Ask the Expert: Should I Buy Gym Memberships for My Staff?

March, 2013

Question:
Does it make sense for me to pay for gym memberships for my employees?

Answer:
The answer is an unequivocal yes. Many times, small businesses think this is an extra perk they cannot afford, but a little bit goes a long way. Company wellness programs are an investment in the company’s most valuable asset, its employees. It’s a win-win for both parties. And studies show that, when offered, employees do take full advantage of this benefit.

For small-business owners, creating an on-site fitness facility for employees is not cost-effective and the required space is rarely available. Keeping employees healthy by offering subsidized gym memberships is ideal.

Seek out health facilities that offer customizable corporate membership programs tailored to your needs and goals, as well as the size of your business. After all, employees in construction or other physically demanding fields will likely have different fitness requirements than those workers who spend most of their days in front of computers.

Here’s how the business will benefit:

Healthy employees are less likely to quit. Numerous studies show wellness plans not only reduce illness, injury and healthcare costs, but also increase productivity and boost morale. Better employee retention means less money spent on recruitment. Some employers have reported a 90-percent decrease in turnover among program-enrolled employees.

Healthy employees use fewer sick days. Health insurers and businesses alike understand the importance of preventive care, as it can potentially save lives and improve your bottom line. Employees enrolled in a company wellness program can reduce healthcare expenditures and absenteeism costs by 25 to 30 percent. Employees who are medically high risk generate medical-claim costs that are higher and utilize more health care. Improved health means employers can reduce the use of health plans, which lowers the cost of health-insurance premiums, adding to company profits.

Company wellness programs have a proven ROI. Multiple studies have demonstrated that wellness programs produce positive returns on investments. According to the Wellness Council of America, a $1 investment in a wellness programs saves $3 in healthcare costs. Another comprehensive study revealed that the 100 companies it monitored saved an average of $650 per employee each year.

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Author:

JASON MAXWELL, CEO, PUNAHOU FITNESS CENTER