“Budget” may have six letters, but for the managers of many corporate wellness programs, it’s still a four-letter word. Few things are more challenging than striking the right balance between a tight budget and happy, healthy employees! That’s why we recommend getting a head start. Here are three reasons to begin budgeting for your 2024 employee wellness program now.
You’ll Catch the January Wellness Wave
According to the Society for Human Resources Management, successful corporate wellness programs often include perks such as healthy snacks, fitness club memberships, weight loss programs, smoking cessation programs, stress reduction programs, and nutrition information. And guess what? Employees are more likely to participate in those perks during January while they’re motivated by their New Year’s resolutions. If you need proof, look no further than the historical and anecdotal data about gym memberships. They hit annual highs every January.
Improved mental health, improved fitness, weight loss, improved diet, and improved finances were the year’s top five resolutions in early 2023, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people by Forbes and OnePoll. Odds are those trends will continue in 2024.
If you budget, plan, and coordinate your 2024 wellness program now, you will be ready to launch on Jan. 1 and help your employees build the new healthy habits they crave. Consider supporting their weight loss goals by stocking your break room with fresh fruit, hosting an office farmers market to educate them on healthy shopping habits, or inviting The FruitGuys to your next company meeting to talk about the nutritional benefits of eating seasonally.
If you start 2024 off strong with a slate of healthy food-focused benefits and activities, your employees just might reward you with greater focus, productivity, and retention. Those key return-on-investment (ROI) metrics are outlined in this 2023 survey on the benefits of food perks in the office.
You Already Have Plenty of Employee Wellness Data
Yes, when it comes to budgeting, the more information you can gather beforehand, the better. But by Q4, you already have three full quarters of 2023 employee wellness data to work with. That’s all you need to spot trends, confirm successes, and identify weaknesses in your current employee wellness program.
As you comb through the data, consider these key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Employee churn
- Sick days taken (per employee, per department, and overall)
- Wellness initiative participation rates (per initiative and overall)*
- Healthcare costs
- Employee satisfaction survey results (per initiative and overall)
Compare the 2023 data you’ve gathered so far with both your 2022 data and your 2023 goals for your corporate wellness program.
Did your key metrics improve year-to-year? Are you on track to reach your goals? Where are you falling short?
Use your existing data and your Q4 projections to identify your successful initiatives and spot holes that need to be filled with your 2024 budget allocation.
For example, if you notice you’re struggling with frequent sick day absenteeism, you might consider implementing a fresh fruit delivery program. Fruit packs incredible health benefits into small, tasty packages. Just look at citrus! Oranges, grapefruits, and their fellows have many health benefits ranging from boosting joint health to improving digestion and mood, and even reducing cancer risk.
If you’re budgeting for a new wellness program rather than refining an existing one, check out this Gallup article. It covers 10 ways to show employees you care about their well-being, and it’s packed with ideas that will help you get started. We also have a helpful blog about starting a 2024 wellness program on a budget.
*Breaking this KPI down by initiative is incredibly important. Once you run the numbers, you’ll spot the programs that should be trimmed and the ones worth repeating. This can save you from making budget cuts that hurt more than they help. For example, once you know that participation in your company-sponsored 5K was lacking, you can choose to skip that event next year and instead put your budget towards the healthy snacks your employees consistently love.
You Can Enjoy the Holidays Without Budget Stress
Checking your 2024 budget off your to-do list before the holidays will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your time off. That’s a rare pleasure! According to data gathered by the customer experience management company Qualtrics, almost half (49%) of all Americans work at least an hour per day on vacation. Disconnecting from work is also good for your mental and physical health. Even better, you can return to work after New Year’s with your wellness partners lined up and one less deadline looming over you.
Bonus: Your Employee Wellness Budget is Too Important to Rush
Smart business decisions take time. Whether you’re creating a full end-of-year budget for your company or managing a wellness program, you don’t want to find yourself scrambling to find vendors and schedule activities in January.
If you’re not sure where to start with your early end-of-year budgeting, make FruitGuys your first call. We have 25 years of experience building fruitful programs for successful companies all over the country. We’d love to run the numbers on adding fresh fruit and tasty snacks to your break room, reception area, and/or meetings to boost employee wellness in 2024.