Most people can recognize the importance of health, happiness, and productivity. All three related concepts breed into one another and have an opportunity to be delivered to companies willing to foster a corporate wellness program for their team.
The health benefits of corporate wellness programs are innumerable. They have the potential to persuade the cessation of smoking in employees, motivate weight loss, as well as encourage personal health and safety practices such as sleep hygiene, and stress management. The resulting factors include lower absenteeism, higher job satisfaction, as well as increased work productivity. In fact, recent studies have revealed that different wellness programs have produced 25 percent reduced costs pertaining to sick leave, health plan, workers’ compensation, and disability insurance.
As wellness programs and offerings continue to emerge in corporations across the country, business owners considering adopting a wellness program ought to be aware of the key components that have the potential to drive the most fruitful and efficient outcomes for their team.
1: Provide An Incentive Plan
Old habits die hard, but incentives make them a little bit more easy to kick. Rewards that commend employees for getting healthy and achieving their goals can be one of the greatest catalysts for stirring the type of motivation needed to get a program off of the ground and encourage a real shift in the culture of your team. A robust incentive program will help businesses sustain their programs and wellness efforts as well as drive long-term engagement.
Consider incentivizing employees to join in your efforts to make a stronger, healthier team by including them in prize draws, providing reserved parking spaces, or increasing their number of vacation days. Providing similar incentives can help stir motivation and increase engagement in your employee wellness program.
2: Account for Seasonal Changes and Interest
Stagnant wellness programs get old quickly. As you craft your wellness program and plan out goals you’d like employees to meet, consider adding benchmark events to your schedule. Make sure to promote wellness with as many holidays as possible — most people are prone to implementing dietary and health changes to their schedules around holidays. Account for big celebrations days like New Year’s, Thanksgiving and 4th of July when employees start to think about their lifestyle the most.
New Year's is a great time to introduce new goals or incentives to your health promotion programs. The two most popular resolutions around New Years’ are quitting smoking and losing weight. Consider offering a few more vacation days to employees who stick to a non smoking or a weight loss regimen. When November comes around, include your team in the Great American Smoke-Out, which occurs every third Thursday of that month. To participate in the event and push employees to their next goal, contemplate offering employees’ a chance to participate in smoking cessation classes.
3: Know the Legal Restrictions
Before starting an employee wellness program, keep in mind that not everyone can take part in the programs you offer. As such, it’s important you are accounting for your diverse group of workers and keeping the legality of your program in mind.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based upon their physical limitations. Meaning, companies that offer disincentives for employees with health issues related to high blood pressure or obesity, and whose risks are due to a genetic predisposition, may face legal action. Make sure to avoid falling into any legal troubles with your wellness program by running plans for your program with an attorney.
4: Get The Whole Family Involved
While employees typically account for about 30 percent of your companies health care costs, their dependents usually account for the remaining 70 percent. A program that reaches out to employees only isn’t truly taking full advantage of what a wellness program can offer and will ultimately limit themselves on the reductions of health care costs. For this reason sending communication materials such as self-help kits and self-care guides home with your employees are a great way to ensure the improvement of wellness amongst their entire family.
Be sure to reach out to the females in the household as well. Women typically make 80 percent of the health care decisions for families. If you are not reaching out to the woman of the household (whether she's the employee or not), know that you are not reaching out to an important decision maker.