while also improving the profitability of their company, implementing a workplace wellness program is a good start. The program carried out by the University of Minnesota showed that the direct costs of the weight management program were absorbed pretty quickly and yieled significant cost-saving mechanisms. More importantly, implementing a wellness program signals to employees that they are being cared for – they are more important than just the revenue they bring in.
I am excited to see more companies pursue effective healthcare management. It's important to keep in mind that no two workplace wellness programs are the same. Each one must be designed with the specific population in mind. The sooner your company implements a workplace wellness program, the sooner you can contain costs and create an environment of excellence.