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How to implement a successful employee wellness campaign

wellnessYour company no doubt sees the importance of promoting wellness in its employees. You may have stop-smoking programs, gym reimbursement, weight loss coverage, or a workout facility at the office. These programs offer employees the chance to improve their health in tangible ways, such as preventing diseases like diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Employees that practice wellness concepts miss fewer days from work and are happier in their jobs. Your company is going to see greater productivity and lower health and disability insurance costs. In short, a wellness program is a potential goldmine for your company.

Wellness campaigns are becoming very common in today’s business world. In fact, 70% of US businesses have some sort of wellness program. But some campaigns are more successful than others. Your business is competitive in the marketplace. Now you need to learn how to be competitive, and successful, in your employee wellness campaign.

The basics

A successful program will definitely address what you probably think of as the basics of wellness, exercise and diet. But you need to think outside the box here. Different employees need different programs. Offering reimbursement for gym check-ins is great, but it may not work for employees who have overloaded personal lives or simply don’t want an extra trip during the day.

To combat this problem, try offering onsite fitness classes like yoga, cardio, and weight lifting. Give your employees options before, during and after work hours. You don’t need an entire fitness center – just a dedicated space and some instructors.

If your company has a kitchen, start offering nutritional information and healthy options for your food. Make sure that reaches to the vending machines, and start a campaign for healthy snacks at company meetings and events. Even the annual holiday party can be healthier by offering fruits and vegetables next to the fruitcake.

Going beyond

A diverse workforce has a diverse set of needs, and a diverse set of health issues. Your wellness strategy must go beyond basics and develop a campaign that is creative and individualized. You need feedback from your employees to get a sense of which areas to target.

For example, creating an ergonomic workspace has gone way beyond computer keyboards. Today you can offer your employee a standing desk, or a desk that doubles as a fitness machine. For less active employees, you should learn about copper, because employees can wear compression clothing infused with copper and zinc. Copper wear supports muscles and joints, and leads to increased circulation and reduced inflammation, so your employees will be happier and more productive.

Another way you can go beyond is by addressing areas of your employees’ lives that cause stress. Most employees find their workplace stressful, and it affects their productivity. Aside from offering stress reduction instruction, assessing your company’s health culture can help you address more specific concerns of your employees. One example would be if you are located in a large metropolitan area, your employees might worry about the higher cost of living. You could offer a course on financial security to directly address that concern.

Offering specific programs targeted at changing bad habits are a common part of wellness programs. However, this is another area where you need to know your employees. There’s no sense offering smoking cessation if less than 1% of your employees smoke.

How do you learn your employees’ wellness needs? Some employees may be resistant to sharing personal health information, so conducting anonymous surveys can give you and your employees confidence as your build your wellness program.

Modeling and rewarding

Your employees need to see your commitment to their well-being. If your company includes wellness in its budget, with people working to design and improve the wellness program, your employees will know their healthy efforts are supported, and they will be more likely to sustain those efforts. One very easy way to show this company support is by offering recognition to employees who model healthy lifestyles.

Your support of wellness will help employees appreciate health for its own sake. But you can get them there by offering incentives to make healthy choices. Offering small cash rewards to employees who change habits can motivate them to start a program that will eventually keep them committed because of the health rewards.

You’ve no doubt heard the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The statistics bear that out, and your company can save significant money by providing employees a holistic and comprehensive wellness campaign. You’ll be glad you did!

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