How to Start a Corporate Wellness Program

Posted by Bill McBride on Jun 1, 2016 8:00:00 AM

A corporate wellness program can have great benefits for your business. Many business owners find that corporate wellness can increase productivity, because healthier employees are less likely to lose work time or work below their capacity due to illness or injury. Furthermore, corporate wellness programs can boost morale, inspire employee loyalty, and make your company more competitive when recruiting new talent. However, the trick is finding the right way to get a corporate wellness program started. Take a look at some tips that can help you begin to get your company's wellness program off the ground.

Get Employee Feedback

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Understanding your workers' health challenges can lead to a more targeted wellness program.

The first and most important step in creating a corporate wellness program that works for your workplace is finding out what it is that your workplace needs, and the best way to do that is to listen to your employees. You can start by having them fill out surveys to find out what kind of health problems most need to be addressed.

Different workplaces tend to see different needs. For example, in an office setting, workers may face health challenges like obesity, because of the long periods of sitting, or carpal tunnel syndrome, due to hours spent typing. On the other hand, healthcare workers may be more physically fit because their job requires so much physical activity, but they may suffer from stress disorders or poor nutrition.

Start Small

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Don't be afraid to start small and build up.

You will have to weigh the potential benefits of your wellness program against the costs of starting the program. You may not be able to go all in at the start, and that's OK. There are creative and cost-effective ways that you can get the ball rolling, and then you can add to the program as it becomes more popular and as you begin seeing a return on your initial investments.

For example, if you can't afford to add a fitness center at your facility at the moment, you can always negotiate a discounted rate for your employees at an existing fitness center in the local area. Or you can engage employees by distributing pedometers and offering rewards for employees who log the most steps. To encourage healthy eating, you could have healthy snacks added to your vending machines, replacing current unhealthy options. The vending commissions could be earmarked to fund expansions on your existing wellness programs. Flexible lunch periods and breaks can also help encourage healthy eating.

Educate and Engage
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Once you've decided on a plan to begin your corporate wellness program, you'll need to work on getting your employees interested enough to utilize it. To better educate them about the new programs and the benefits of them, it's important to take an engaging approach to spreading the news.

If you just send a memo or an email around, you're not likely to inspire much enthusiasm for your company's new wellness goals. Instead, host a fitness fair, invite a guest speaker, or plan a company pot-luck featuring only healthy recipes. Do something that will capture employee attention and make them want to participate and help grow the program.

For more advice and information to help you get your corporate wellness program off the ground, contact us.

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