What Makes a Successful Employee Wellness Program?

Employee Wellness Program
                Employee Wellness Program

Employee wellness program is a growing trend these days. Organizations are realizing the fact that healthy employees are more efficient and productive and, thus, designing an effective employee wellness program is essential. However, even if the organizations are aiming the right thing, not many have the right knowledge and experience to implement a successful program. Often the employee wellness programs look good on paper – organized, streamlined and calculated – but not all succeed practically. Switching to a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy and employees often do not consider such ideas of change. For an employer it’s a challenging task to truly influence the lifestyle and behavior of employees in a way that it changes them for good.

Here are certain tips for designing and implementing a successful employee wellness program for your organization:

  1. Analyze the Needs

Instead of guessing what your employees need for a healthy lifestyle, ask them through a survey. Including the employees in the planning and development of employee wellness program also instills health consciousness in employees and ensures that they would be using what the company offers. Understand the demographic of your staff and analyze what kind of services would be helpful for them.

2. Create Awareness

Create awareness among employees and educate them about healthy lifestyle. You can collaborate with your insurance company or other healthcare providers to offer health assessment sessions for employees. You can also circulate newsletters on health issues or can include health tips in company newsletters or other communication systems. Also, introduce your employees to services that can help them stay healthy.

3. Start on a Small Scale

You don’t have to start with a vast range of healthcare services. Start with small initiatives like replacing the junk snacks in vending machines with healthier alternatives. You can also offer employee discounts for gyms. Help your employees relax on weekends by prohibiting non-essential emails.

4. Be Careful About Unwanted Consequences

Although your intentions are good, your employee wellness program may, sometimes, lead to unwanted consequences. Review your program thoroughly to ensure that it’s not breaching the privacy of your employees or creating difficulty for employees with disabilities. There could be legal implications too, if your wellness program doesn’t go the right way, which you should consider before implementation.

5. Be Creative

Figure out creative ideas to keep your employee wellness program interesting. Innovative or out of the box ideas like conducting walking meetings, placing healthy cookbooks in your office cafeteria, mandating regular breaks during working hours etc. can help you in encouraging your employees to make your program successful. Use your imagination to find what could interest your employees.

6. Instill the element of Fun

Instilling the fun element in your employee wellness program will encourage employees to adopt and stick to healthy habits. You can introduce healthy competitions among employees like who can lose the most weight in a given time period. Also offer prizes or gym memberships. In this way your employees will have fun while participating in the employee wellness program and this will encourage them to adopt t a healthy lifestyle.

7. Provide the Right Support

It’s not enough to implement a good employee wellness program. You also need to provide constant support to keep it going. It’s important to see that your employees are indeed embracing the concept of healthy living. The employer and the management implementing the program must also actively participate in it. Create an example to motivate your employees. Those who are in optimal health can act as mentors and the management needs to monitor regularly the participation of each employee.

Success of an employee wellness program depends on the mutual efforts of all the members of an organization. Creating a culture of healthy lifestyle needs a strategic approach and the participation of the entire organization. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. If you want your employee wellness program to succeed, you need to plan and implement a unique one, effective for your organization.

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