With the Affordable Care Act transforming health care as we know it, wellness awareness in the workplace is a growing trend as more companies look for ways to increase productivity, while simultaneously influencing the cost of health care premiums. From corporate-sponsored health fairs and biometric screenings to onsite wellness services and fitness incentives, any size company can develop a wellness program that supports the well-being of their most precious asset – their employees.
How do corporate wellness programs support workplace goals?
It has been shown that corporate wellness programs can be the key to increasing employee morale and performance, reducing employee absenteeism and preventing catastrophic health care costs incurred by employees who have poor health habits. According to an INC. article, “Findings from 56 studies on worksite wellness programs that were published in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed an average 27 percent reduction in sick leave absenteeism, 26 percent reduction in health care costs, and 32 percent reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management cost claims.”
Creating a culture of wellness can be a significant advantage because it supports working professionals where they spend the majority of their time; in the workplace. Yet, as with any corporate program, participation is the key. This requires the employer taking steps to encourage and engage employees to take advantage of wellness benefits.
How can an employer engage employees in a corporate wellness program?
Getting employees to buy in to the idea of a corporate wellness program is one part of the process. The second step is keeping employees interested and actively engaged. Read on for some suggested steps for getting employees on board, so that the company can experience the greatest return on investment.
- Develop a wellness program that addresses the needs of all employees. Your corporate wellness program will be more easily accepted by employees if you are able to solve the problems of many versus those of just a few employees. Consider that in today’s business world, a good number of your employees may be working remotely, meaning a corporate gym won’t serve their needs. Provide a variety of benefits that all employees can take advantage of.
- Kick off the corporate wellness program with a health fair to build excitement. A very effective way to launch a wellness program is by going “big” and announcing it with an event like a corporate health fair. Invite local wellness vendors to set up booths at the company location, offer free and discounted services, and get employees amped up about taking better control of their health.
- Give employees meaningful incentives for participating in wellness activities. Once the wellness program is launched, your business will want to continually reinforce employee participation by providing incentives. This can be as simple as announcing group fitness walks, providing free healthy lunches, and recognizing the employees who are focused on better health. Activity-based wellness incentives can create higher levels of employee engagement.
- Build wellness programs into health insurance benefit perks. Many health insurance companies offer incentives for employers who utilize built-in health and wellness programs. These can equate to cost savings for employer sponsored benefits, online wellness evaluation tools, and even access to live telephone health support for employees.
- Provide measurable success data using integrative technology. When employees have access to simple wellness programs, they are more apt to use this to improve their personal health habits. To do this, integrate your wellness program into your current benefit enrollment platform, with robust reporting of health metrics. Choose a wellness program that offers mobile app access for on-the-go tracking and reminders of important wellness goals.
- Evaluate, add or change wellness services throughout the year. This is the “wash, rinse and repeat” process of any health and wellness program. Take the time to review the results, look at what has been successful, and replace factors that have not been utilized. By understanding how and why employees take advantage of health and wellness programs, you’ll be able to encourage participation in future offerings.
While a corporate-sponsored health and wellness program can support the objective of your company, it needs to be continually monitored for success. Keeping employees engaged with ongoing company education and promotion are the keys to a well-managed wellness program at work.
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