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What’s the easiest way to strengthen your business? Have healthy employees! It sounds easier said than done, but investing in a workplace wellness program (WWP) can get you and your employees on the right track toward living healthier lives. You’ll save on more than health care costs, too — even if you don’t offer health insurance.


WWPs have been proven to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism, disability costs and employee turnover for small employers.1 These indirect cost savings at least doubles those of health care spending — and those savings continue to grow year after year as employees become healthier and happier.1  Yet so many small business do not offer a workplace wellness program.


The advantages can help knock down any barriers that might prevent you from implementing a program.




Perceived expense threatens cash flow

Note the word “perceived.” The fact is, programs can cost little to nothing when you leverage the right resources.

Fewer layers of management make leadership more visible

Imagine the impact when everyone shares the same experience of commitment, struggles and successes to healthier living

High turnover can stifle a program’s success

Employees need to stay long enough for the program to make a difference. But, health promotion can be a strong recruiting tool and WWPs can help to reduce employee turnover.1

Fewer work locations make customization easier

Studies show tailoring programs to the unique needs of a population works. An intimate work location is better able to custom design a program using onsite and community resources.

Privacy is hard to maintain in small populations

You can take advantage of HIPAA-compliant resources, including programs that may come with your health insurance plan.

Change is more evident with small populations

Positive health changes are magnified in smaller social circles and close proximity to peer support.


Work with your employees to create a program they can get excited about

  • Talk openly with them about why you want to start a wellness program.
  • Find out their needs and wants. Ask for their ideas for tailoring a program they’ll use.
  • Offer incentives that are meaningful to them. Incentives don’t have to be costly. You can reward employees with first choice in vacation time, extra days off, access to seminars and more. Let them share their ideas.


To learn more about WWPs, visit

Learn more about Aetna insurance solutions


1 Partnership for Prevention. Leading by Example: The Value of Health Promotion to Small- and Medium-Sized Employers.  (As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control). Accessed July 28, 2014.


2 CDC. Workplace Health Promotion – Making the Business Case. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2014.


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Retaining_Employees_body.jpgby Heather Chaet.


As companies grow, so do the wants and needs of employees. And with an improving hiring landscape, your star staff members may be looking around to see what other opportunities are out there. How do you keep your top employees from leaving, especially when a raise is beyond your bottom line? We chatted with small business owners to see how they retain their best-performing team members.


Make sure your business philosophy is more than words

Money can’t buy happiness, nor can it always keep an employee in your ranks. What does make a difference? Believing in what the company stands for. “If an employee believes in the company’s philosophy and really feels that he or she helped customers with their lives, the employee’s job satisfaction rating goes way up,” says Andrew Thompson, CEO and president of PEAK Performance, a business development company based in Chicago, Illinois. “When the opportunity comes, and more money is offered elsewhere, it doesn’t matter. Money is not the issue.” Though it starts when you hire employees who are aligned with your company’s core values, touch base often with your team to highlight how day-to-day operations match up with your philosophy, and acknowledge what they are doing to foster that in their work.

Flexibility equals happiness

With the hectic pace of modern life, the traditional 9-to-5 work day often doesn’t allow for a good quality of life for many employees. Advances in technology allows working from home and other flexible work options and provides an atmosphere that respects the employee’s life beyond the cubicle, a crucial element to keeping top team members. “I offer employees the option to set their own schedule,” says Leanne E. King, President of SeeKing HR, a human resources consulting firm. “We have an employee who recently changed her work schedule so that she could teach a yoga class at a local gym every morning. She comes in every day energized and ready to go. Such a small shift in hours made an enormous impact in her work-life balance.”


J.P. Medved, editor-in-chief at Capterra, an online directory of business software vendors, agrees flexible hours are optimal for retaining employees, and also results in optimal work production. “Employees can pretty much come and go as they please, provided their work is getting done to a high standard,” says Medved. Not only does this make it easier for people to deal with life outside of work (picking up kids, waiting for the cable repairman), it also lets people work when they work best and allows them to be much more productive, he adds.


Be a (transparent) cheerleader and coach

Yaniv Masjedi, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Nextiva, a cloud-based communications provider in Scottsdale, Arizona, retains key employees by keeping communication lines open. “A pat on the back can go a long way in keeping a high performing employee,” notes Masjedi. “Regular and genuine words of appreciation are incredibly valuable and should be given whenever deserved.”


Masjedi also recommends keeping employees informed about how the company is doing. “High performing employees want to know what is going on in the company they work for,” he says. “It can seem simple, but small business owners can increase retention rates by being transparent with everything they do, where the company is headed and ask for, and listen to, feedback.”



King agrees on the importance of transparency, especially when it comes to discussing salaries and why raises might not be possible. “I provide a full disclosure to demonstrate my total commitment to employees,” says King. “I often detail the overall spending habits of the company and talk about what makes us money and what doesn't. I really try to show the importance of doing smart work. The employees instantly recognize the monetary difference of re-work and poor planning.”


Provide little perks for big payoff

A well-stocked office kitchen or organized after-hour outings cost little, yet create a harmonious atmosphere. A few perks that don’t cost money: having a casual dress code and easing certain business policies, such as an allotted number of vacation days or traditional management hierarchy. The result is an enjoyable work environment that is much harder to leave.


“We have casual dress every day, unless an employee is meeting with a client,” says King “We also offer lots of coffee, water and other beverages in the office and also keep a supply of healthy snacks for consumption.” Medved’s company recently did away with its formal vacation policy, allowing employees to take time off whenever they need it. “We ask that everyone notify their managers when they're planning to take time off, or work from home. That way we can make sure things get covered, and everyone on a team isn't out at the same time,” says Medved.


Capterra utilizes a company-wide Google spreadsheet with a row for each person, where each column is a month. Each employee lists which day(s) of that month they will be out, with a "half” next to it if it's a half day, or a “WH” next to it if they’re working from home. “So far it's worked great,” Medved says. “We think freedoms contribute to an environment where people feel like they are treated like adults, and therefore are more likely to be committed to their work and the business.”


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