The REAL Connection Between Employee Engagement and Wellness

When thinking about employee engagement, it can be easy to forget the connection to the corporate wellness program. After all, each effort is designed to increase the well-being, productivity, and retention of employees.

For far too long, employee engagement and wellness have been disconnected and not seen as part of an overall plan to maintain an active workforce. HR has typically driven these types of programs, but their focus may be on differing goals depending on who you ask.

For example, an HR manager may see the corporate wellness program as an effort to reduce healthcare claims, and the impact this has on premium costs. Certain tax credits also come to mind. The same HR manager may fail to see how a culture of wellness impacts the overall engagement levels of employees when looking at it through this lens.

Wellness and engagement - two parts of the same solution

It is time to see employee engagement and wellness as an effort that produces better results when the dots are connected. When employees are healthy and engaged in the work they do, an organization’s culture and outcome are brighter. The benefits are tangible, but don’t take my word for it alone … here are some interesting stats:

A Gallup poll revealed that highly engaged teams are 21 percent more productive. When employees show up to work with purpose and passion, they tend to do their best at work. The survey also showed that the organizations in the top 20th percentile for employee engagement also had a 59 percent lower turnover and 41 percent less absenteeism.

A survey of 10,000 employees at 1,300 businesses conducted by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine, revealed that 77 percent of employees feel that, ‘health and wellness programs positively impact the culture at work.’ When looked at from this angle, engagement is directly connected to how employees view their health and well-being.

In a report by the American Psychological Association, 89 percent of employees working for companies with a wellness program reported being more willing to recommend their company to friends for employment. The report also emphasized that employee well-being should be part of a broader culture effort supported by upper management.

Let me say that again: A wellness program and an employee engagement program should not be managed as singular programs, but rather as part of the cultural norms of the organization. Making wellness and engagement an expectation, supported by leaders and integrated into the values of the company are critical to success. There can’t be one without the other.

Getting employees to participate in wellness and engagement efforts

One of the biggest challenges to implementing a wellness or employee engagement program is getting employees to participate. With anything new, it takes some getting used to, and a lot of convincing, to get employees on board. But with employee engagement and wellness programs, it’s all about the employee so it is much easier to get them involved.

Since both wellness and engagement campaigns require changes in behaviour, they can be complimentary to one another. A corporate wellness program asks employees to pay more attention to their physical and mental well-being. Things like getting enough exercise, reducing bad habits, eating healthy foods, getting help for stress. It gets them thinking more about how they can get control of their personal well-being and empowers them to take action towards a better outcome.

Employee engagement asks employees to look inward at their feelings and ideas. It makes them evaluate how connected they feel to their career and to the workplace culture where they spend a lot of their time. It also makes employees think about the good and bad of their career and if they see a future in your organization. The employee engagement program allows employees to change their behaviour and find the positives. They can safely talk about their concerns, share ideas, and ask for improvements.

The real connection between employee engagement and wellness is the commitment to making the workplace a healthier place to work -- both physically and mentally. When employees are doing well in both areas, and have outlets to reduce stress, they can become more productive.

Employees who are healthy and happy produce more because they are enthusiastic about life. Having the support and resources to make things better encourages employees and demonstrates your business cares about them. This is a smart investment.


Thymometrics is a new breed of disruptive employee feedback technology. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees and monitor wellbeing whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, wellbeing programs, productivity and profitability.

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