Wellness programs aren't new by any means, however if employers haven’t incorporated one into their workplace by now, then they are missing out on potentially encouraging employees to be happier and more productive. With the short summer we had behind us, now would be a good time for business owners to look into employee wellness options to ensure programs are in full swing once the clocks go back at the end of next month.
What is a Corporate Wellness Program?
Supporting healthy behaviour and improving health at work can be offered in a variety of ways through health promotion activities and policies. Programs can include activities such as health education and coaching, medical screenings, subsidised gym memberships, monthly massages and weight management courses.
Some employers may wish to incorporate a program into the workplace in stages, in which simple changes can be made to begin the process of facilitating employee health. Allowing time for exercise over lunch, including healthy food options in onsite vending machines and subsidising healthy food options in a staff canteen all encourage staff to participate in programs.
Why Incorporate a Wellness Program into a Company?
The benefits of wellness programs are extensive for employers. At first glance, it may seem that the expense of such programs is not worthwhile; however, although the return on investment may take time there are a number of immediate benefits to be seen.
Implementing a corporate wellness program sends an important message to all staff and potential employees, telling them that the company values their health and well-being. The message in itself reassures employees that their best interests are being considered and helps retain top talent. With so many people becoming increasingly health conscious, offering a wellness program also works as an effective public relations tool for a company, and can work as a strong advantage against potential industry competitors.
Over time, one of the main benefits of wellness programs is a reduction in the rate of illness and injuries amongst staff. Work related injuries can vary from muscle strain to stress fractures or back pain. If left untreated over time, employees’ injuries may further develop to diabetes, heart disease or stress which leads to long term sick leave and added expense to the company.
In any company, employees who are happy and healthy will be more productive and produce a high quality of work. As a result, employers need to realise that offering wellness programs will hopefully lead to lower staff stress levels and lower employee turnover.
If employees need to be replaced due to illness and/or unhappiness in the workplace, employers must remember that recruiting, marketing and advertising for positions in a company takes time and money. Therefore, eliminating the issue of a dissatisfied staff member before it gets to this stage ensures that employers can focus on employees getting the job done.
Plan a Successful Wellness Program
Below I include a few tips to implement and maintain a successful corporate wellness plan:
- Consider the goals and objectives for setting a wellness plan to begin with and stay consistent with them. Make sure that all goals are realistic and attainable, as well as measurable over time.
- Ensure that sufficient budgets are allocated for wellness programs and look at long term changes to be made. It’s imperative that every member of senior management understands the importance of program and is on board with the idea. Budgets should include staff incentives for initiating and maintaining employee participation.
- If resources allow, hiring a wellness consultant is advantageous in planning and executing a comprehensive plan. Generally, experienced consultants produce faster results as well as help in evaluating foals and modifying programs as necessary.
- Do some research to see what the top health issues are within the company and the population as a whole. Does high blood pressure play a big factor or are many employees overweight? Programs should be tailored to try and positively amend the majority of issues.
- Consistently evaluate outcomes to ensure that goals and objectives have been achieved. Evaluating the program allows positive changes to be celebrated or for necessary modifications to take place.
The contents of this article are necessarily expressed in broad terms and limited to general information rather than detailed analyses or legal advice. Specialist professional advice should always be obtained to address legal and other issues arising in specific contexts.