Corporate Wellness: Planning and Implementing an Effective Employee Wellness ProgramDec 08
By Darlene M Richardson
Corporate Wellness Programs are being implemented to promote health among employees. Employee Wellness Program (EWP) goals are to educate, inform and bring awareness to individual health and safety. Companies use wellness programs as a way to increase productivity and morale while, decreasing healthcare costs, absenteeism and presenteeism. Businesses large and small are facilitating activities and programs that focus on preventive health and health maintenance. Employers are also working to improve employees’ quality of life and quality of work.
These programs range from lunch and learn sessions and personal nutrition consulting, to providing quiet rooms and fitness studios. Employees are motivated to participate through strategic marketing (allowing employee involvement in planning) and recognition. Employees track progress in many areas including blood pressure, blood glucose, body mass index, eating habits, physical activity level, and use of stress management techniques. Data is gathered through testing and reporting. Programming is now branching out and being presented in diverse ways including blogs, e-newsletters and online reporting.
Corporate wellness program design includes the following steps:
1. Identifying employee health conditions and needs- This can be learned/discovered by conducting health risk appraisals on employees and analyzing company data such as health care costs, rate of employee absenteeism and its overall affect on company’s workers’ compensation claims. National health data may also be used and compared to general employee demographics to obtain common health needs areas.
2. Assessing employee willingness to participate in an employee wellness program- This is achieved by gathering information in the form of a survey covering what motivators, days/ times for program implementation and program areas that employees would prefer.
3. Planning and presenting the program layout- Share program format and processes with managers, company stakeholders and decision makers for buy in and support. Be sure to highlight how the program will benefit the company’s bottom line. Focus on mission and program goals. Include a projected budget. Work in evaluation methods and health screening procedures.
4. Implementing a marketing campaign and EWPs- Marketing can include paycheck stuffers, poster flyers, and a health fair rally or kick off. Programming can involve physical fitness programs, smoking cessation programs, pre/postnatal programs, self care programs and financial wellness programs among many other programs.
5. Evaluating the success of the program- Appraise employee participation and satisfaction along with post health screening. Analyze results factoring in employee successes, failures and a benefit to cost effectiveness if possible. Periodically make adjustments to program as needed.
Companies are increasingly moving toward taking a role in employees’ health and well being. Executives and human resource managers should strongly consider reviewing the company’s current wellness program. EWPs should reflect the company’s genuine support for employee health and honor each employee’s value to the business operation.
Darlene Richardson is the Principal of Exhale Incorporated (http://www.exhaleincorporated.com). She guides individuals and groups on their journey to optimal health and well-being. Darlene partners and works with corporate entities and Human Resource Professionals to develop/ enhance their corporate wellness programs. She can be contacted at 901.754.1153.
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