The Case for WellnessPosted: July 12, 2011
One of the benefits I love about my current employer is our onsite fitness center. It is great to have the flexibility to hit the gym during a daytime break or lunch. I try to go 4 to 5 times a week and do cardio and weights. Sometimes I even can make it to our group exercise classes. It helps to relieve stress and keeps me healthy. Ah, the convenience….
Corporate wellness programs have taken a hit in recent years due to the expense. Ironically, a well administered wellness program can potentially save a company big money in lower absence rates, increased productivity and lower insurance costs. Wellness programs can come in a variety of shapes and forms. Some companies offer health screenings, fitness center
memberships, tobacco cessation and nutritional training. While many employees will take advantage of these benefits, the company needs to communicate the value and encourage participation to optimize the overall benefits of the program. And this communication and message of the importance of wellness needs to be consistently maintained; employee commitment to continue the programs can wane over time.
Putting together a wellness plan can be as simple or complex as you need it to be. As with many programs, garnering support from the company officials is essential in the success of the plan. After the senior leaders give their buy in to a wellness program, the planning process can begin. The next step, find out what the employees want. One of the ways to secure employee
dedication to the new plan over time is to find out what the employees desire in the plan before a wellness program is developed and implemented. If the employees have preliminary input they are more willing to commit to the project and use the facets of the program. After employee input is gathered it is time to figure out what to do and how to pay for it. There are many ways to fund the program and these can vary from company to company. Many wellness plans are self funded by the savings they generate from increases in productivity and reductions in healthcare costs.
One of the nice things about wellness programs are the incredible flexibility. Many companies start off small, maybe offering flu shots to all staff or by promoting a running club. Then the program can grow from there. Other companies jump in feet first and develop robust plans that are comprehensive.
For more information on wellness programs and offerings, visit the Wellness Council of America at www.WELCOA.org.
Don’t forget to CELEBRATE!