Employee wellness programs have become a staple in many companies to attract top talent, keep them happy, healthy, productive, and decrease employee turnover. Office wellness can make a difference towards being an efficient business according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, more than 60% of employers said workplace wellness programs reduced their organizations’ healthcare and workers compensation costs. This means that companies that offer programs centered around employee wellness can end up saving more money over the long haul.
Developing a Wellness Program that produces the desired results is multi-faceted. Here are a few steps to get you started on the right path:
MEET EMPLOYEE NEEDS
Wellness programs are for the employees – give them what they want. Take a quick survey to get a read on which well-being goals are most important to them. You also may consider doing a formal Health Risk Assessment performed by health care professionals. These assessments will help you identify where employees need help – be it weight loss, stress reduction, nutrition support or even cardiac care in the form of exercise. LISTEN to the feedback and develop a program that your employees love and more importantly that they want to engage with. They need to understand the WIIFM – What’s In It For Me!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
If it’s too much time and effort for your employees to join and keep up with the Wellness Program – it won’t stick. Keep it simple, and utilize tools that might already be available to the staff. A 2014 Aon Hewitt survey found that 40 percent of millennials said they’re more likely to participate in health and wellness programs if they’re easy and convenient. That may mean bringing in a nutritionist or engaging a program such as Weight Watchers to come on site once per week, or coordinating car pools to the gym – be creative!
USE THE RIGHT REWARDS
It’s all about the incentives when it comes to getting your employees onboard. But which rewards do your employees want? What motivates them? Again, take a quick survey – how are your employees motivated to do their best work? How do you reward top performers? Translate these into wellness incentives, and make sure they’re aligned with your company culture and values. Be consistent and make it easy on yourself by selecting a partner or vendor to help with reward fulfillment.
You’ll want to consult an attorney before you launch any program. All workplace wellness programs should comply with HIPAA and Affordable Care Act regulations. You should also make sure that none of your programs discriminate against disabled employees. If you opt to do Health Risk Assessments there are further compliance rules to protect privacy. Don’t let the rules scare you, just make sure you cover all your bases.
WHAT WE DO AT LITCHFIELD BANCORP
Throughout the year, we hold a few weight loss challenges – while everyone who participates is a winner, the Challenge Winner is the person who loses the biggest percentage of weight. During the Challenges we try to keep everyone motivated – this includes Healthy Snack Mondays – where we share healthy snacks within the office. We may be competing, but we also cheer each other on – this includes walking groups at lunch time and participating in group activities, like the Junior Women’s Girls Just Wanna Run event. Our HR department is also a big part of our Wellness Plan. They send out daily “Healthy Habits” with tips for a healthier life – the motto is “it’s never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest you”. We also utilize biometric screening.
Another great wellness initiative we do here at the bank is having guest speakers. In October, we had a speaker who talked about breast cancer – the signs, dangers, and what you can do to be more aware. This month, we are looking forward to an evening of mindfulness which will include practicing meditation, mindful eating, mindful conversation, and yoga.
There are unlimited ways to bring more wellness into the workplace, and what works for one company might not be right for another. Explore new ways in which you can use your company or industry’s unique strengths to embed wellness into your culture. At the end of the day, your wellness program should be authentic and reflect your company and its culture. When it does, your employees and business will feel the difference.
Vice President, Secretary