Advantages and Disadvantages of Corporate Wellness Programs

Categories: Sustainability

Financial Solutions

Co noticed there has been a 10% increase in absenteeism in the last two years. One way to help the employees at 1-2-3 Financial Solutions Co. to improve their well-being and production would be to create a corporate wellness program like other companies such as Zappos, SSQ, and Ontario’s Williamson Group have. I have gathered information of the benefits and downfalls of different employee wellness programs that may be offered to see if they would be beneficial to our organization.

What are Corporate Wellness Programs?

Corporate Wellness

Programs can benefit both the employer and organization (Healthcare, 2019). For wellness programs to be successful, employees volunteer to participate and are not forced to do it, which will create stress. It includes a variety of fitness and mental health activities to reduce pressure in the workforce and improve employees overall well-being. They aim to promote a healthy work environment, boost self -esteem and confidence in employees and in return. In a 2017 study, employers have reported more than half with offering a wellness program benefited by a decrease in absenteeism, financial sustainability and growth, increase in production and employees who are more satisfied (Mercer, 2018).

Offering corporate wellness programs shows the employees that the organization cares about them and their well-being.

What are Other Companies Doing?

According to Statistics Canada, in the Niagara Region during 2019 the average full-time employee was absent for 9.2 days out of the year (Canada, 2020). The two leading obstacles of growth for a business is absenteeism and disability, costing employers .

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6 billion annually (Mercer, 2018). “Stress affects 72% of all employees who want their employers to help. Stress in their job has caused one in four workers to leave their employer (Mercer, 2018)”. “Disability strikes one in five Canadians due to a psychological health problem or illness in any given year (Mercer, 2018)”. The number one cause of disability is psychological health problems, costing the economy $20 billion per year (Mercer, 2018)”. I have researched to see what some corporations are offering in their corporate wellness programs.

Zappos is an online shoe retailer that offers a variety of wellness programs in a playful way. They approach it to encourage employees to participate in fun activities they would enjoy and Zappos wellness coordinator, Kelly Maher, says it’s more like schoolyard recess. They started “Recess Tuesdays” allowing people to break and play with activities at lunch such as laser tag, basketball, golf, and tetherball (Staff, 2019). If the employee would rather rest and refresh, they have a nap room with four massage chairs with a 3500 gallon salt water aquarium (Bergeron, YouTube: Zappos Stories, 2020) to recharge in or read a book. Zappos has revamped their gym membership to an onsite fitness program called Z-fit and found employees are utilizing it a lot more to build, mind, body, social and fitness wellness. The program offers 5+ classes a day, 1-on-1 training, inBody testing, and have a monthly on-site specialist (Bergeron, 2018).

“SSQ is a Canadian Financial Group and Life Insurance Company that have developed a “Health Wise Passport” (Staff, 2019)”. This program benefits all employees regardless of age, physical ability and health. The program includes an “exercise program, personalized nutritious plans, smoking cessation programs and yearly health goals”, offering rewards and prizes for employees that take part in the program. (Staff, 2019).” Their program has resulted in their “employees eating better, sleeping better, and smoking and drinking less than they used to”, and are more efficient at work in the office (Staff, 2019).
Ontario’s Williamson Group is a small financial service business firm that took a step-by-step approach to make their employees happy at a lower cost then Zappos and SSQ. The programs they have organized, and offer are a running club, “Fibre Fridays”—including fruit and vegetable trays weekly. Smoking cessation programs, fitness assessments, cholesterol tests, and BMI calculations (Staff, 2019).

What are the potential benefits and disadvantages of Corporate Wellness Programs?

Corporate wellness programs benefit both the employee and the organization by including fitness and mental health activities. This has been proven to have many benefits and shows that “80% of employees with robust health and wellness programs at work feel engaged and cared for by their employers (Shour, 2020).” Many of the benefits for both employees and employers are outlines in Table 1.1 below along with the disadvantages they may arise from the programs.

To Employees:

  1. Increases awareness of health risks
  2. Reduces the risk of disease
  3. Boosts employee morale and productivity
  4. Builds relationships among employees • Proven to be costly
  5. Doesn’t provide a direct ROI (return on investment, but lowers premiums)
  6. Programs are suppose to be voluntary but if there’s financial incentives and rewards people may feel strong armed
  7. Employees may feel discriminated if they do not participate
  8. Employees may not be able to participate if they have chronic pre-existing conditions (ie. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure

To the Employer:


  1. Saves money on health care costs, worker’s compensation and disability claims
  2. Reduce turnover rate
  3. Healthy workplace can lead to overall healthier lifestyle
  4. Onsite fitness gets people moving around
  5. Can boost productivity
  6. Reduce absenteeism
  7. Lead to fewer disability claims

 Being at the company headquarters there are many important decisions that are being made and at times can be very stressful for employees. A variety of Corporate Wellness Programs have been beneficial to Zappos, SSQ, and Ontario’s Williamson Group with many positive results. Creating a program that would fit 1-2-3 Financial Solutions Corporation could be what we need to improve the absenteeism. After reviewing different programs and discussing the benefits and disadvantages there would also have to be other factors such as financing and the space required to make an informal decision whether to move forward and create a wellness program or not. 

“The key to having a successful wellness program at work is encouraging overall wellbeing while still keeping it fun.”
“If you can’t get your team engaged then your wellness program ideas will quickly lose steam. So make your initiatives fun, try new ideas and see what your team values the most.”

Cite this page

Advantages and Disadvantages of Corporate Wellness Programs. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Advantages and Disadvantages of Corporate Wellness Programs
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