Tips to start employee wellness program

When employees are sick and lose time it costs the company money. A healthy employee is a more productive member of your company. A healthy employee is happier and misses less time due to illness and stress.

Tips to start employee wellness program

How can you encourage and motivate your employees to start taking better care of their health and wellness if they haven’t taken the initiative themselves?

Support employees to get fit and healthy

Yogi Berra was once asked whether he thought Don Mattingly’s performance in 1984 exceeded his expectations. Yogi responded, “I’d say he’s done more than that.” Yogi Berra was a master of confusing messages. The message we send to our employees and the people around us is usually received loud and clear.

When you create high expectations for people and let them know you believe in them, the door is open for those people to expect a lot of themselves. When employees feel supported by their company to be healthy, fit and happy, they will take the initiative.

Keeping employees healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If one of your workers wants to take an exercise class or participate in a sporting event that conflicts with their working hours be flexible with shift schedules. A little understanding goes a long way.

Ten steps to a successful workplace wellness program:

1. Make a decision to expect the best from yourself and your employees by offering support, encouragement and providing opportunities for them to be their best.

employee wellness program

2. Ask your employees what they need to be their best. Participation will be higher if you take the time in the beginning to hear their ideas.

3. Start a workplace health initiative committee within your company so employees will incorporate programs they will use.

4. Start small. You can always add more components later.

5. Make the program voluntary and attractive to employees by highlighting the benefits.

6. Personalize the program to the workers’ needs.

7. Provide rewards for participation and progress.

8. Keep good records.

9. Evaluate often. Ask employees how it is going.

10. Make the program flexible. Be willing to make changes.

Employees and employer both benefit

Once your health and wellness program is up and running, you will start to see positive changes. Your employees will start changing unhealthy eating habits. They will be losing weight and not smoking. They will call in sick less often. Health care costs can drop from between 5 and 25 percent.

There is a good reason for businesses to take the initiative when it comes to improving the health of their employees. When employees feel supported and encouraged by their companies to improve their health, everyone wins.

Why Start an Employee Wellness Program

When employees are sick, stressed, overweight or smoke, it costs employers money. Your state of health affects your productivity.

Just as you get your car checked out and serviced regularly to keep it in good running order, the body needs regular maintenance and care if it’s going to be there for the long haul.

When employees are sick, employers pay for their poor health with high health benefits and costs for missed time. Medical costs can take a huge chunk of company profits.

Many health problems can be improved and often prevented in the first place with attention to a healthy lifestyle. Smoking can cause cancer of the lungs, esophagus, bladder, kidneys, pancreas and cervix. Smoking increases your risk of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, ulcers and gum disease. Every time an employee takes a smoke break, they could be costing their company money.

Start in the workplace

wellness program

The workplace may not seem like a logical place to address the health problem of individuals but if sick employees cause companies to lose money, it is an ideal place to start. Companies have a lot to gain by taking the initiative when it comes to promoting good health.

Healthy lifestyle choices benefit employee and employer

A proper diet, exercise and effectively managing stress can go a long way toward a long and healthy life. A healthy employee is a happier employee. Morale and company loyalty will be higher. And employees make better decisions when they are healthy. For the employer, this means higher productivity.

What is a Professional Employer Organization?

A study by Atlantic Blue Cross Care, Aventis Pharma and the Atlantic Health and Wellness Institute called Project Impact, showed the effects an employee health and wellness program can have. The study showed that for every dollar spent in improving the health of employees, there will be a return of between $1.64 and $3.98 to the company. It makes good business sense to make health and wellness a top priority in your company.

Types of employee wellness programs

Depending on your budget, an employee wellness program can include many different components such as exercise programs and classes, nutritional counseling, healthy food choices for lunch meetings, a bulletin board for a recipe exchange, screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol, stop smoking programs, stress management workshops, ergonomics and healthy back programs.

Getting started

Employee Wellness Programs can take on many forms. One way to start is to ask your employees what type of workplace wellness program they would like to see happen. Asking your employees is a perfect place to start as they’re the ones who will be participating. Chances are your employees will be happy to get slimmer, fitter and in better shape. And you’ll benefit with happy, productive employees and a more profitable bottom line.