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Apr 13, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
The search for top talent is heating up, with 38 percent of employers having difficulty filling jobs, according to a 2015 survey by Manpower Group.To attract top talent, hiring professionals need more than just a well-drafted job description. Showcasing a top-notch workplace wellness program may be just the competitive advantage you need to attract, secure and retain talent.

Here are just a few reasons why focusing on workplace wellness may be the right move to find talent:

1. It boosts the employer brand

The term “employer brand” has been buzzing around for awhile, but it’s more than just hype.<

A survey of more than 10,000 professionals who recently changed jobs, published by LinkedIn in August 2015, found that 49 percent of respondents said the biggest obstacle in the job search is not knowing what working for an organization is actually like.

In other words, their impression of the company, or the employer brand, is critical during the job search.

Employer brands are built the way consumer brands are built — by clear, intentional, consistent and soulful experiences.Employer brands show up in the words and thoughts of all who work at your company, and in measurable ways including employee retention and lower recruiting costs.

Workplace wellness programs help define your employer brand and set it apart from the competition. Showcasing an intentional culture that genuinely supports whole-employee health and well-being is powerful — and attractive to job seekers.

A 2015 survey of employees published by Quantum Workplace and my company, Limeade, showed that respondents were 38 percent more engaged and 18 percent more likely to go the extra mile when they felt their employers cared about their well-being.

Workplace wellness programs can boost your employer brand by showing you care, energize top talent by helping them eat, move, and sleep and collaborate better — in ways that reinforce well-being and enhance culture.

2. It encourages employee advocacy

Job seekers want more than what you have to say about your company — they want the inside scoop. And your healthy, happy employees are just the people to share this behind-the-scene insight.

In fact, when employees feel their employers care about their health and well-being, they are 28 percent more likely to recommend their workplace to others, the Quantum Workplace survey found. And it comes as no surprise referrals are the key to recruiting top talent — 78 percent of recruiters surveyed by Jobvite in July 2015 said they find quality hires through referrals.

Workplace wellness programs inspire current employees to advocate for the brand, bringing in fresh talent through positive reviews and referrals. The social technology embedded in the best wellness programs magnifies the message.

3. It builds stronger teams

Job seekers are looking for teams they want to be a part of. Workplace relationships are important to employees, and job seekers are on the hunt for new opportunities with great people they can gel with beyond the work itself.

After all, 89 percent of employees believe work relationships matter to their quality of life, Globoforce’s 2014 Mood Tracker Report found. In addition, 71 percent of those with 25 or more friends at work said they loved their employer.

Group wellness activities, challenges and friendly competitions help build stronger relationships as employees work towards personal, company and even community goals. Imagine your first impression of a company you see wearing matching T-shirts and smiling at a local charity walk. Job seekers encouraged by teamwork, friendly competition and community will lean in.

The more transparent you are about your culture, and where the concepts of well-being connect to it, the easier it will be for job seekers to determine if they’re a fit. If not they’re not, most will drop out — saving your recruiting team time and money.

4. It gives talent what they want

Above all, job seekers want employers who care about their well-being and they’re looking for companies that put an emphasis on workplace wellness.

Among employees surveyed by Quantum Workplace, 74 percent said they want healthy food and vending options at work, 51 percent said they want an onsite fitness center, and 50 percent simply want it to be OK to take time for physical activity at work.

Workplace wellness programs could be the differentiating factor that leads top talent to choose you over a competitor.

Workplace wellness programs can do more than improve employee health and well-being. They can boost the health of your employer brand and company culture, keeping top employees happy and bringing in fresh new talent.

Are you planning to implement a workplace wellness initiative this year? What benefits do you anticipate?

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.