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EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM

How to Design and Implement a Successful Corporate Wellness Program

WHAT IS AN EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM?

 

Is there a clear definition of corporate wellness? Is there a clear-cut distinction between wellness and corporate wellness? Sounds puzzling?

A corporate wellness program is a set of workplace practices backed by science that intends to create a healthy workplace to foster employee well-being and enhance productivity and organizational performance. The program model exceeds the traditional “feel-good wellness” perspective and aims at a “results-driven wellness” approach that produces tangible business and health outcomes.

Employee Benefits placard with cityscape background

 

EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM GUIDE

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WHAT ARE THE 6 DIMENSIONS OF WELLNESS?

1. Physical
2. Mental
3. Emotional
4. Spiritual
5. Social
6. Environmental

To enhance well-being, we need to understand its essential elements. The father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, introduced a five-aspect model of happiness and well-being that addresses core areas of life. Most wellness programs are built on six key elements that drive a thriving life.

Dimensions of Wellness

1. Physical

The first dimension considered in employee wellness programs, physical wellness was originally defined as the absence of disease. Early employee wellness programs, therefore, involved targeting health-related metrics, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as smoking cessation initiatives.

Today, a state of physical well-being reflects a condition in which an individual is physically fit and has the energy to get things done without physical stress or underlying fatigue.

Nutrition, Exercise, and Healthy Habits

The physical wellness path promotes learning about nutrition, physical activity, and healthy behaviors in everyday life. It also discourages the use of excessive alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Optimal physical wellness results from nutrition and exercise habits and consists of activities that build endurance and strength.

Sleep

Sleep is also a significant construct in physical well-being. Research shows an increased probability of health problems, like hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, due to sleep deprivation — typically defined as sleeping less than 7 hours per night. Thus, sleep is a critical player in building immunity.

Taking Responsibility for Physical Wellness

At its core, the physical dimension entails personal responsibility and disease prevention. When the person is physically fit, they enjoy the physical benefits of feeling and looking good. They also experience the psychological benefits of high self-esteem and self-control.

Dimensions of Wellness

2. Mental

Mental wellness is a dynamic, positive state that pertains to a person’s everyday life in various ways and reflects the ability to cope with life. It exceeds the traditional concept of “mental illness” and is considered a proactive strategy in dealing with life.

Cognitive Abilities

Coming from the Latin word “mentalis,” which means “mind,” your mental wellness path involves cognitive processes — memory, attention, critical thinking, and alertness. If you are mentally well, it means that you can think and act in a manner that has the most positive impact on your overall physical and social well-being.

Attention, Decision Making, and Goal Attainment

Mentally well people are capable of processing information and various experiences effectively. They maintain a steady attention span and can reason through difficult decisions. They are most likely to work effectively towards objectives, like setting SMART goals. They can identify abilities and weaknesses and make the most out of the available resources.

Dimensions of Wellness

3. Emotional

Emotional wellness describes a person’s ability to acknowledge, understand, and express their emotions maturely and appropriately.

Managing Emotions Effectively

Being emotionally healthy does not mean that you are happy or excited all the time. It means managing emotional actions and reactions to specific situations effectively, thus, preventing unnecessary stress.

If you experience emotional well-being, you will be able to:

  • Develop confrontation skills
  • Maintain good relationships with others
  • Experience a wide range of emotions
  • Enjoy positive self-esteem
  • Develop resilience
Dimensions of Wellness

4. Spiritual

Spiritual wellness is defined as how a person integrates purpose and meaning in life. The spiritual dimension involves the core values you identify in your life. It is often referred to as “world view” and is reflected in activities consistent with your belief system. It does not necessarily involve religious affiliation.

The spiritually healthy person seeks harmony and connection through self-reflection and exploration. An individual’s spiritual well-being is related to their quality of life.

