Workplace wellness is an investment in your most important asset—your employees. Time after time studies have shown that employees are more likely to perform well when they are in optimal health. The following are some potential benefits of implementing a workplace wellness program:
- Lower health care costs, due to a healthier workforce and improved disease management.
- Enhanced recruiting by attracting the most talented workers.
- Reduced absenteeism.
- Improved on-the-job time utilization, decision-making and productivity.
- Improved employee morale.
- Reduction in turnover. Who doesn’t want all of these things at their company, am I right or am I right?
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of promoting wellness in your company, let’s get to the basics of building a strong foundation for your plan. The
Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), an organization dedicated to the promotion of worksite wellness, has identified 7 best practices for employers to follow when building a workplace wellness program:
- Gain senior-level support. A commitment from the top is key to the success of any wellness initiative. Management must understand the benefits of a wellness program for both the employees and the organization, and be willing to commit sufficient funding.
- Create a wellness team. Wellness teams should include a variety of people from all levels of your company. These individuals will drive program development, implementation and evaluation. Consider recruiting employees from HR, legal, marketing, management and administrative staff.
- Collect data that will drive your health initiatives. Gathering data to assess employee health interests and risks will help you develop your program. This process may involve conducting a survey of employee interest in various health initiatives and health risk assessments (HRAs) to determine your current employees’ disease risk.
- Craft an annual operating plan. An annual operating plan is important for your program’s success and should include a mission statement along with specific, measurable short- and long-term goals and objectives. A written plan provides continuity when members of the wellness committee change and is instrumental in holding the team accountable to the goals, objectives and timeline agreed upon.
- Choose appropriate health initiatives. The health initiatives that you choose should flow naturally from your data (survey and HRA aggregate report), be cohesive with your goals and objectives and make sure they are in line with what both management and employees want from a wellness program.
- Create a supportive environment. A supportive environment provides employees with encouragement, opportunity and rewards. Your workplace should celebrate and reward health achievements and have a management team that models healthy behavior. Most importantly, be sure to involve employees in various aspects of the wellness program, including in its design, implementation and evaluation.
- Consistently evaluate your outcomes. Evaluation involves taking a close look at your goals and objectives to determine whether you achieved your desired results. Evaluation allows you to celebrate goals that have been achieved and to discontinue or change ineffective initiatives.