Employee Wellness Programs: What You Should Know

Employee Wellness Programs

What Is A Wellness Program for Employees?

Employee wellness programs, which vary in scope, are changing the workplace environment for the better, even for small businesses. They offer a perk that can help a company attract and retain employees.

But wellness programs have also been found to actually improve the workplace environment itself. Even if you don’t have the budget for expensive solutions like an at-work gym, there are steps a small business can take to create an appropriate and effective wellness program.

As a business owner or manager, you can look forward to several wellness program benefits including some or all of the following:

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved employee morale
  • Increase employee loyalty and retention
  • Improve engagement and teamwork
  • Reduced health care costs for employer-provided health care insurance
  • Reduced workers’ compensation costs

How to Create Employee Wellness Program?

Although no two wellness programs are exactly alike, there are steps to be taken when establishing a program.

1. Conduct an assessment

What kind of program would fit your employees best? Do an internal assessment. Find out their health goals and what they’d like to see in a company program. This will help you avoid implementing things that employees won’t use.

  • Survey employees as to their wellness needs and interests. Your insurance provider may have forms to use, but generally they look like this.
  • More and more employers are conducting employee health risk assessments. An estimated 75% of large employers offer an HRA as part of their employee health and wellness strategy.
  • Wellness tools, such as the ones provided online by the Small Business Wellness Initiative, can make employee assessments easy and inexpensive.

2. Get management buy-in

Good senior management support translates into a more successful program. Communicating ROI is important, as well as educating them as to how their departments will benefit from an employee wellness program.

3. Develop goals and objectives

Based on your workplace assessment, establish the goals and objectives for the company’s wellness program. For example, you may want to reduce the number of employees who smoke by a specific percent.

4. Identify incentives and rewards

Including a rewards program motivates employees to participate and reach goals. These might be points that can be exchanged for gift certificates or financial awards.

5. Develop your budget

This will be an investment, but the payoff can be more than worth it. Keep it simple if you need to, with a walking or jogging group, for instance. Or invest some time and money into providing incentives, healthy snacks at the workplace, fitness classes, or even professional coaches to work with your team.

6. Develop the program

Your program will be based on the needs and budget. It can feature components such as weight loss, smoking cessation, stress reduction, exercise programs, nutrition education and health and vaccination clinics. No need to come up with something on your own, although a team of employees might come up with some great ideas. Find out what other programs are out there, find some examples and templates to work from—looking on the internet can help you find all kinds of good information.

When creating a wellness program, make sure it is focused on employees and the benefits to your company will follow.


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