A person is considered spiritually fit when they are:

  • Committed to their values and beliefs
  • Compassionate
  • Engaged in moral actions
  • Able to enjoy being with their family and friends
  • Optimistic
Dimensions of Wellness

5. Social

We are not alone in this world. In 1998, Keyes, a pioneer in social research, defined social well-being as “the subjective evaluation of personal life circumstances and functioning in society.”

The social wellness aspect refers to your ability to enjoy deep and meaningful relationships and maintain positive interactions with the global community. The social dimension emphasizes your impact on others — from close friends to local communities — and how you can encourage healthier living by existing in harmony with others.

Social well-being also applies at the workplace. High-quality connections are perceived as positive and can enhance job satisfaction, performance, and health.

Social Dimension of Wellness

 

Dimensions of Wellness

6. Environmental

Environmental wellness is one of the most popular trends at the individual and organizational levels.

It describes your relationship with your surroundings. Most people think of environmental wellness as recycling, but there is more to it than that.

This dimension requires you to demonstrate your healthy relationship with the earth and all available resources in action.

Activities that show where you stand on this dimension range from avoiding environmental hazards to adopting a lifestyle that protects your surroundings and the planet.

Workplace Wellness Assessment [Free Editable Worksheet]

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND WELL-BEING

If you ask someone “what is well-being?” the first thing they may say is “I’m okay. At least, I’m not sick.” It’s common to define individual health as merely the absence of illness. 

Definitions of wellness and well-being go back to early writings that discussed the purpose of human existence: happiness. The idea of happiness is based on a continuum from instant gratification (eating your favorite candy bar) to achieving your full potential as a human (making an impact).

Wellness and well-being are two other extensively used terms. The question yet often comes up: Which one is the correct term?

Both terms are valid, yet they reflect a different perspective.

Wellness is a concept commonly used for business purposes, like the wellness sector or corporate wellness programs.

Well-being is merely used to measure individual wellness and refers to feelings of contentment and fulfillment; for example, employee well-being.

Can we bring the two concepts together? Yes — employee well-being should be at the heart of any corporate wellness program that promotes individual health, happiness, and growth.

 

WHAT ARE THE KEY FACTORS THAT AFFECT WELL-BEING?

1. Sleep
2. Oxygen
3. Nutrition
4. Activity
5. Ritual

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness, yet there are five key elements that affect your overall well-being

 

1. Sleep

When someone is in a bad mood, we say they “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” When you sleep, your body and brain go through processes that aid your recovery and boost your energy levels, mood, and concentration span. Not getting enough sleep — 7-9 hours recommended — can have a significant impact on your well-being.

Sleep deprivation (not getting high-quality sleep) means that your body does not have enough time to recover, making you susceptible to a range of physical and mental health problems.

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases your risk for obesity and high blood pressure, increasing your risk for heart disease. It also affects your immune system by making your body susceptible to viruses and other infections.

Your performance and mood are also affected by your sleep quality. Each sleep stage plays a significant role in how your brain consolidates thoughts and memories. Poor sleep quality can also reduce your reaction time. Thus, employees who do not get enough sleep have an increased risk of workplace accidents. Not getting enough sleep affects the processing of positive emotional content, which influences emotional reactivity.

 

2. Oxygen

Take a breath of fresh air! Your blood oxygen level is a strong indicator of your overall health since every cell in your body relies on fresh air. Oxygen supplies you with energy, boosts your immune system, and even affects your mood.

Increased oxygen improves numerous bodily functions, from hormone production to tissue renewal. It’s beneficial for your digestive system as it helps you digest your food better, making it valuable if you are trying to lose weight.

Diaphragmatic breathing (breathing more deeply), especially when outdoors, brings more oxygen to your cells, and it helps lower blood sugar and cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that affects your mood, is also influenced by your oxygen level. Studies show that breathing fresh air raises oxygen levels in your brain, in return, boosting your serotonin levels.

So, take that walk!

 

3. Nutrition

Drinking enough water and eating well — providing your body with all the necessary nutrients — is crucial to your well-being. 

