Every month, the 30 staffers at Chris Boehlke’s public relations firm each get $100 to pay for anything that contributes to their wellness. And not just for typical expenditures like gym memberships or yoga classes.
“You can get nails done, anything you feel is helping your overall well being,” says Boehlke, co-owner of San Francisco-based Bospar. The company also has flex time and a generous time-off policy including 17 paid holidays each year.
As a result, Boehlke says, the 5-year-old company has lost only two staffers.
Many small business owners are starting wellness programs to help employees be healthier, happier and more likely to stay. Wellness efforts encompass a wide range of benefits and services, including gym subsidies, stipends for classes and activities and apps that help motivate staffers to exercise and take care of themselves. Owners are aware that many big companies have wellness programs, an advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining staffers.
Rob Wilson sees interest in wellness programs growing among his small business clients, and his company, human resources provider Employco, is focusing more on these programs.
“A lot of it so far has been online classes and health coaching, also a lot of online tools right now that employees can access anywhere to help them keep track of what they’re doing,” says Wilson, whose company is based in Westmont, Illinois.
They also want to care for staffers who can be sacrificing good health habits by working long and hard hours. Some owners sign up with companies that run structured wellness programs. These can include encouraging staffers to take care of their health with weight-loss and smoking cessation aids, health screening and coaching and apps to track steps, calories and other metrics. Some businesses have point systems and competitions to reward staffers.
Nearly all the 86 employees at Connor & Gallagher OneSource take part in its program created by a wellness software company, says Kayla Roeske, the director of client wellness at the Lisle, Illinois-based human resources and employee benefits firm. Owners need to steer clear of being overbearing and negative about employees’ health, she says.
Owners may need to be creative about funding their wellness efforts, especially when they include health insurance, a benefit many small businesses can’t afford. Brent Frederick, founder of Jester Concepts, a Minneapolis restaurant operator, includes a voluntary 3% surcharge on patrons’ checks to pay for health and mental health insurance. Guests can ask the charge to be removed from their checks, but most don’t, he says. Read the full story from the Associated Press.