Wellness has become an exhausted word in the workplace. However in the past years we’ve taken a step back to redefine what wellness means for different people. Historically associated with physical fitness, the scope of services to support well-being programs has expanded to become more encompassing of all facets of health. We define this by health, wealth and lifestyle, the latter being the category covering family life, philanthropy and anything that does not have a traditionally defined place in the wellness world.
The first step in building out a wellness program for your organization is identifying the priorities for your company and its team. Its important to acknowledge that what you believe to be the wellness concerns and goals for your employees may not actually be the same as what they want and need. To avoid this disconnect get started with an Employee Benefits & Wellness Survey to evaluate what is top of mind for your organization.
Below are 5 Key Steps to Consider when implementing a wellness program:
- Defining What Wellness Means for Your Organization –
- Healthcare – physical, mental, exercise, nutrition, holistic, etc.
- Financial – retirement planning, managing finances, college loan repayment, etc.
- Lifestyle – family planning, philanthropy, estate planning, legal, pet insurance, other voluntary insurance products, etc.
- Identify Budgetary Constraints – When it comes to wellness the available programs (and associated costs) can be endless. Determine how much your budget is for various programs and prioritize what’s most important. It may be helpful to work backwards once you’ve identified what this number is. Some of the major health insurance will offer wellness funds for clients. And with enough research you can find options that are low cost or even no cost.
- Implementation – Identifying the programs you want to implement is about 25% of the work. The real challenge starts when you want to roll out a new program. It can be difficult to drive engagement amongst employees, even when they are interested. A few suggestions to overcome this is educate employees through communication, without spamming them think about delivering the message 6-7 times to drive real adoption. Identify internal champions who can generate interest amongst their peers. Incentives are helpful but they can often be temporary. Creating a culture that practices what they preach (ie – manager adoption) can really help push an uptick in adoption. Remember to be realistic and recognize that your company may have diverse employee populations that need programs modified for them (eg – corporate vs. field, English speaking vs. Spanish speaking, etc., local vs. national vs. global).
- Executive buy-in – Don’t be afraid to do an MVP, test. The best laid plans are evaluated and iterated on. Use data from a low-cost/no-cost trial to drive interest for executives to put a larger budget and/or support towards more comprehensive programs.
- Measuring success – First define what you want to measure, what is the goal for your program – happiness, utilization, engagement, retention. Once this is identified you can also identify the KPIs to evaluate the return on your investment, whether it be your time and/or an actual dollar amount. You may want to do a brief study of the specific program with your organization over a 3-6 month period. This allows you to follow the program under a magnifying glass to determine progress. If this is the path you choose:
- Identify what you’re evaluating (eg – nutrition, fitness, emotional well-being).
- Implement the program with a set timelines and goals (something you can measure – employee surveys offer a quick way to put data behind your programs).
- Remember to set a baseline with regular check-ins and results reporting.