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Make it Easy: Healthy Eating Choices Boost Employee Wellness Programs

Healthy Food, Healthy Workforce

Want a healthier workforce? Let health and wellness take the front seat by offering employees easy choices for a better lifestyle!

Making the Connection: Healthy Food, Healthy Workforce!The need for employee wellness programs is well documented, especially in the area of health and fitness. The sedentary nature of office work lends itself to job-related obesity, which can raise healthcare costs and reduce productivity. In addition, a 2015 CareerBuilder survey shows that work-related stress significantly raises employees’ tendency toward obesity. However, nutrition also plays a major role; many respondents reported eating at their desks, snacking, or eating out/takeout as contributors to weight gain.

These benefits of employee wellness programs are also well documented:

  • Decreased healthcare costs
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improved productivity
  • Reduced worker’s comp claims
  • Improved employee morale
  • Reduced turnover

The Right Choice… for a Healthier You

USConnect’s The Right Choice… for a Healthier You® program helps employees make better choices at mealtimes and for snacks, with per-serving nutritional guidelines for fresh food products that meet our healthy standards. Managed by USConnect’s staff nutritionist, these guidelines follow the recommendations of a number of leading medical health agencies for the prevention of chronic illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. USConnect’s Bistro To Go!® Kiosks make fresh, healthy options available every day to help combat the poor nutrition that often accompanies office work.

In early 2016, USConnect introduced its USConnectMe app, which puts healthy eating right at the tip of employees’ fingertips. The app, which incorporates the USConnectMe loyalty program, gives users not only the chance to review The Right Choice for a Healthier You® options, but also access The Right Choice for a Healthier You® videos. These videos feature tips and recipes from our registered dietician and are only available to employees at businesses that partner with USConnect.

One of the most frequent reasons that employees don’t take advantage of their companies’ health and wellness programs is that it’s too much work. USConnect’s The Right Choice for a Healthier You® program makes it easier for employees to make better choices, and helps your health and wellness programs to be a success.

 

What Are the ROI Benefits of Offering Healthy Food Options?

Healthy Food Options Are Crucial to ROI on Wellness Programs.

Are there ROI benefits to your company offering your workforce healthier food options? Absolutely!

Workplace wellness programs have come a long way since their post-WWII introduction. Initially offered only to the executive suite, wellness programs expanded exponentially after Johnson & Johnson showed how their wellness program improved their company’s bottom line in the early 1980s. In the past several decades, more and more companies have implemented wellness programs to reap the benefits that Johnson & Johnson first saw: reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, better retention, and higher employee satisfaction.

Implemented properly, a corporate wellness program can indeed have positive results. Quantifying those results, however, can be difficult. In fact, proof of return on investment (ROI) has become something of a holy grail for many HR professionals: elusive and possibly mythical evidence that may or may not exist. That’s why many organizations now try to go beyond simple ROI to a more holistic understanding of the full value of their wellness programs.

In most cases, wellness programs bring a host benefits that are less tangible than just reduced healthcare costs. Successful companies cite “a culture of health” or “the employee positivity factor” to identify the way broad-based wellness programs improve their organizations. The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) released a report in 2015 that showed that business leaders saw the following priorities as influenced by health:

  • Productivity
  • Performance
  • Employee engagement or morale
  • Benefits cost reduction
  • Safety

Most successful wellness programs include a nutrition component. For the best results, the programs need to inform employees to help them make healthier eating choices and also make those healthier eating choices available. USConnect’s Bistro To Go!® kiosks keep fresh foods in stock at all times, prepared with the freshest ingredients at one of our regional culinary centers. Employees are encouraged to make healthier food selections by choosing The Right Choice … for a Healthier Youselections, which have been designated by USConnect’s in-house nutritionist.