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What You Need to Know to Create Effective Employee Wellness Initiatives

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that Americans working full-time spend more than one third of their day at the workplace, five days a week. Considering that the other third of the day is taken by sleeping, that means people spend most of their day and week (and life) at work.

Related: [Free Guide] Combat Employee Stress in an Age of Stress-Triggers

Companies of all kinds are seizing this opportunity to promote employee wellness and a healthy workplace with wellness initiatives. But with any program implemented, a question lingers on managers' minds: how do I create effective initiatives that matter?


What You Need to Know to Create Effective Employee Wellness Initiatives

We have put together a list of what, why and how to set your employee wellness initiative off to a strong start.

What Should Be Included?

When beginning an employee wellness initiative, you need to seek employee input. If you create a program in a vacuum you can’t guarantee that your employees’ needs will be met. You can use simple survey tools, such as Survey Monkey, every step of the way to get feedback on what your employees want most, how the initiative is performing, and how satisfied they are afterwards.

Next, you should have a clear initiative goal. Four strong wellness areas are managing stress, mental health, physical health and nutrition. Find out which is most relevant to your employees and start developing your initiative from there.

A common motivator used by companies are incentives and rewards. They are a great way to kickoff a wellness program with high participation, but also can be used to encourage ongoing engagement.

Related: [Blog] 3 Reasons Incentives Are the Answer for Your Wellness Program 

Why Do These Programs Matter?

Wellness programs are becoming increasingly popular for a few reasons.

  • The prominence of wellness in our national culture. The focus on gyms, boutique fitness studios and diets is constant. Bringing wellness into the workplace is a logical next step.
  • A precedent has been set by major companies like Google and Amazon around workplace wellness, flexible schedules and treating employees well. In order to be competitive in talent recruitment, your company has to keep up with wellness benefits.
  • Insurance companies are not only encouraging it, they are providing discounts to employers and employees who take care of their bodies.

How Can You Integrate into Company Culture?

The greatest challenge around employee wellness initiatives comes when companies need to integrate these programs into the rest of their company culture. How can you do it? How do you not cross that thin line between promoting health and wellness, and invading employee privacy? 

The key is to make a wellness program part of your company culture. Connect your program objectives with business objectives. The simplest example of this is customer interactions. Your employees handle your most important corporate interactions, those involving your customers. If your employees are happy at work and feel like their employer truly cares about them, they will invest themselves in their job. This will lead to more positive customer interactions, and happier customers. The connection between happy employees and happy customers is often missed, but with wellness initiatives it creates and opportunity to attach your employee initiative to your business outcomes.

Employee wellness initiatives should reflect your company values. Ensuring that the program serves your workforce’s needs, understanding why the program needs to exist and connecting initiatives to other parts of your business are great ways to ensure the kickoff to your program is strong and creates a foundation for the future.

Already have a wellness initiative in place? Share your best practices in a comment below!

Topics: Health & Wellness

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