Are employee wellness programs just another fad, or have they become a necessity in the modern corporate world? Should you also start a wellness program in your company? Or, if you have one, is it up to the mark? All these are striking questions when talking about wellness in the workplace.

Employee wellness programs have become the talk of the town after the coronavirus outbreak. Employees faced various stressors during this tumultuous time that highlighted how critical work-life balance, mental health, and overall well-being are. As a result, employees now consider wellness programs equally important as other traditional priorities, such as benefits, salary, and job stability.

Each company should have an employee wellness program that ensures the good physical and mental health of employees. These wellness programs can boost productivity, improve employee health, and reduce the total healthcare spending of the organization. Employee wellness programs have now become a staple in many organizations because of multiple benefits. In fact, according to a recent study, 80% of companies with solid wellness programs experience better productivity. Employees are usually engaged at these workplaces, and they tend to perform better.

If you already have a wellness program in your company, you should ensure that it is up to par. You have to engage your team at work; otherwise, your wellness program will quickly lose steam. Read out the following blog to know more about the employee wellness program.

Why are employee wellness programs important? 

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that employee wellness programs are really essential. These wellness programs ensure the better health of employees. Moreover, there are other benefits as well of this program. Some of the benefits of a robust employee wellness program include-

  • Less absenteeism
  • Healthier employees
  • Higher morale
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduce healthcare costs
  • Higher engagement
  • Improve health behaviors
  • Higher employee retention

These wellness programs also ensure a positive work environment. Apart from these wellness programs, you can take other initiatives as well to establish a meaningful environment at work. For example, you must try to eliminate bias in the hiring process, as this can negatively impact the work environment. Adopt video interview software for this, and easily make data-driven decisions.

How to design a solid wellness program? 

To improve the health and productivity of employees, designing and managing a good wellness program is essential. Moreover, these wellness programs benefit both employees and employers. Steps to design a robust wellness program are stated below.

Talk to employees

To develop a workforce wellness program, you first need to talk to your employees. Obtain information about their health, and try to make improvements based on the collected information. With this information, employers can conveniently create a wellness program that benefits all. To collect accurate data, you must-

  • Conduct employee surveys to learn about the personal wellness interests of employees.
  • You must also conduct a health risk assessment and organizational assessments to determine which program you need to implement.
  • Examine the group health plan utilization rates, including both pharmaceutical and medical.
  • Review health culture, and ensure to conduct environmental audits as well.

Create a wellness committee

After conducting the needed assessment and learning the employee needs, it is time to make an internal, employee-driven committee. The committee will be in charge of creating and sustaining a wellness culture in the workplace. Moreover, this committee will try to make the wellness program effective. Read the following points to know the responsibilities of the wellness committee.

  • Assessing employees’ preferences and needs.
  • Assisting in the implementation and evaluation of wellness activities.
  • Making sure that all employers are happy with the employees’ wellness program.
  • Developing a health promotion operating program.

Establish objectives and goals 

With the help of the collected information, the wellness committee will develop the goals and objectives for the wellness program. For many companies, the key goal is to improve employees’ health. But some companies may have other goals as well, such as improving retention rate, boosting work productivity, or reducing absenteeism. By developing goals and objectives, you are telling your employees what they can expect from the wellness program. Each goal should have one or more objectives to make sure that goals will be accomplished.

Set a budget

One of the most critical steps in creating an employee wellness program is setting a budget. Funding is needed; otherwise, the program will stall. When creating a budget for the wellness program, companies should include the cost of program design, marketing, and incentives. When taking a deep look into the budget, you will see various things are included, like incentives for participation, fitness trackers, promotional materials, etc. While creating a budget, keep the following points in mind.

  • Check whether employees are interested in paying for certain aspects of the wellness program, such as exercise or yoga classes.
  • To supplement the wellness program, research free community programs or resources.
  • You can also partner with the health insurance carrier and identify wellness components they can offer.
  • Opt for the low- or no-cost internal activities, like lunch walking groups, to save on your budget.

Design components of wellness programs

There is not one standard while designing components of a wellness program, as needs vary based on the organization. You can either make your wellness program a simple or an elaborate one. Ensure to include a variety of components in your wellness plan that target the needs and interests of employees. Use the information that you have collected earlier to learn about employees’ needs and the components to include. Some common components to include in the wellness program are-

  • Health risk assessments
  • Stress reduction programs
  • Vaccination clinics
  • Health screenings
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Exercise programs and activities

Set wellness program incentives or rewards

To make your wellness program more effective, you need to include incentives or rewards in it. Tell employees that they will receive rewards or incentives while participating in these programs. These rewards and incentives will highly increase the participation rate. You can’t deny the fact that people are driven to act if there are any positive consequences. Including rewards and incentives in your employee wellness program will be an excellent motivator for your employees. Rewards can be anything, such as you can ask employees to collect points, and these points can be changed for gifts or goods. Same as this, include incentives in your wellness program to motivate workers to participate in the program.

Implement and communicate the plan

Once you have decided on all the points, write down the employee wellness program. The program should include a rewards & incentives system, level of involvement, and the company’s intent. To ensure participation, marketing the policy is essential. You have to communicate the policy to enlighten employees about it. Communication will help you to create a culture where health is valued. To market the policy, consider the following points.

  • Visible participation by upper management
  • Create a program logo, and make slogans to market it
  • Persuade employees based on anecdotal situations
  • Use multiple channels of communication, such as fliers, e-mail, and presentations
  • Provide wellness education based on anecdotal situations

Summing it up

Employee wellness programs are an important part of your employee engagement and retention strategy. These programs have gained immense popularity in recent years because employees have now started to understand their value. Moreover, these programs will help you attract a wider pool of talent. Job seekers look for companies that value their physical and mental well-being. Design a meaningful employee wellness plan with the mentioned steps, and tell your employees you value them.