Five Crucial Steps to Successful, Profitable Workplace Wellness
Greg Justice, MA
1. CEO Support
It all starts with you. Human nature is to follow by example.
Any program your company introduces is only as effective as the endorsement, value, and action that top level management places in it. It is even more imperative when we are talking about lifestyle changes. We are discussing that bottom line.
This step is so crucial that you must find a vendor that provides the CEO with the motivation and tools necessary to be active in supporting their corporate fitness and nutrition initiatives. A vendor that will maintain a working relationship with top management throughout the program with updated progress reports and evaluations is fundamental to a successful endeavor.
Lifestyle changes can be difficult for many people to make. There is a flow of readiness-to-change in human nature. Your vendor must work with you and your employees to achieve the changes necessary to facilitate the repair and prevention of their health problems and risks.
If you cannot, or will not give your full blessing to this program, do not even activate one. It can be damaging to a business to send a double message to its employees. You must be consistent in your recognition of the need and your belief in the solution. Whether it is your product or service specs, your marketing message, your sales plan or your employee benefits; you must give your approval for effective action.
2. Business and Employee Needs/Interest Assessment
You must know where things stand at the start. What are the most important areas you need to address? What results do you need to see? Yes, we all want the moon, and we can get it. One step at a time, the same way you built your business.
Your vendor should provide the needs/interest assessment. Using your input, they can add specific questions to a standard needs assessment form so that you get a complete picture of your business and employee needs, desires and components on the path to healthy change.
One critical element this needs/interest assessment provides is eye-opening possibilities suddenly available to the employee. Many people have “dieted” for years, ineffectively. Many people have never challenged themselves in the areas of exercise and nutrition. People who are dealing with addictions, health issues, and stress suddenly feel empowered and hopeful as they take action filling in their answers. There is a renewed sense of energy.
That is another reason it is so critical to have CEO support. If you bring your company to that point of hope and renewed vigor and then you do nothing about it, the letdown will be huge. Again, if you are not on board, do not even start the process.
Research until you find the right vendor that will design your corporate wellnesN
3. Providing an Opportunity for Health Screening
Not everyone knows his or her current health status. Studies show that 5 in every 100 employees have undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes. Knowing baselines is essential to setting the goals and measuring the results. Your vendor can provide this resource and coordinate with department heads so your workplace disruption is minimal.
It is ideal to distribute a flyer informing employees about this opportunity with date and times, or to hold a company-wide meeting laying out the opportunity. Your vendor should work with you to develop either or both. They should provide a speaker, if you would like a health professional, to give part of that meeting. The health screening can be as discreet or as energetic and inclusive as you would like it to be. Your vendor should work with you, your needs and your goals.
This information is necessary before beginning any physical activity for many people. Health history information is necessary for all people before beginning an exercise program.
4. Action Oriented Fitness and Nutrition Implementation
Without action, nothing happens. You need to have an actual exercise and proper nutrition program in place for real change to begin. You market your product to the core, and push your sales force out the door. You demand action in your business because it is the only way to move from point A to point B.
A good Nutrition component should be available for employee access at home during their own time. It should be tailored to each individual’s needs and provide weekly meal plans and grocery lists for ease in implementation.
A good program should include a half hour full body workout including cardio, strength, flexibility, agility, and balance, with warm-up, cool-down, and stretching. Find a vendor that will provide an onsite program in a conference room, warehouse, break room or other large area. There is no workplace disruption. Employees can all work out together, 10 – 20 per half hour session, at their own capabilities. Exercise programs should be designed by exercise physiologists to encompass all of the latest findings in physical fitness, using the latest in technology so that trainers can correct form, motivate, and pay individual attention to each participant.
Your vendor should pay special attention to your employees’ needs. Topics such as low back pain, stress reduction, acceleration/deceleration are covered in weekly emails to your employees. Your vendor should stay in touch with your employees and be available to answer their questions and concerns.
5. Clear Goals and a Plan of Action
These are important in any business venture, and especially when employees or any changes are involved. There should be a checklist to make sure all the bases are covered. You can also draft a policy sheet if you need one of those, or a memo. Your vendor should do most of the work, so as not to add any additional paperwork chores for your employees unless necessary.
Your expectations for a vendor should be clearly stated, and you should expect them to live up to those expectations. Your vendor should also state clearly the items listed above.
Timelines will be included. Your vendor should be available to you at any point you have questions or concerns. Their main goal should be to help your employees achieve measurable improvements in their health, strength, endurance, agility and flexibility. These goals, and the plan of action, should be written.
About the Author
Greg Justice, MA owner of AYC Health & Fitness, Kansas City’s Original Personal Training Center and founder of Corporate Boot Camp System has been actively involved in the fitness industry since the early ‘80s. His growing network of Trainers spans 9 countries, 45 states, and 6 Canadian Provinces, helping fill the gap in corporate wellness with on-site workplace exercise programs. Speaker, author and coach, Greg can be reached at [email protected].