The benefits of good nutrition on physical health are well-known: 

  • Reduced risk for diabetes
  • Better blood pressure regulation
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduced risk for heart disease

Dehydration is considered a major stressor for your body. Water helps with blood flow, so if you are dehydrated, your body can not eliminate all the toxins, making you feel weak. It also makes you crave unhealthy food or drinks containing sugar, which boosts your mental state, followed by a sugar dip that leaves you feeling tired and moody.

Caffeine consumption and timing are often overlooked but can make or break your performance at work and even affect your health. On the other hand, certain caffeine-free foods and drinks can boost your energy.

 

4. Activity

Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term benefits on your well-being.

Any physical activity, from walking to a local store to taking a long walk or lifting weights, can improve your health. Health professionals recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily.

The benefits of regular physical activity have been extensively documented:

  • Reduce the risk of heart attack
  • Manage weight
  • Low blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Better recovery post-hospitalization or illness
  • Changes in hormone levels that control your mood and stress

 

5. Ritual

A ritual is a series of actions that you perform regularly, often referred to as habits.

There is a significant difference between daily, routine behaviors, such as brushing your teeth, and rituals. The latter are acts that you perform with specific intent. A ritual may reflect your core values or your short-term and long-term goals.

Rituals are crucial to your overall well-being and happiness:

  • Theory into practice. Rituals are simple acts performed daily, weekly, or seasonally that put your core values into practice.
  • Foster change. Instead of adopting a “general rule” on diet or exercise, you choose behaviors that reflect your viewpoint. For example, you may not fancy going to the gym, so you decide to take a long walk on weekends.
  • Provide structure. Since rituals have a personal meaning, you are more likely to feel excited when performing them. Thus, they become a type of automatic behavior from which you benefit — especially in times of crisis — and can also help you overcome procrastination.

THE BENEFITS OF EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAMS

1. Increase productivity
2. Improve employee health
3. Reduce healthcare costs
4. Attract new talent
5. Boost morale
6. Increase employee engagement
7. Improve healthy behavioral change
8. Reduce stress levels
9. Improve attendance
10. Improve teamwork and social connection

 

Work-life balance, good physical health, and fulfilling lives are all facets of individual well-being.

Even though work has a direct impact on employee well-being, team leaders are often skeptical about whether to take their employee wellness “personally.” It’s easier to picture Employee Wellness Programs within large organizations, but how about SMEs?

Below are ten reasons to invest in employee wellness programs.

 

1. Increase Productivity

Decreased productivity results from poor physical health, increased stress, and financial strains. Employee productivity is linked to presenteeism (showing up for work instead of taking time off) and absenteeism.

Research evidence shows that a wellness strategy promoting employees’ physical and mental health increases productivity and effectiveness. Sleep hygiene initiatives, healthier nutrition choices, and stress management all contribute to a workforce with an increased attention span and high performance.

 

2. Improve Employee Health

There is a clear-cut benefit from wellness programs: healthier employees. Wellness initiatives encourage better nutrition choices, educate how people’s choices affect their health, and promote physical activity even to employees that work from home. By adopting healthier life habits, employees minimize the probability of disease. They enjoy better health that makes them feel happier and more energized.


At the same time, wellness programs tackle mental health stigma, with stress being a significant contributor. By learning how a set of behaviors (drinking enough water, eating healthy snacks, applying sleep hygiene) can impact stress levels, employees experience less anxiety and avoid burnout in the long term.


3. Reduce Healthcare Costs

Investing in employee wellness programs can reduce healthcare costs (and insurance claims). Employees who are overweight, smokers, or suffer from diabetes increase the cost of healthcare expenditures for businesses.

Based on studies, effective workplace programs that educate their employees on a healthier lifestyle can lead to 25% savings on healthcare costs.

 

4. Attract New Talent

Promoting a culture of well-being and accommodating diversity in the wellness program makes the workplace an attractive place to be. On top of that, this can be a marketing tool for attracting new talent.

