Corporate Wellness Programs: What Does Success Look Like?

Posted by Karah Ehrhardt on Sep 16, 2016 11:47:17 AM

There are a lot of good reasons to start a corporate wellness program, and you've probably heard all or most of them. These programs are associated with greater productivity, lower absenteeism, lowered health care and disability insurance costs, and fewer worker's compensation claims. The problem is different types of corporate wellness programs have different levels of effect on different workplaces and employee pools. With so many variables, it can be hard to predict exactly what effects your corporate wellness program will have or even pinpoint exactly which changes are the result of the program once it's in place. Take a look at some telltale signs that your investment in your employees' health and wellbeing is paying off.

Your Employees Are Using The Program

Is your wellness program meeting your employees where they are?

It's not enough for a corporate wellness program to exist - your employees have to use it if it's going to have any benefit for your business or for your employees individually. A program that's successful typically has a high rate of participation. If your employees are using the program, it's because they're seeing a benefit. And if they're seeing a benefit, you probably are too.

If you're not seeing a high rate of participation, it's time to look at the reasons why. A new program may just require some time to get off the ground, but if it's been in place for a while, and you're still not seeing a change, then your wellness program may not be accessible enough, or it may not be meeting your employees' needs.

For example, if your wellness program is mostly off-site, your employees may not have the time in their day to get to it between work and other obligations. You may want to look at offering more wellness programs onsite. Also, you have to consider that not everyone needs the same thing from a wellness program - not everyone is ready to jump on a treadmill or do a couch-to-5K. Meeting people where they're at might require offering a variety of programs, from access to a traditional fitness center to yoga classes, to smoking cessation assistance, to nutrition initiatives.

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Does your workplace make wellness easy?

A successful wellness program can't be shoehorned into the company - it has to be part of the fabric of the company. Your employees will resent being expected to use wellness programs to improve their health if they feel that their health isn't respected during the ordinary workday.

For example, if you offer nutrition classes to help your employees improve their diets, it helps to also provide access to healthy food and enough time during meal breaks to access, prepare, and eat healthy food. Employees don't want to be told to eat more salads when they have a strict 30-minute lunch break, no healthy food vendors close enough to deliver or drive to in that time, and the only food on site is junk food and sodas in a vending machine. Consider making changes, like offering an employee food pantry by filling up the breakroom fridge and pantry with healthy snacks available free or at cost, working with local vendors to have healthy food delivered, or extending your meal breaks. At a minimum, stock the vending machines with water bottles, juice, and healthy snack choices

Designing a successful corporate wellness program can be difficult, but the payoff is worth it. For more information about making your corporate wellness program successful, contact us.

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