Today, workplace well-being programs are the practical norm for most employers, from physical wellness activities like walking challenges or on-site exercise facilities, to community building programs and financial preparation sessions.

The broad consensus of most practitioners is that organizations investing in resources to improve the well-being of its workforce will reap the benefits of a more productive, engaged workforce than would be the case if these programs were not offered. To determine the overall impact on employers, we have to understand the benefits realized by offering a robust portfolio of well-being programs.

In general, the top benefits of a well-being program are:

1. Providing an avenue for relieving stress

Properly designed well-being programs can provide a range of options to help employees better cope with the competing demands of work and life. This may include a timely workshop on a relevant financial topic, an affinity or support group where employees can connect with others facing a comparable situation, such as caring for an elder loved one or an afternoon exercise group.

2. Offering tools and resources to mitigate health risk

As employers, we care about the health and safety of our workforce. Well-being programs, such as smoking cessation resources, biometric screenings, etc. demonstrate commitment of providing resources to help people become healthier and less susceptible to long-term medical conditions.

3. Building a sense of community

A secret ingredient to employee retention is fostering an environment where employees with similar interests can connect. In fact, there may be no better retention approach than for an employee to have a best friend at work. Providing social well-being opportunities allow employees to connect with people and build trust across the organization.

4. Impacting the bottom line

Over the long-term, workplace environments that focus on well-being could recognize lower overall personnel costs related to focusing on improving health and well-being of employees. It will take a considerable amount of time to realize financial impact of programs offered. However, well-designed initiatives tailored to the needs of each organization’s workforce will reap the most financial benefits over the long-term.

It is accurate to say that well-being initiatives are “playing a long-game” in that immediate short-term savings are particularly hard to measure. By setting the example by demonstrating commitment and genuinely caring for the well-being of employees, the payoff will show up in many facets of workplace life, such as reduced absenteeism, lower turnover and, frankly, a workforce that enjoys going to work each day.

Perhaps one of the most important outcomes of well-being programs, however subtle, is development of an environment where employees love the environment and the work they do. That is what matters most.