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How to Get Your Employee Wellness Program Started

By Jaime Kennedy, MPH
Published October 1, 2014

how to get your employee wellness program started

Hi folks! Welcome to our Wellness Wednesday series!

For the next three months, we will be offering up useful information for getting your employee wellness program started.  Some of the areas of most popular concern that we will focus our attention and resource knowledge on are:

  • Addressing organizational policies that help to support a culture of health
  • Providing best-in-class wellness initiatives to prevent the top 4 risk areas present in your corporation
  • Touching upon the legal issues associated with wellness in the workplace

Hopefully, by the end of this series, I can convince you to let our RAWKSTAR team manage your wellness program.  SO, without further ado, let’s get you started with the best post of the series (well for now…)

3 Key Steps To Getting Your Wellness Program Started

Currently, The Bailey Group’s Health Promotion Department is working with 31 groups implementing, managing, and evaluating their employee wellness program.  With gaining each new client, we are typically asked the same question:  “What kinds of things should we do for our staff?”

Before answering the question, we have to first lay the foundation and gain more facts about the health of the population.  The following is a high-level summary of the steps we take when bringing on a new client that could help you get your program off the ground:

  1. Analyze Your Needs:  Coordinate an onsite health risk assessment and biometric screening event to assess the current disease risks of your population (we like to utilize resources offered by the carrier, if possible, or even negotiate a wellness fund to pay for screenings separately.) Simultaneously, conduct an employee interest survey to collect information on the topics that would be of most interest to the staff. This type of prior planning and analyzing can help you get the most for your investment because it will not only give you your “health snapshot,” but will also give your employees a chance to tell you what they want in a wellness program. Set program priorities and plan activities and initiatives based on the results of these assessments.
  2. Develop an Action Plan: This should include specific goals and objectives, strategies to meet these goals, a timeline, a budget and an evaluation plan. If your goals are clearly identified and an action plan developed, it will be easier to evaluate the effectiveness of your wellness program.
  3. Evaluate Outcomes:  Periodically review your program goals and compare with measurable outcomes or results. Keep employees involved in the evaluation process, to make sure that they feel the program is benefiting them. Adjust programs and initiatives accordingly, based on employee feedback and evaluation results.

Easy enough, huh?  Keep in mind that after you’ve laid the groundwork to developing a wellness program, you must still take the time to plan the components that will result in a quality program. Following these steps and not rushing the planning process will ultimately make your program more successful.

Building a successful worksite wellness program requires time as well as money. Some larger organizations may spend 20 hours per week for three to six months preparing all the steps prior to launching a worksite wellness program.

Monetary costs can fluctuate widely, depending on whether the employer pays all costs, the employees pay all costs or the costs are shared. The Wellness Council of America estimates the cost per employee to be between $100 and $150 per year for an effective wellness program that produces a return on investment of $300 to $450. Keep in mind that the return on investment will likely be greater with more comprehensive programs, so the higher cost will also generate a greater return on investment due to lower health care costs and less absenteeism.

Now, as a reminder, this was a very high-level summary of how we would get a new client started. Over the course of our Wellness Wednesday series, we’ll cover these topics in greater detail.

See you next week!


Jaime Kennedy is an #EmployeeBenefits fanatic with a passion for holistic well-being. She developed her niche in Employee Benefits Consulting after earning a Masters of Public Health in 2012. Since joining The Bailey Group team, Jaime has become a strategic asset to our client’s by proving creative strategy designs that focus not only on cost-containment, but go further to look at how we can use benefits to propel their business forward. Jaime especially loves her family, church, Eco-living, and making green smoothies a part of her daily routine.