Planning a Worksite Wellness Program
Healthy employees tend to be happier and more productive. Because employees are the most valuable assets to any company, providing a well-structured wellness program will bring employers lower expenses, often in the form of better-performing workers, tax credits, and lower absenteeism and healthcare costs.
So what do companies need to do to create successful worksite wellness programs?
Secure Organizational Commitment: For any wellness program to succeed, senior management must support the efforts and work to drive participation. This includes ongoing communication to encourage participation, physical presence at program activities, and personal participation in award/recognition events.
Create a Wellness Team: Identify program managers and provide them with resources such as health and wellness materials and a budget for incentives. A project structure needs to be established for planning, executing and evaluating the effort.
Research and Identify Needs: Evaluate current needs and measures through attendance rates, retention rates or disability compensation costs. Employee surveys can also be helpful in identifying core areas on which to focus.
Formulate Goals and Objectives: Define wellness program goals and objectives using information from the research and discovery activities. It's important for the goals to be specific and quantifiable so an effective post-evaluation can be done.
Establish Wellness Policies: Revise existing policies or develop new ones to help establish and guide fair and standard procedures and conduct.
Develop Action Plan and Execute: A phased approach may be required to put your wellness program into action. For example, a pilot program with a small number of employees may be conducted before a full program is launched. Identify financial and human resources. Also plan to communicate and promote the program through emails, company newsletters, posters and paycheck inserts.
Evaluate the Outcome: After six to 12 months, the wellness program should be evaluated in terms of participation, satisfaction, and if possible, improved productivity and attendance and reduced healthcare costs. Employee surveys could again be a beneficial source.
(Adapted from "Worksite Wellness Program Development" by Tufts Health Plan.)
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