Human Resources

Wellness Programs Combat Rising Health-Care Costs

Helping employees with their health improves morale and lowers CU costs.

April 30, 2012
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Health and wellness programs are on the rise at professional organizations thanks to the many benefits they offer both employees and employers.

Health-care costs are increasing at a shocking rate: They’re expected to rise at twice the rate of inflation in 2012.

Companies that haven’t budgeted for increased costs are looking for ways to somehow limit the costs they’re likely to incur.

More organizations are turning to health and wellness programs as one solution. These programs offer a number of benefits, according to "Credit Union Wellness Programs: Good Health is Good Business," a CUNA Human Resources/Training & Development Council white paper.

Most obviously, healthier employees mean lower health-care costs.

But that’s not all. Healthier employees tend to be happier, more productive, and more likely to perform better. This means operating costs will likely decrease too.

Plus, if employees help their families improve their health, it further decreases costs.

And as an added bonus, offering high-quality programs can enhance your credit union’s image in the community and as an employer.

Implementing a program

When designing a wellness program, the white paper advises credit unions to take these steps:

1. Evaluate your staff’s health. Using employee health assessments and biometric screenings you can determine your credit union’s primary health risks and needs.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineThis will help you develop your program’s strategy, and will provide data you can use as a reference point when determining future improvements.

2. Keep in mind your credit union is unique. Use the information you gained from initial evaluations, as well as demographic information, when designing your program. 

“Decisions on program types should take into consideration the health risks present in the population along with other factors such as organizational structure and culture, and demographics,” says Hina Vaidya, vice president of business and product development at Summit Health Inc., Novi, Mich.

“Also, simple but critical considerations will be necessary at the outset, such as establishing the best method for the delivery of programs, the type of communications that will be effective and so on,” she adds.

3. Work closely with employees from the outset. Knowing what health initiatives staff consider important and how employees see wellness efforts as a benefit can help determine your program’s strategy. 

NEXT: Factors to consider

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