Employee wellness programs provide an excellent way to promote healthy lifestyle habits that benefit both individuals and an organization. Studies indicate that healthy employees tend to perform their jobs more efficiently, take fewer sick days, and are less prone to injury, which can result in reduced healthcare costs.
As an employer, you have the power to make a positive impact on the well-being of your employees, whether that involves helping improve nutritional habits or a greater amount of exercise. So how do you go about beginning a corporate wellness program at your company? Follow these steps to get one in place.
1. Do Your Research
Regardless of your role, you’ll need to identify the benefits of a wellness program for your company and compile data to back up your request. To help, consider the following:
- Survey employees. Find out what they’d like to see in a wellness program and determine whether they’d be interested in participating. If you find that interest is low, you may need to ask for additional input to understand what could pique their interest and encourage them to take part.
- Assess the need. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a helpful guide on how to conduct a workplace health assessment.
- Review your company’s current health insurance usage and cost. Understanding how many people are enrolled in your plan, as well as the costs the company is incurring to help cover their care, will give you an idea of what savings may be possible for your company and employees when they use the plan less. By gathering this information, you can prepare an informed case for implementing an employee wellness program. You’ll need to prove it’s worth the initial cost and demonstrate a thoughtful plan of how you’ll encourage employees to participate.
2. Set a Budget
Before you make your program pitch, you’ll need to know the upfront cost to the company and plan how to clearly communicate it. Consider various levels of programming that could fit into different budgets. This can help to enhance your presentation by showing your company’s leadership that you have the company’s best financial interest in mind as you discuss a program pilot.
Be sure not to rush through planning for this budgeting component. Look for sample program costs in similarly sized companies so you can provide realistic estimates.
When planning your budget, don’t forget to set some money aside for motivational prizes, such as a tablet for whoever logs the most miles on their fitness tracker during a given month. Incentives will help keep employees motivated and may help play to their competitive sides.
3. Talk to Your Management Team
Once you’ve determined that a wellness program would be welcomed by and beneficial to employees, it’s time to take the idea to the management team at your company. Key players to include in the conversation will likely vary from company to company, so talk to your supervisor or someone who has a track record of implementing successful programs to help determine who the decision makers will be.
Once you’ve identified who needs to be at the table, schedule a time to talk and prepare a polished, professional explanation of why wellness programming should be implemented. You should consider how the wellness plan can help the company reach both short- and long-term goals.
Come prepared with data and realistic financial metrics. Consider, for instance, how much the organization could save through initiatives aimed at improving employees’ physical fitness or reducing stress levels. To help garner support, show a strong link between desirable business outcomes, such as increasing sales, and increased employee wellness. For example, if salespeople used fewer sick days, they could spend more time out in the field, making connections and closing deals. Be sure that the data you’re providing is accurate and that the outcomes are transferable to your own organization so you’re presenting realistic information.
4. Start a Wellness Committee
Ensuring employee buy-in to a wellness program is critical. Ask influential employees to join a wellness committee to help determine the direction of the program. Their buy-in may help others feel motivated to commit to the idea. For maximum buy-in, include employees from all departments and all areas of the business.
5. Establish Concrete and Measurable Objectives
If your proposal is accepted and you’re able to create an employee wellness program at your company, developing concrete, measurable, and attainable goals for the program will be one of the most important items you or the wellness committee will need to cover in your plan. Rather than saying, “We want to help employees stop smoking,” say, “We want to decrease the number of employees who smoke by 3% in the next fiscal year.”
Having solid goals will allow you to best gauge success and help you evaluate whether the program is working or needs adjustments. Outside of program evaluation, goals also allow those who participated in program planning to highlight the work they’ve put in and the outcome when it comes time for individual reviews.
6. Identify the Components of Your Program
The wellness committee should rely heavily on the results of your employee survey to shape your program. As a whole, the group will need to consider and evaluate various program options to determine the best fit for your company. Different businesses have different needs. For example, a company dominated by desk jobs may want to focus on incorporating more exercise into employees’ daily routines, while a company with a large number of employees on the road may be interested in teaching them about healthy eating habits on the go. Other wellness program focus areas may include:
- Financial health
- Health screenings
- Exercise classes
- Mental health
- Weight loss
7. Introduce the Program with a Splashy Rollout
Once your program is created, you’ll need to launch it. Make the rollout exciting. Hold Q&A sessions where employees can learn about the program, and consider incorporating some small contests to encourage participation. Serve healthy snacks such as veggies, hummus, and fruit, and choose a core message about the benefits of the program.
Don’t forget to regularly evaluate the success of your program, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Encourage and respond to employee input so staff members remain engaged. Remember that healthy employees help your bottom line and make your business more successful – they’re worth the investment.
Become a Select Employee Group to Introduce Your Employees to Financial Wellness
For an educational addition to any employee wellness program, your business can become a Select Employee Group and offer PSECU membership as an employee benefit to your staff. As a Select Employee Group, your company will benefit from free financial wellness resources, such as seminars, workshops, and more for staff through our WalletWorks financial wellness program. Insured by NCUA.
The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.