The purpose of a wellness program is to promote healthy lifestyles, such as quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, eating healthy and becoming aware of personal health risks. Some businesses institute comprehensive health programs, but you can achieve health insurance savings and increased productivity with just a few simple activities promoting healthy behaviors among your employees.
So how do you get started? First you should lay the groundwork for your program. Here are steps you can take to get your wellness program up and running.
Gain Support from Management
Support from all levels of management is key to the success of your wellness program. Inform managers about the program early on, and encourage them to participate. Communicate the program’s goals and benefits clearly and often. Gaining management support will ensure you have sufficient resources and staff time to develop your wellness program.
Assemble a Workgroup
Your wellness workgroup is a committee responsible for promoting the workplace wellness program, planning activities, recruiting team leaders and conducting evaluations. The size of the workgroup will depend on the size of your company and the scope of the program or activities. The workgroup should be large enough to represent your workforce and should include staff that represents various departments, such as marketing, union representatives, human resources and administration.
Designate a Coordinator
Management or the workgroup should identify a wellness coordinator to oversee the program. Although members of the workgroup can share responsibilities, having one person in charge of coordinating efforts increases the likelihood the program is managed well. The level of success for a wellness program is often linked to the coordinator’s time and ability. It’s important that some or all of the coordinator’s time be dedicated to the wellness program. If that’s not possible, consider contracting with an outside party to provide assistance.
Analyze Your Needs
Complete a workplace environment assessment and conduct an employee interest survey to collect information on the topics that would engage your workforce the most. Set program priorities and plan initiatives based on the results of these assessments in order to improve your return on investment (ROI).
Develop an Action Plan
Action plans should include specific goals and objectives, strategies to meet these goals, a timeline, a budget and an evaluation plan. If your goals are clearly identified, it will be easier to gauge the effectiveness of your wellness program.
Building a successful workplace wellness program requires time as well as money. Some larger organizations may spend 20 hours per week for three to six months preparing to launch a workplace wellness program.
Costs will fluctuate depending on whether they are paid by you, employees or are shared. The Wellness Council of America estimates that a wellness program costs between $100 and $150 per employee each year, but can produce an ROI of between $300 and $450. Keep in mind that the ROI will likely be higher with more comprehensive programs.
Implement and Communicate the Plan
You need an effective communications strategy to put your plan into motion and to encourage employee participation. Be sure to educate employees so they understand why you’re implementing a wellness program and what benefits they can gain from participating.
Periodically review your program goals and compare outcomes to your goals and objectives. Keep employees involved in the evaluation process, and adjust programs and initiatives based on employee feedback and evaluation results.
Following these recommendations and not rushing the planning process will make your workplace wellness program more successful in the end. Learn more about Higginbotham’s corporate wellness services here.