Wellness programs are all the rage, and businesses have their pick of innovative vendors offering products and services aimed at boosting employee health and productivity. Developing a wellness program can help employees feel valued and support healthy lifestyle choices, but success requires planning and dedication. Before launching a wellness program at your office, consider these four tips to help shape your plan.
Develop a Program WIth your Employees
First things first: find out what your employees want. Want to focus on exercise? Offer employees a choice of on-site classes or workouts. It would be a bummer to hire a yoga instructor and then discover your employees want a cardio workout. Or maybe employees just want the flexibility to take a break for a workout on their own during the day. Gather employee feedback and draw on it to shape your wellness initiatives. No matter how you incentivize participation, employees won't want to join in if it's something that they don't perceive as a benefit.
As you brainstorm, keep in mind what you hope to achieve and why you are offering a particular benefit. Be thoughtful about how you introduce programs to avoid singling out specific employees, and respect employee boundaries if they do not wish to participate in programs that require that personal data or sensitive information be shared.
THINK HOLISTICALLY AND CREATIVELY
Focusing on employees' physical health is an important goal, and can foster fun activities and engagement. However, there are other factors in employees' lives that may be at the forefront of their minds, such as their finances or childcare. Developing structures that allow employees to have an adjusted schedule so they can work around childcare needs, or offering workshops on managing student loan debt demonstrates an interest in supporting all aspects of an employee's life and recognizes the many complicated factors that contribute to health.
Employee assistance programs are another great way to help support your staff. These confidential programs offer employees and their family members support with a range of mental health services, including counseling sessions.
Socializing and fostering community among employees are also great boons to employee well-being. Help facilitate book clubs, intramural sports teams and other clubs, and give each a budget for snacks or outings.
Offer Sustained Support
Fairs offering introductions to products or services or one-time screenings for particular conditions can help pinpoint particular health issues that employees may want to focus on. However, if there's not sustained support, whatever is learned from such events can become a burden if employees want to seek additional services or follow-up. Design your wellness program with the long game in mind. Demonstrating a commitment to employee health through well-maintained and consistent programming will help boost employee engagement. Again, keep the goals of the program in mind and think critically about what will help your employees get there.
Communicate Clearly About Benefits
Employees need to know exactly what wellness benefits are offered to them, and how to take advantage of them. If there are specific prerequisites or a system of rewards for participating in certain programs, communicate them clearly. This allows employees an opportunity to learn about your business' offerings, and for you to proudly showcase your program.
Looking for inspiration? Some of our customers, including EBI Consulting offer comprehensive wellness programs to their employees. PERKS is also a great resource for learning about companies in the Boston area that offer unique services geared toward business clients.