Employee Wellness Looking For “net positive” July 08, 2016 11:45

Rather than just reduce negative output, employers are looking to have a “net positive” impact, which Harvard’s Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise Co-Director Eileen McNeely says means that “a company’s impact in the world is more positive than negative.”

The net positive movement looks at a company’s impacts across a number of dimensions, particularly its treatment of both humans and the environment. On the human side, wellness programs have been highlighted as a way to provide employees and the community as a whole a healthier and better life.

Wellness programs have traditionally been marketed as a way for employers to reduce healthcare costs and raise retention rates. Yet, despite wellness programs and other engagement strategies, retention rates for millennials are still lower than their older counterparts. The many aspects of wellness programs that only have long-term benefits may not appeal to employers who have high turnover rates and will therefore not see financial benefits.

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But if an employee begins to develop better long-term health habits after participating in a wellness program and carries these lessons after they leave, that employer has made a long-term net positive impact on someone’s life, regardless of financial benefits.

“Wellness initiatives are there to help employees foster good behaviors and the hope is that these healthy habits continue even after they leave a company,” says Alan Kohll, president and founder of TotalWellness. “Wellness programs now address things like emotional well-being, mental health and financial wellness which can have a meaningful impact on a person’s long-term health.”