In honor of American Heart Month, we gathered some tips on Corporate Wellness Programs. What makes one program more effective than another? Here are 8 steps to designing wellness programs that work.
- Go beyond the Health Risk Assessment. Some companies do the HRA and then don’t follow through with a structured program. While it’s true that people pay attention to what they measure, it’s not enough to expect employees to change habits on their own as a result of a 20-minute survey. Make sure the HRA is just the start of your successful program.
- Use non-cash incentives. While company leaders have traditionally offered financial incentives for adopting healthier habits, new studies in behavioral economics tell us that tangible incentives and rewards are more effective. Work with an experienced agency that can help you identify and offer appropriate and effective rewards for your audience.
- Structure a long-term program that encourages new habits. “Biggest Loser” and similar short-term campaigns are less effective than long-term programs that are goal-based and reward replacing unhealthy habits with healthier ones.
- Support the program from the top. Company leaders must be visibly involved and support the program, financially in terms of budgets and personally in terms of their own involvement. It must be apparent that wellness is a top priority and part of the company’s culture.
- Communicate the details of the program and its purpose. Rules of the program should be clear so that employees know why the company is instituting the program, how the company will be supporting it, what’s expected of the employees and what’s in it for them if they participate.
- Walk the Talk. Company policies and practices must also be consistent with a culture of wellness: healthier choices in the cafeteria, walking meetings, incorporate wellness activities and healthy choices into your meetings and travel programs.
- Measure, report and celebrate. Working with an experienced firm can help you design a wellness program that is based on goals, measures the right elements and communicates results in the most effective way. It’s also very important to celebrate success, preferably with top executives sharing the news.
- Be patient. It took years for people to develop the habits leading to poor health; they’re not going to turn that around in 3 or 4 quarters. Be prepared to commit to the program for the long term to reap the benefits.
Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs
What benefits can a company expect from a properly structured wellness program? Of course, a healthier workforce typically means lower healthcare premiums, but there are additional advantages including lower absenteeism, fewer work comp claims and increased productivity. A healthier workforce is often a happier, more engaged workforce.
Working with an experienced agency to help you design an effective wellness program will lead to engaged employees who contribute to a positive company culture. An effective wellness program will encourage and support a healthy lifestyle for your employees at work and at home!