 

5. Boost Morale

Employees need to feel valued. Employee morale builds on pillars of emotional connection and satisfaction while on the job. 

Employee wellness programs that consider employees’ needs and interests boost their loyalty to the organization, resulting in increased productivity. It’s the best way for managers to show that they care for their teams.

 

6. Increase Employee Engagement

Disengagement hurts your employees and your company. Employee engagement is more than just showing up for work, taking a health screening, or participating in a group activity. Wellness programs create a sense of belonging for employees and promote social interaction. 

Wellness events (walking, gaming), services (health screening, coaching), and available resources (learning modules) create an environment of mutual belonging that increases employee retention.

 

7. Improve Healthy Behavioral Change

Not all people know how to lead a healthy lifestyle. A wellness program that educates, trains, and reinforces healthier choices can significantly improve employees’ overall well-being - even for those with disabilities. Since people spend at least one-third of their days at work, wellness programs can do a lot. 

From smoking cessation to mindful eating to stress management techniques, your employees learn what’s best for their physical and mental health — tools they can apply in and outside of work.

 

8. Reduce Stress Levels

Wellness programs that offer psychoeducation on stress management techniques and tools help employees reduce their stress levels and avoid long-term effects. 

Employees who experience stress exhibit impaired decision-making and reduced concentration and are more likely to experience burnout. These can lead to poor customer satisfaction, increased presenteeism, and low morale. By helping employees effectively manage stress, you are also helping enhance productivity and company morale. Happy teams make great teams.

 

9. Improve Attendance

Employee wellness programs help manage employees’ attendance. By taking care of your team’s physical health and tackling stress, employees are more likely to feel engaged and satisfied with their work. Feeling good about work and being physically fit makes work a positive experience, leading to reduced absenteeism.

 

10. Improve Teamwork and Social Connection

Wellness programs engage teams through various activities and challenges. Team-building fosters social connection (a significant construct of overall well-being) and builds trust. 

Employees who feel connected are more likely to feel safe, reducing stress levels and increasing engagement. Healthy competition makes employees feel good about themselves through achievement and enables the modeling and adaptation of healthy behaviors.

EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM GUIDE

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WORKPLACE WELLNESS STATISTICS

1. Mental health in the workplace
2. Physical health in the workplace
3. Why implement workplace wellness?
4. Upcoming trends

 

Numbers on employee wellness speak for themselves. Here is what we know from research:

 

1. Mental Health in the Workplace

  • Poor mental health among employees costs UK employers £42–£45 billion each year.
  • 53.3% of employees aged 18-20 have a problem with sleep.
  • Knowledge workers suffering from insomnia or anxiety cost companies over 2.5 times as much as their healthy colleagues.
  • The most significant drivers of employee burnout are 31% lack of recognition, 30% unrealistic deadlines, and 29% working consistently long hours or on weekends.
  • 58% of manufacturing employees that work stress “always or often” impacted their relationships.
  • 35% of employees say that job stress causes them to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Leaveism (unable to switch off from) is more common in organizations that also experience high levels of presenteeism.
  • According to 41% of workers, workplace stress lessened their productivity; 33% said it made them less engaged; 15% acknowledged that they were searching for a new job because of stress.

Source: Deloitte

 

2. Physical Health in the Workplace

  • 60% of employees report current musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) pain, most commonly in their lower back, neck, and knees.
  • MSD pain is linked to sedentary time: employees are sitting for nearly 11 hours per day.
  • 78% of employees would use their company gym if their employer had one.

 

3. Why Implement Workplace Wellness?

  • Companies with an effective wellness program realize an average reduction of 18% in sick days and 26% in health costs (ITA Group).
  • Workforce experience (62%) and reputation in the market (42%) are the areas most impacted by the level of employee well-being in organizations around the world.
  • 78% of organizations believe that ensuring employee well-being is one of the drivers of organizational performance. Organization-wide culture change and awareness-raising can provide an ROI of £6 for every £1 invested.
  • 62% of managers reported that they have had to put the interests of the organization above their staff well-being either sometimes, regularly, or every day.
  • Research shows these early-stage supporting activities have a 6:1 return on average.

