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Wellness Efforts Worth Investing In

Jamey Bednez

A team of employees looking at a computer screen.

Creating wellness initiatives that impact the overall health of the employee and the company can be a daunting task. It takes a sound plan and unwavering commitment from key players involved. Establishing a mission and standards for your wellness program are fundamental to its success. Identifying champions who support and foster the initiative are critical for increasing participation and engagement from employees. The pressures associated with orchestrating a results-oriented wellness program that positively impacts the bottom-line can be overwhelming. But it’s worth it when you help someone lose weight, cut their risk factors for major diseases, or see your participants embrace the wellness culture.Implementing a worksite wellness program is a continually evolving process and now is the time to re-focus your energy. Here are five wellness efforts worth investing in to boost your program’s success.

1. Gain Senior-Level Support

This support is essential for a successful wellness program. Ask your Senior- Level Management to:

  • Make public statements in support of the program
  • Include wellness in the organization’s mission/vision statement
  • Allocate funds for wellness programming
  • Visibly engage in wellness events
  • Integrate wellness at all levels of the organization
  • Implement policies that promote and support workplace wellness
  • Provide flexible employee schedules that allow for participation in wellness events

2. Engage from the bottom up

It is understood that senior management engagement is critical for success but don’t forget about the little people.  Establishing wellness champions at all levels will propel the success of your wellness program. Here are some key points to consider when selecting wellness advocates:

  • Identify leaders from all departments, not just supervisors
  • Often times, management does not fully understand the culture of the company; recruiting employees who work in the trenches will provide perspective on needs to be addressed
  • Recruitment of wellness advocates from the bottom rank and file will foster a sense of empowerment and ownership

3. Implement Workplace Wellness Policies

Create an environment that supports healthy lifestyle choices by implementing workplace wellness policies. These should encourage a healthy work-life balance, healthy physical environment, good nutrition, and physical activity. Examples of workplace wellness policies include:

  • Providing a generous time-off policy to care for newborns
  • Encouraging employees to take all accrued vacation time to reenergize
  • Allowing employees to telecommute occasionally, if appropriate
  • Ensuring clean air for all workers by implementing a non-smoking policy on company grounds
  • Providing ergonomically correct workstations

Perking up stairwells with paint, pictures, and good lighting to encourage people to take the stairs

  • Providing healthy meals and snacks at all organizational meetings and events
  • Encouraging walking meetings in lieu of the conference room
  • Providing special membership rates at local fitness centers
  • Making flex time available for employees who want to exercise during work hours

4. Communicate Wellness Messages Frequently

Frequent communication can help you maintain a healthy corporate environment.  Be sure to consider a variety of communication avenues such as:

  • A daily wellness tip
  • Messages from Senior-Level Management
  • Brief updates at all-employee meetings
  • Wellness newsletters sent to the home so family members can also be involved
  • Wellness posters announcing wellness events, or featuring motivating wellness messages, placed throughout the office

5. Create skin in the game

The best bang for your buck should be to create skin in the game when it comes to behavior change.  Offer programs that tie a personal connection to the employee and encourage making positive lifestyle behavior changes:

  • Offer biometric screenings and health risk appraisals
  • Integrate wellness into your employee and spouse benefits package
  • Offer medical self-care programs that will educate employees how to become better medical consumers
  • Don’t forget to recognize the importance of financial wellness

Wellness can become contaminated very quickly if you fail to invest your efforts in the right arenas.  Giving your wellness program a boost is a great way to gain Senior-Level Management support. It will also attract more participants and encourage others to stick with the wellness program. Every time you make an investment in your wellness program, you’re one step closer to seeing the results every organization wants: lower health claims, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and better morale.

COMPANY BIO:

Jamey Bednez MS, CHES, CWWS acts as the Director of Corporate Wellness for BABB Inc. He drives the development and implementation of wellness programs that focus on population management,  provides consultative services for hundreds of small to mid-sized companies and is nationally recognized by the National Wellness Institute, Wellness Council of America, and The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.  Contact Jamey at jcb@babbins.com

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