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Why Your Organization Needs A Workplace Wellness Program (And How To Implement One)

By D Sharma

Originally published via HRTech Series

Gone are the days of optional workplace wellness program benefits and limited focus on employee health. After the effects of a taxing global pandemic, company leaders and HR teams are seeing firsthand just how essential workplace wellness programs are for their employees’ well-being—especially those that take a holistic approach.

Although companies may initiate different approaches to wellness benefits, one common factor exists across the board: to make work-life better for everyone.

It’s our job as employers to take the lead in nurturing employee well-being in a post-pandemic world as well as to make wellness easily accessible in the workplace. If you’re looking to help your organization thrive and start reaping the benefits of a collectively healthier team, a workplace wellness program is a reliable and effective solution for you.

Helping Employees Become Healthier With A Workplace Wellness Program

With the pandemic shining a light on the importance of staying healthy, wellness has never been more essential. In a study conducted by doctors Richard Milani and Carl Lavie, 57% of people with high health risks reached low-risk status by completing a worksite cardiac rehabilitation and exercise program.

Not only is aiming to create a healthier and happier work culture a good decision on a human level, but it’s also a smart business move. Studies show that companies that support their employees’ wellness are successful in reducing absenteeism and health insurance costs. These companies also witnessed improved productivity equivalent to an average of one additional workday per month.

A workplace wellness program can help your employees reach their wellness goals and bolster workplace satisfaction, all while saving your organization money on healthcare-related costs and increasing company productivity. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, companies that implemented a successful wellness program regained $353 in productivity per employee.

Getting Everyone On The Same Page

Getting everyone on board requires adequate communication regarding the reasoning and benefits that can be expected from the wellness initiative.

To sustain a wellness culture in your organization, it’s important to gain representation across all areas of the company. This includes members from top management, HR, IT, marketing, and any other employees that are interested in health and wellness.

  • Executive: Executive representation is important for funding, policy approval, and spreading support throughout your organization.

  • Managerial: Managerial representation links wellness objectives to business outcomes, positioning wellness as a fundamental part of the organization’s success and growth.

  • Employee: Employee representation guarantees that your employees are excited about the implementation of the program and are ready to make health a priority in their lives.

Implementing And Maintaining A Wellness Program

Keep in mind that as your wellness program grows and the needs of your employees change, the goals for the program may change as well. Work these goals into each employee’s quarterly and annual goal-setting sessions to help encourage participation.

You can also keep your team engaged in the program by hosting monthly wellness challenges. These challenges are a fun way to create friendly competition and awareness surrounding the topics of wellness.

Here are a few ideas to kickstart your challenges:

  1. Reach the most walking or running miles in X weeks
  2. Cook at least 4 healthy meals a week for X weeks
  3. Attend 1 mindfulness session a day for X weeks

Hold your team accountable by setting goals and not letting the routine fall by the wayside.

Getting Started With A Wellness Program

To implement a DIY workplace wellness program, your team should create an internal, employee-driven committee that helps build and sustain a wellness culture in your organization. The responsibilities of the wellness committee should include evaluating employee needs and preferences, developing a program plan, and assisting in implementing, monitoring, and evaluating wellness activities.

If you choose to partner with a platform to run the program, you may find additional benefits that outweigh the idea of hosting a program on your own. Some of these benefits include:

  • Less bandwidth needed internally to run the wellness program

  • The program is run by expert health & wellness coaches, instructors, and doctors

  • Ongoing implementation, monitoring, and reporting aspects are taken care of for you

After your organization successfully implements a wellness program, it’s important to continue to measure its effectiveness and make changes as needed. Don’t forget to conduct surveys each quarter to get a pulse check on employees’ level of interest and benefit from the wellness program, and include a space for them to provide feedback and requests.

Prioritizing Workplace Wellness

There is no better time to get started with a wellness program than right now. Workplace stress, anxiety, and burnout is at an all-time high.  It won’t be long before you notice the positive impact as your employees improve their well-being while you continue to build a strong and resilient workforce.

At the end of the day, people are what makes a company successful, and it’s important to make sure that your employees are receiving the support they need when it comes to their health and wellness.

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