 

4. Upcoming Trends

  • A new type of employee that is highly engaged (87%) and highly burned-out (64%).
  • 38% of employees in the UK say a lockdown has hurt their well-being.
  • 84% of employers report implementing additional measures to support employee mental well-being in response to COVID19.
  • 79% of employers who have observed presenteeism in their organizations have also observed leaveism.

EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM IDEAS

1. Provide recommendations and accessibility to healthy eating
2. Create challenges
3. Promote social connection
4. Have a walking meeting
5. Start a stress management group
6. Allow flexible work hours
7. Schedule a lunch and learn
8. Send a monthly wellness email
9. Sponsor company retreats offsite
10. Encourage screen breaks
11. Invest in ergonomics
12. Help with weight management
13. Survey employees
14. Send wellness reminders
15. Create a wellness board
16. Practice gratitude
17. Designate a "no work" space

 

Employee wellness programs encourage a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. If you want to design an effective wellness program, it’s best to provide multiple well-being options that are friendly and easy to implement for all employees that work from home and at the office.

Here are a few wellness program incentive ideas that can get you started (even with a low budget).

 

1. Provide Recommendations and Accessibility to Healthy Eating

Promote the importance of nutrition for health and well-being. Educate employees with practical tips, like the best foods to eat before sleep for energy at work. Make healthier, affordable food available to create a healthier culture. 

Consider options like:

  • Vending machines with healthy snacks
  • Cafeteria offerings with no added sugars
  • Decaffeinated coffee and caffeine-free beverages, like herbal and verbena tea
  • Special discounts for healthier food choices (often considered more expensive)
  • Designed healthy eating day: Employees cook their healthy recipes and bring them to the table
  • Meat-free Monday: Western culture relies so much on meat consumption. Set a meat-free day to provide "additional" options and educate on the value of veggies.

 

2. Create Challenges

Wellness activities should be fun to attract employee attention. In addition, social interaction and competitiveness increase the likelihood of behavioral change, so let the games begin!

 

3. Promote Social Connection

Take initiatives to promote engagement and a sense of belonging for your employees.

Consider options like:

  • Running group: Host a 20-minute run after work on a specific date
  • Host a meditation group: Virtual or not, book a meeting room and invite your team to practice some meditation before work
  • Embrace and support neurodiversity to create a more successful and fulfilling work environment for all

 

4. Have a Walking Meeting

We all know those long meetings that increase sedentary time and decrease attention span. Allow your employees to have brief meetings at a park near the office or take a walking meeting outdoors. 

 

5. Start a Stress Management Group

Choose a mediator or a professional therapist to help employees manage stress and run a support group. Sharing and support make employees feel valued and normalize their experience (especially in the working environment).

 

6. Allow Flexible Work Hours

Following the pandemic, flexible working hours have become more necessary than ever. To encourage accountability, you can provide "core" work hours for all employees and provide flexibility based on employees' needs on specific occasions. By doing so, you also encourage mutual trust and promote work-life balance.

 

7. Schedule a Lunch and Learn

Encourage learning and social connection by asking individuals to present or discuss a topic they are interested in during lunch (increase knowledge and build team connection all in one).

 

8. Send a Monthly Wellness Email

Make it easy for your employees to keep in touch with their well-being. Ask your wellness champion to send a monthly newsletter with links to articles, videos, and updates on available monthly challenges.

 

9. Sponsor Company Retreats Offsite

Organize a quick getaway to help your employees balance their hectic work life with overall wellness. Retreats are not just about relaxing — they boost employee morale and cultivate emotional resilience and team building. Pick the one most suitable for your team's needs.

