Get Your Employees Living Better, Healthier
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The benefits of deploying and sustaining a workplace wellness program are well documented. Studies have shown that for every dollar invested in a comprehensive wellness initiative, employers could glean a $3.27 return on that investment (Health Affairs, 2010). Research has also revealed myriad other benefits associated with workplace wellness initiatives, including increased productivity, improved job satisfaction and morale, and attraction and retention of talent.
So if you haven’t started a workplace wellness initiative, what are you waiting for? Workplace Wellness Programs: Promoting Better Health While Controlling Costs is a terrific resource to get you started. This guide outlines six simple steps for implementing a wellness program.
- Develop a plan. Determine if you want to opt for traditional programming or an integrated health management strategy. Traditional programming focuses on wellness awareness and education programs that operate in silos and are not data driven. Integrated health management focuses on population health by targeting select programs for risks and readiness. It provides for the measurement of outcomes and includes a strategic plan.
- Create a communications program. Focus first on initial buy-in; then advertise new elements of the program as they are unveiled. Identify “wellness champions,” employees who actively participate in the program and can spread the word to others. Market your program with a brand and logo and communicate new program elements one to two weeks prior to rolling it out. Communicate in a variety of formats, including newsletters, Facebook, and Twitter. The most successful programs have ongoing campaigns.
- Review your workplace setting. A “culture of health” that includes healthy policies (e.g., a ban on smoking on-site, healthy options such as fruits and vegetables served at meetings) and environmental changes (e.g., well-lit stairwells, indoor and outdoor walking paths) can reduce barriers for participants, making the healthy choice the easy choice.
- Work with your health plan. Your health plan and other vendors can offer an array of resources, including subject matter experts, to help launch and sustain a wellness program.
- Evaluate the process and impact. Survey your employees and make necessary adjustments. Also, collect baseline data, such as personal health assessments, to measure health improvements of your population year over year.
- Redefine program parameters. A wellness program should be constantly evolving. For example, if you opt for a traditional approach, focus on fitness in the initial year and healthy eating in the second year. With an integrated health strategy approach, adhere to your strategic plan but make adjustments if you are not hitting your desired goals.