How to Begin an Employee Wellness Program
A wellness program may be the next big springboard to boost your company’s productivity while improving teamwork and promoting a healthy lifestyle. The most crucial step in launching a program is planning and designing its structure.
While all wellness programs have the same end-game in mind, yours will be tailored to suit your company’s needs. To help get you started, we’ve highlighted the benefits of an employee wellness program and put together pointers on how to create a successful model that is both achievable and sustainable.
Why You Should Start a Wellness Program
Before we get into the how of starting an employee wellness program, let’s discuss why it’s a good idea to have one in the first place. You must establish a well-defined and clearly communicated purpose for why you are doing this. Otherwise, you may not garner the employee support you will need to make your program a success. Let’s outline the benefits:
Teamwork: Nothing brings employees together more than a company-wide campaign or project. A wellness program will boost morale and strengthen employee loyalty.
Higher Productivity: There is a correlation between a healthy lifestyle and a productive workday. If you want your staff operating at peak levels, promote wellness. The added benefit is that your team will have that sense of accomplishment in a job well done.
Reduced Healthcare Costs: With the ever-rising cost of healthcare and insurance, you need a strategy for helping to reduce visits to the doctor. Putting a wellness program in place will improve the overall health of your workforce and minimize healthcare costs for everyone.
Better Employee Attendance: Wellness programs help promote healthier staff, meaning fewer sick days for your employees.
Fewer Injuries at Work: A wellness program keeps your entire staff in good shape. Thus, they are more likely to handle physical labor without injuries. You’ll save money in workers’ compensation and disability costs when your staff is overall healthier.
Step 1: Give Your Company a Wellness Physical
Now that you know the value of a wellness program, your first step is to assess where your employees are on the health meter. You can start by conducting a quick and easy survey that specifically addresses the needs of your team.
The survey should contain questions that pinpoint employee concerns about health and fitness. If you need some pointers on what to ask, we recommend reading what’s worked for other companies. A survey will help you in the overall assessment and give you a starting point from which to launch an appropriate campaign.
Step 2: Start with Your Top-Level Executives
If your wellness program is going to be successful, you’ll need to get upper-level management on board. Executive buy-in is critical to the success of the program for several reasons.
First, you’re going to need funding. A wellness program at its core is an investment. As such, you’ll need to create a budget and determine what the return on your investment will be. This is all established by the executive team.
Second, your wellness program is likely to enjoy stability and longevity if the team at the top is continually promoting and practicing it. You’ll need to teach your management how to lead by example. Their actions will ultimately determine the success or the failure of the program.
Third, your top-tier staff will need to provide some guidance and structure so that the wellness program doesn’t crash and burn at launch. They’ll need to determine objectives, cast a vision and establish standards and policies that everyone can clearly understand and follow.
Step 3: Develop Your Program Model
If your executives are on board and you have a budget, you’ll need to develop a program model complete with central components. The model can have several facets, or you can narrow the focus to keep everyone on the same page. Regardless of what your model looks like, it needs to include flexible elements so that everyone can participate and feel like they are getting something out of it.
One of the best online resources for putting together an employee program is Transamerica Center for Health Studies. Their report has become the template that hundreds of companies across the country have used to develop their unique systems. Once you have a basic structure in place, you can tailor it to suit your own goals and objectives. You may want to start with some entry-level programs such as:
* Strategies for reducing personal and professional stress
* Tips on nutrition and proper diet
* Weight loss programs or classes
* Exercise classes or daily office or even zoom call activities
* A quit-smoking campaign
* A healthy workplace and environmental conditions checklist
Step 4: The Perfect Program Launch Item: Water Bottles
Every wellness program needs a launch date. And every launch date needs a swag item — something to get everybody on board and excited about the program. What better way to promote employee wellness than to distribute water bottles around the office?
Rather than settle for generic store-bought water bottles, generate company excitement by ordering custom drinkware with a motivational saying or quote and your company logo.
No matter where you go at the office, you’ll see water bottles at employee desks and workspaces. TIP: Consider adding a place to personalize bottles so everyone isn't reaching for the wrong bottle!
If you want to get creative, opt for stainless steel insulated travel bottles, flavor infuser water bottles or squeeze-to-drink sports bottles.
Step 5: Provide Company Incentives and Rewards
No wellness program is complete without company incentives and rewards. You can give your employees rewards as milestones or for program completion. As with water bottles, rewards also provide the perfect opportunity to boost your company brand while promoting pride and unity in the workplace.
Here are some great ideas for milestone or completion incentives — with your company logo or a motivational quote:
* Portfolios, notebooks or journals
* Power banks or mobile chargers, whatever you call them!
* Travel totes, bags or luggage
* A true award (ask us about a useful one that combines a wireless charger!)
A wellness program may be just the thing your company needs to re-ignite your employees and breathe new life into their daily routines.
By incorporating a wellness program into your culture, you demonstrate your commitment to helping your team improve their mental and physical health. Your team and your business will reap the rewards!