 

10. Encourage Screen break

Most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take breaks for 17 minutes. Educate your teams on the value of taking short breaks every hour by setting reminders (phones, calendars). This will take the burden of "looking lazy" off their shoulders and improve productivity!

 

11. Invest in Ergonomics

Invite a specialist in workplace ergonomics who can work with your employees on setting up an optimal workspace that reduces physical fatigue or pain. Provide standing desks to allow for some movement during the day. Make sure your company is equipped with ergonomic chairs, keyboards, and computer equipment.

 

12. Help With Weight Management

Create a 3-month challenge to help employees manage their weight. Offer insights and actionable goals, and don’t forget to regularly reward small and significant losses.

 

13. Survey Employees

Send out regular surveys to your employees asking for their input on available wellness offerings. You can use Google forms to help provide their feedback on their health and fitness goals and what type of activities they would be interested in participating in.

By asking for their feedback, you increase employee engagement and put some time into thinking about their well-being.

 

14. Send Wellness Reminders

Decorate the office with posters or other items that serve as reminders (drink water, move every hour). Update content every month or based on ongoing challenges.

 

15. Create a Wellness Board

Design a wellness board where your employees can post, write or draw their moods and thoughts during their day for everyone to see.

 

16. Practice Gratitude

Ask your employees to share one thing they are grateful for every day on a Google sheet or in a gratitude jar available at the office. Share content before a monthly meeting or keep it open for everyone to read whenever they want.

 

17. Designate a "No Work" Space

Provide a space where your employees can take off their shoes, nap, listen to some music, and just go wild. The only rule should be "no work talk."

HOW TO DESIGN AND ESTABLISH A WELLNESS PROGRAM

1. Set the stage
2. Research and discovery
3. Budget projection and justification
4. Select interventions and reward policy
5. Schedule a proposed timeline
6. Communicate the wellness program
7. Propose an evaluation plan

 

A results-driven corporate wellness program is, by nature, complicated and demands thorough planning and design by a wellness manager or anyone with the proper skills or corporate wellness certifications. There is ongoing pressure on wellness programs to increase their effectiveness in reducing health costs and, at the same time, enhance employee productivity.

In designing a wellness program, it is necessary to ensure that all pieces fall together to clarify why the designated initiative is beneficial to your team. There are many good ways to plan a wellness program, and the best planning approach is the one that makes the most sense for your organization.

 

1. Set the Stage

Getting the right team involved is critical and depends on whether your organization already has a wellness program in place. A rule of thumb is that the larger the number of employees, the more people should be involved in the design of an effective program. 

Setting the stage requires the following steps:

  • Appoint a “Wellness Champion” who will deliver the message of the program’s significance and lead health and well-being initiatives
  • Understand the organization’s priorities (the link between the program and business outcomes
  • Identify the benefits of the program
  • Understand leadership style: Leaders are role models for wellness initiatives. Watch how they manage stress themselves and their lifestyle. You may also need to consider how they wish to receive information to make decisions.

 

2. Research and Discovery

Know your audience. Gather as much information as possible about your employees and what other organizations do to address employee well-being. If your program focuses on educating your team on healthy lifestyle choices, general interest surveys are sufficient and help you understand your team’s needs.

If your program is results-driven and relies on economic justification, then a more thorough plan for data collection is necessary, ranging from population demographics to facilities review.

When collecting data, consider your program goals. It’s best to provide short-term, measurable goals that will allow better evaluation. 

Remember, it all depends on the “why” of your wellness program. Some examples are:

  • Reduce health-related costs (presenteeism, sick leave)
  • Achieve an ROI for the wellness initiative
  • Create a smoke-free working environment
  • Maximize participation in wellness programs
  • Reduce the frequency of work injuries

 

3. Budget Projection and Justification

Develop a clear plan on resources and budget needed. You may also choose to calculate wellness activities into a per-employee cost and compare it to how much is spent annually on healthcare benefits.

