If you can find the right combination of features, a successful corporate wellness program can save your company a significant amount of money. After all, a healthy employee ultimately costs less money for health insurance than an employee with health issues. On the same note, it’s cheaper to institute a wellness program to keep your employees healthy rather than pay high premiums for health insurance in the future when health concerns and medical bills start to pile up. By investing in your employees’ health, you’re also able to see an immediate return as healthy employees are more productive and use less sick time. Basically, a successful wellness program is a win-win for your company!
However, while the idea of being healthy sounds appealing to most people, actually taking the steps to become the best version of yourself is a bit more of a challenge. You often need some incentive to take the first steps toward eating better or working out more. The same is true for starting a corporate wellness program. It’s the first step to improving the overall health and wellness of your workplace but simply offering a wellness program does not mean that it will automatically attract your employees’ interest. Instead, you need to take the initiative to make it an interesting program that people will want to participate in.
Need some advice to make your wellness program the best that it can be? Keep reading to see our tips on building a solid corporate wellness program from start to finish.
Before you even offer the wellness program to your employees, be sure to do your research to discover what offerings would be most beneficial to your company and what would be highly regarded as a successful corporate wellness program.
- Know Your Employees – Not all corporate wellness programs will work for all companies. Instead of copying a successful plan from another business, consider what will work best for your employees and make necessary changes to fit your office’s specific needs. Review insurance claims and health assessment data to find your company’s problem areas and focus on offering assistance in those areas. Consider taking a poll to get your employees’ firsthand feedback about which programs they would be most interested in to boost engagement from the start.Looking at the deidentified data of our clients, you would see that 65% percent of employees rate their health as good or excellent; however, 70% of those employees exhibit behaviors that make that long-term good health extremely unlikely.
- Encourage Company Wide Participation – You can’t expect your employees to dedicate their time to improve their health if the higher ups aren’t willing to do the same. Set an example for your employees by encouraging management to join in the program and provide an example for others to follow. It is critical that senior leadership enthusiastically support and participate in their company’s program. The most successful programs typically have “champions” that actively promote the program among their employee peers.
- Provide Voluntary Health Screening Opportunities – Make it simple for employees to receive a health screening and begin their journey to a healthier lifestyle. While the actual health assessment will take place at a third-party location, you can help make the necessary connections to make it easier for employees to join.
Attracting Employees to the Program
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful corporate wellness program, you need to make sure that your employees are interested in participating by creating a fun, interactive set of activities.
- Make a Varied Schedule – Offer a wide variety of programs to encourage participation from as many employees as possible. While one person may be more likely to join a scheduled yoga class, another person may be interested in learning to cook healthier meals. By letting employees choose from a variety of ways to improve their health and fitness, you’re opening the program to more active involvement.
- Offer Challenges – By nature, people love competition and it has proven time and time again to be an effective way to encourage participation in wellness programs. Fitness challenges, like to walk 10,000 steps each day, or weight loss competitions are a great way to get your employees moving. A healthy level of competition is often all the motivation a person needs to finally make the decision to get fit. Plus, it’s always helpful to have a support system and having people with similar goals is a great way to build one.
- Provide Incentives and Rewards – Whether you offer employees a discount on their health care premiums or provide monetary rewards or prizes for winning a challenge or sticking with the program for a certain number of months, incentives are a powerful and persuasive tool. People are more likely to participate if they feel there is something that they can win. If you’re not able to provide financial compensation, considering offering prizes that don’t cost anything but add value, such as a prime parking spot.
- Make It About Health, Not Weight Loss – Encourage your employees to improve their overall health instead of just dropping pounds. They’ll feel less pressure to hit a specific number and can instead focus on feeling better in every aspect of their lives. And encourage them to fill out a health risk assessment so that they can create an individualized plan for wellness based on their results.
Building A Healthy Work Environment
Make changes to the overall workplace environment to encourage your employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle that is free of temptations.
- Stock Smart Food Options – Avoid the temptation of junk food by stocking the employee break room with healthy snacks instead. If your company has a cafeteria, strive to offer healthier choices there as well. By removing the option for unhealthy snacks, you’re automatically encouraging employees to make smarter food decisions.
- Create Company Policies – By instituting a no smoking rule or by requiring employees to wear seat belts while in company vehicles, you’re setting examples for employees to hopefully begin to follow in their everyday lives too.
As your program grows, don’t forget to re-evaluate periodically to find ways to improve.
- Be Willing to Make Changes – If your initial wellness plan isn’t as a successful as you had hoped, be prepared to make adjustments. Take a look at the data to see if the program is yielding the health results that you’re looking for and make tweaks if it isn’t meeting your goals. Ask your employees for feedback regarding which elements of the program they like and which they don’t like.
- Keep An Eye Out for New Trends – The world of wellness programs is constantly evolving as new technology comes on the market. In recent years, wearable fitness tracking devices have become increasingly popular and have opened the door to new wellness program opportunities. Who knows what the next great trend will be?
Your Successful Corporate Wellness Program
Creating a successful corporate wellness program may seem intimidating at first but by following these guidelines, your corporate wellness program will be on the road to success in no time.