The health and wellness of employees will directly impact the organizations they work for. Therefore, employers should consider the implementation of a wellness program. Creating such a program has numerous benefits, such as improving employee participation and making employees feel that the company goals are compatible with their own.
What is a Wellness Program?
Wellness programs are responsible for maintaining the health of the employees. This includes physical as well as mental health. Such programs are also designed to boost contentment and morale. When employees feel that their employer sincerely cares about their needs, this creates feelings of worth and will ultimately lead to greater productivity. A good wellness program should also provide for stress management, which is a major problem that many employees face. Wellness programs have been linked to lower turnover, higher profits due to increased productivity and reduced sick leave.
Designing a Wellness Program
To design an effective wellness program, it is first necessary to bring together upper management, and ensure they all take part in its creation. A wellness program which is supported by upper management is much more likely to be successful with the rest of the organization. Once all the managers are ready, a team must be created which can review the best options for enhancing wellness while creating a framework for the program.
Features which should be Included in the Wellness Program
Wellness programs will differ from one organization to another, but there are a number of features which have shown a high success rate, even among companies that operate in different industries. Some of these features include:
- Offering physical fitness programs
- Providing guidelines for better eating habits
- Enforcing the cessation of smoking within the facility
- Providing health coaches for employees
- Offering assistance for condition management
Problems to Avoid
The way in which a wellness program is implemented will determine its success or failure. Employees should never feel as though they are being coerced into doing something. Wellness programs work much better when they get the voluntary participation of employees. Many employers make the mistake of coming up with all sorts of mandatory procedures such as health screenings and punishing employees who choose not to participate in the wellness program. Any attempt at forced participation will defeat the purpose of the program, and will lead to both resentment as well as a higher turnover rate.
Participation in wellness programs should be completely optional. Incentives should be offered for those who sign up, and these can include things such as more time off, gifts or discounts for health clubs. When employers communicate with employees about the program, this communication should be clear and easily understood.
After the wellness program has been operational for a set period of time, management should evaluate the results in order to determine its success rate. Some factors to review include the number of employees who participate in the program, as well as the productivity of employees who use the program versus those who do not. Once the program has been evaluated, employers can then make the necessary adjustments.