Attract and retain employees with wellness strategies

Attract and Retain Your Best Talent with Wellness

With the war for talent at an all-time high, employers are frantically searching for ways to keep current employees and recruit new ones. In addition to enhancing culture, increasing wages, and implementing new policies regarding where and when work can take place, employee wellbeing can be a tool for talent acquisition and enhanced retention.  Today, we’ll look at some creative options on how to use employee wellbeing as a recruiting and retention tool.

Before going further, here is something to consider. When it comes to retention, it is important to know that even employees who don’t participate in corporate wellness can view wellness offerings as a benefit and as something they can use when they are ready.

Here, you will find more than 40 well-being perks that could make employees think twice about jumping ship. This list is not exhaustive, and some practices are not feasible for all organizations. Our culture, industries, budgets, work settings, and geography may automatically rule out some options.  Keep in mind, however, that many of these benefits could be offered to all employees; provided at key anniversary dates to reward longevity, or serve as incentives to drive productivity or engagement.

Robust Employee Wellness

Employers can enlist wellness vendors to implement comprehensive wellness and wellbeing strategies. These strategies can include challenges, education, wearables, apps, point systems, coaching, health risk assessments, biometrics, flu shots, annual wellness fairs, regular lunch & learns, and much more.  Wellness vendors can provide guidance or lead the implementation of many of these ideas, taking much of the burden off your leadership and staff.

Gym & Workout Perks

  • Reimburse for gym memberships or team up with a vendor who can provide employees access to diverse gyms and exercise classes.
  • Provide regular free onsite yoga and/or exercise classes.
  • Offer periodic onsite massages.
  • Sponsor an employee fitness club, such as a running, hiking, or walking club.
  • Provide registrations for corporate races or fun runs.
  • Create or sponsor a race/walk.
  • Furnish a Peloton (or similar) equipment/bike and monthly membership.
  • Maintain an onsite fitness center.

Healthy Eating

  • Provide healthy vending machines or free healthy office snacks, such as bottled water, nuts, and fresh fruit.
  • When catering for employees, choose healthy take-out offerings.
  • Provide onsite cafeterias with healthy options.
  • Offer a subscription for fresh, or ready to cook, meals delivered to the home.
  • Provide periodic healthy eating classes and demonstrations.

Financial Wellness Programs:

  • Regularly educate on how to best take advantage of the company’s retirement plan.
  • Provide financial wellness classes for both employees and their families.

Required Breaks

  • Promote regular breaks at work, alleviating the compulsion to work break-free.

Purpose Driven

  • Provide regular training on personal development, particularly on topics not directly related to the job.
  • Widely promote how your business contributes to society to help employees realize the value they provide to others through their work.

Get Active

  • Provide annual passes to state parks, traveling exhibits, or museums.
  • Reimburse hunting and fishing licenses or memberships in clubs and organizations that promote physical activities such as running, hiking, birding, climbing, kayaking, and other outdoor recreation.
  • Provide smartwatches to help employees better track physical activity.


  • Provide employees with ergonomic training and equip them with workstations and equipment that reduces injury and discomfort. (Don’t forget your remote employees.)
  • Make standing desks available.
  • Have an ergonomic specialist tour your facilities to evaluate workstations (and anywhere else work happens), and then follow through on recommendations.

Mental Wellbeing

  • Engage with a stand-alone EAP, as opposed to those that come free from a carrier providing other insurances.
  • Frequently communicate the benefits of the EAP.
  • Partner with organizations whose sole focus is mental health.
  • Provide training on mental health to help lessen the stigma of mental health illness.
  • Offer free mental health apps.
  • Provide onsite chaplains.
  • Bring mental health providers onsite, or include them in your onsite clinic.

Promote Volunteering:

  • Provide paid time off for volunteering and celebrate employee volunteering efforts.
  • Organize employee group volunteer opportunities.
  • Provide matching dollars for financial gifts to the employee’s favorite charities.

Population Health:

  • Communicate “We care for you” by providing disease, condition, and case management services to employees and their families.
  • Approve continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM) for diabetics to lessen the burden of tracking their glucose and to help them better understand how lifestyle choices affect their health.
  • Offer onsite biometric screenings.
  • Host onsite heart screenings.
  • Provide tobacco cessation classes.
  • Offer regular educational sessions on key health topics such as nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and dealing with anxiety.

Wellness Dollars

For those organizations that want a simple way to provide wellbeing perks, there is the option to offer a set allotment of dollars (either annually or monthly) which employees can use for approved wellness expenditures. Those could include gym memberships; entering a race or walk; personal fitness equipment; exercise or healthy cooking classes; or membership in running, exercise, birding, or conservation clubs. This gives the employer control over expenditures while providing employees the freedom to choose where and how they want to engage in improving their health.

Extend Wellbeing to Family Members and Employees Not on the Medical Plan.

By extending wellbeing benefits and perks to family members, you are showing the employee that the health of their family members matters too. Furthermore, by offering these benefits to employees who are not on the medical plan (either because they work fewer hours or they are on a spouse’s plan), you are providing another incentive for them to stay on your team.

Make Wellbeing a Part of Your Brand.

Many prospective employees are keenly interested in the well-being offerings of a potential new employer. Therefore, when a prospective employee views your website, they should see a commitment to wellbeing. Make the list of wellbeing perks as exhaustive as you are able. However, don’t make the mistake of showcasing these benefits only to prospective employees. Make sure your existing team members are reminded regularly of what they could lose by choosing to move to another employer.


Jack Bruce serves as the Director of Population Health and Wellbeing at The Benefit Company in Atlanta, Georgia, where he supports the employee benefits consultants and client teams in developing health promotion, disease management, and wellbeing strategies.


Jack W. Bruce, SPHR

Jack W. Bruce, SPHR, Director of Population Health & Wellbeing

  • Population Health
  • Employee Wellness & Wellbeing
  • Human Resources
  • (Member of Georgia Audubon)
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