Workplace Wellness as a Recruiting Tool

It’s not your father’s workplace anymore.

As millennials now comprise the largest cohort of workers, organizations have had to take a hard look at what they offer to recruits. Salary was always the number one factor in finding the best talent. While it is still important, millennials and the next group of workers, Generation Z, consider other benefits to be equally if not more important.

Recruiting is an expensive business, costing companies millions of dollars a year. Since both younger generations of workers see jobs as steps toward finding life fulfillment, rather than just career fulfillment, three years at a job is becoming the norm. How can companies attract younger workers and retain them?

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Wellness as a Recruiting Tool

Wellness programs were instituted to help companies drive down healthcare costs. It stands to reason, if you can prevent problems and encourage healthier lifestyles in your workers, you will save money. The problem was the people who needed these wellness programs didn’t use them. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers were not raised in the health-conscious 1990s and beyond. Many wellness facilities and programs went unused, resulting in more expense for the company.

Millennials and Gen Z are more aware of healthy choices in food, in work-life balance, and in exercise. Their view is one that seamlessly combines work and lifestyle choices, so wellness programs rank high on their list of benefits, while comprehensive health insurance is not as important to them.

According to career and workplace expert Dan Schawbel, “Companies are using wellness programs to lower absenteeism, attract talent and save on healthcare costs.” For younger workers, wellness programs can be the deciding factor if they are designed to promote well-being, healthy lifestyles, and stress reduction. Nearly 54 percent of Gen Z and 58 percent of millennials consider company wellness programs important or extremely important when making a job decision.

Overhaul or Implement a Wellness Program

If you think your wellness program needs an overhaul, you may be right. You can start by comparing your programs with companies that are considered by workers as “employers of choice.” It’s not just about a job that pays well and a company that makes a profit.  Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z’s think companies should have “doing good” as part of their mission, and 45 percent want to work for a company that makes the world a better place, according to information from Data from Sustainable Brands in 2014 . Gen Z believes they can be change agents to make the world better environmentally as well as politically.

Wellness programs are not just about putting in a gym and encouraging employees to use it. Modern wellness programs encompass a broad range of options, from healthy food options, participating in community events, like 5K runs, or having on-site health fairs and classes on stress reduction, meditation and work-life balance.

For recruiting purposes, make sure to give candidates a tour of your wellness facility. Detail how your company promotes wellness. This can include what healthy food options are available, what provisions you have for walking paths or tracks, and whether you have natural lighting and open spaces outdoors for lowering stress levels and encouraging interpersonal interactions. Highlight programs that include community collaboration on a regular basis.

A 2015 global study by The Nielsen Company indicates 40 percent of Gen Z want healthy food choices that are sustainably sourced, reduce disease risk, and promote good health. Forty-one percent of Gen Z and 32 percent of Millennials would pay more for these options. Organizations looking to the future should include healthier onsite food options for their employees.

As you undertake your next recruiting program and as we near the New Year, keep these ideas in mind. If your wellness programs need updating, do it now. The workplace is in flux, and it is the companies that keep up with the demands of the new workforce that will rise to the top. Discover more ways to enhance work-life balance for your team with our course Finding Work-Life Balance.

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