Here are a few things to consider when finalizing your budget:

  • Whether employees are willing to pay for any type of wellness activity
  • Low-cost initiatives
  • Cost of incentives and marketing in communicating the wellness initiatives

 

4. Select Interventions and Reward Policy

Programs should have multiple interventions to create impact. The delivery of interventions should consider the availability of media forms, employee segmentation, and program goals.

Significant dimensions of interventions involve:

  • Biometrics: screening, immunizations, etc
  • Awareness: nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress management, HRA
  • Behavior change: weight management, one-on-one coaching, on-site facilities
  • Environmental support: Ergonomics (workstation), vending machines, injury prevention

 

5. Schedule a Proposed Timeline

Have a clear time plan for short-term and long-term goals that will help you evaluate the success and impact of interventions.

 

6. Communicate the Wellness Program

Effectively communicating your program leads to better engagement. Increased engagements lead to improved results and ROI.

Here are a few tips to help you improve communication of your wellness offerings:

  • Win-win situation: Clearly explain to your employees how participation aligns with the organization’s benefits strategy.
  • Keep it simple: Develop a clear glossary for your wellness program that speaks to your employees’ experience. Drop the HRA and biometric screening language. Understanding reduces resistance.
  • Make it clear that any data provided or retrieved is treated with confidentiality.
  • Make it a two-way conversation: Ask for input and make it clear that the “Wellness Champion” is there to listen.
  • Positive and relevant: Employees do not want an extra stressor during the day. Make your wellness program a nice thing to look forward to.

 

7. Propose an Evaluation Plan

Program evaluation aims to derive reliable conclusions about the causal relationships between activities and outcomes.

Suggested program evaluation modules involve:

  • Participation feedback
  • Self-reported behavior
  • Screening results
  • Behavioral follow-up
  • Program objectives
  • Program costs
  • Program cost-benefit ratio

EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM GUIDE

See how you can design and implement an effective wellness program.
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EMPLOYEE WELLNESS SURVEYS

An employee wellness survey aims to gather employees’ input on their perception of their well-being and the organization’s policy. Employee surveys can also provide feedback on your corporate wellness program, enabling you to make all the right decisions.

What you ask depends on the type of information you wish to retrieve. Remember that your employees’ well-being is a dynamic and ongoing process. Provide updated surveys regularly to maximize results.

If you want to implement a results-driven wellness program, then you will need to gather data on various aspects:

 

Here are some sample questions to ask in your survey:

  • How would you describe your physical health? (Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent)
  • Select the medical examinations you have had in the last six months (Blood pressure, Cholesterol blood test, Flu Shot, Physical Exam, Dental checkup, Vision, Other)
  • How often do you use stress-reducing techniques? (Never, Sometimes, Often)
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "My health is excellent"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "I am as healthy as anyone I know"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "It seems it is easier to get sick than other people"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "In general, I am satisfied with my job"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "In general, I am satisfied with my life"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "In the past year, stress has affected my health"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "I receive support from family and friends"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "I would change my lifestyle if my health and life quality improved"?
  • From 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), how strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement "I am interested in participating in my organization’s wellness offerings"?

HOW MUCH DO CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS COST?

If you are having second thoughts about how valuable a wellness program is, you are probably not convinced the cost is justified. So, are employee wellness programs worth it?

In 2019, the average wellness program cost was $762 (ranging from $150 to $2000). It all depends on what you want to offer and why. A wellness program may demand the typical cost of biometric screening and assessment of employees’ BMI.

In other cases, you may want to encourage participation by providing corporate wellness platforms and resources tailored to employees’ needs. An all-in-one solution may also consider incentives (like bonuses or gift cards) to further promote engagement with wellness activities.

To discover whether workplace wellness is worth it, you have to calculate the ROI of your wellness program. In 2013, Unilever expanded its Lamplighter initiative to provide a global mental health program. Measuring the ROI for Unilever’s investment provided a final ROI of 3.50 to 1.

