6 Tips to Build a Sustainable Wellness Program
Now that the corporate wellness industry has grown by 30 percent in the past ten years, employers are competing with one another to offer the best wellness programs. Healthy competition is great, but organizations should focus on developing customized programs and initiatives that target the needs and health risks of their unique populations. When developing or updating your wellness program, consider the following:
Develop the program as a benefit not a perk. A well-being program is a benefit that should be included as part of an organization’s employee benefit package – the same as health insurance and vacation time. It is not merely an added perk like a corner office, a free chair massage or a convenient onsite dry-cleaning service. Including wellness in your overall benefits package sends a message to employees that you care about their well-being and that their health is an important priority.
Wellness should be part of an organization’s corporate culture. Benefits should be integrated into the workplace through informative weekly reminders, intra-office discussion boards, well-being seminars, healthy food options and fitness events. C-level executives and management should participate in well-being programs and make sure employees know it is okay to take time to attend a healthy cooking demo or a program on stress management, financial wellness or better sleep health.
Use an appropriate wellness platform. Digital platforms are useful in meeting employees where they are – on their computers and smart devices. Employees can utilize their own devices to open an app and accomplish fitness goals. Organizations can also partner with a wellness vendor that uses a robust technology platform to track employee health information, goals and progress.
Make wellness accessible. Even though every corporate population is diverse, wellness should be accessible to all; this means single twenty-somethings, working parents, those who have never exercised, workers with disabilities and employees at remote locations. Create flexibility within the plan so all employees can find something in it for them. By offering a wide range of activities on a variety of topics, all employees can engage in wellness. Peer motivation is also a great motivator so making wellness equally available to all can increase employee participation and encourage colleagues to inspire each other.
Track and promote results. Track the results of wellness outcomes to measure productivity and employee satisfaction. Take time to celebrate employees who achieve positive results. These employees can provide inspiration and motivation to others.
Successful wellness program are habit forming. Follow-up with employees and measure their satisfaction with each program. Enhance those that are working and eliminate or modify those that are less popular. Wellness initiatives that have the most success are those that encourage employees to make simple behavior changes so that the new behavior becomes second nature.
By making wellness readily available, highly visible and endorsing those employees who participate, you will create a healthy work culture and a healthy workforce.