TOP FEATURES OF THE BEST WELLNESS PLATFORMS AND PORTALS

1. Health assessments
2. Employee education
3. Engagement
4. Reward system
5. Content
6. Social connection
7. Challenges
8. Participation and activity dashboard

 

A wellness platform is a web-based technology that helps employers implement their wellness strategies. Most platforms usually integrate with third-party vendors.

An effective wellness platform is built on scientific theory and evidence that underlie human motivation. Additionally, behavioral modification does not occur over time, so a wellness platform needs to integrate all features necessary to provide results.

Here are eight features to look for in a wellness platform.

 

1. Health Assessments

Before making any changes, you need to know what needs to change. The easiest way to identify what to change is to have employees take a health assessment. 

Normally, health assessments on wellness platforms are done through a biometric screening. These metrics provide the baseline from which employees can review their progress, areas of interest, and health risks.

 

2. Employee Education

One of the biggest challenges in adopting a healthier lifestyle is knowing how to do it. Successful wellness platforms offer all the necessary information on lifestyle, well-being, and health and provide helpful tips to enhance individual well-being.

A wellness toolbox that includes videos, audio files, and feedback emails, helps employees better manage their well-being journey and is a core element of every wellness platform.

 

3. Engagement

If something is too complicated, no one will be interested. To increase engagement, wellness programs utilize well-designed web and mobile apps to make monitoring and resource usage for employees a fun, daily activity.

 

4. Reward System

People change because something good comes out of it. Health benefits may take time to manifest. A wellness platform should provide a transparent reward system that illustrates how the more you track and engage in wellness activities, the more likely you are to be rewarded.

 

5. Content

Wellness platforms need to provide all the necessary tools to foster psychoeducation. Your employees may have an idea of what they need to change, but the “how-to” may be overwhelming. Content that promotes a healthy lifestyle increases engagement and fosters behavioral change.

 

6. Social Connection

A significant component of overall well-being is social connection. By creating a sense of community and belonging, employees learn to value the idea of social interaction and view themselves become a source of motivation for others.

 

7. Challenges

Challenges help employees set short-term goals. Instead of just providing library content, challenges drive participants to behavioral change and to adopt healthy habits.

 

8. Participation and Activity dashboard

An effective wellness platform makes it easy for employees to track their activity and progress. Employees need to see how they are doing — it’s what keeps them going.

The wellness platform provides an overview of how wellness initiatives work, employee participation rates, what works, and what needs to change. 

Because of the amount of insight it provides, the dashboard is one of the most critical features of any wellness platform.

EXPLORE OUR WELLNESS PLATFORM

FAQs ABOUT HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND WELL-BEING

Whether you are an employer or an employee, this FAQ section will help you better understand topics on health, wellness, and well-being.

1. I want to talk to my employees about their well-being. Where should I start?

There are professional bodies with resources to help you get started. You can begin by visiting CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and the Mental Health Foundation to see how to approach employee mental health.

2. What is unique about holistic well-being?

A holistic approach to wellness shines a light on all core issues (physical activity, nutrition, sleep, lifestyle). Your well-being results from various facets, and it is best to treat them as of equal significance.

3. I do not want to share personal information regarding my mental health with my employer. What can I do?

That is quite normal. Ask your employer for company policies regarding confidentiality, and discuss your concerns.

4. What is cumulative stress?

Cumulative stress is the well-known chronic stress resulting from working in stressful situations over a long period. If you experience cumulative stress, you may have trouble sleeping and concentrating and describe yourself as irritable.

5. I often feel tired but do not have a health condition. Why is that?

Trying to stay on top of things may result in feeling tired all the time. The leading lifestyle causes are exercise (too much or too little), shift work, poor sleep, daytime naps, coffee, and alcohol.

6. Which are the top corporate wellness platforms?

That is not an easy question to answer, but we can give it a try! Please read our buyer's guide with the top corporate wellness platforms or download the free PDF to see what is best for your organization. You can also read our analytical blog post comparing Vitality vs. Wellics.

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EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM GUIDE

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