Tips for Introducing an Employee Wellness Program
In today’s low unemployment environment, a well-designed employee wellness program can help a company attract top talent. According to Trent Burner, Vice President of Research at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “With unemployment at an 18-year low, employers view benefits as a strategic tool for recruiting and retention.”
SHRM’s 2018 Employee Benefits research report indicates that organizations that increased their benefits offerings were most likely to increase health-related and wellness benefits (51% and 44%, respectively).
A company’s success depends in large part on the success and well-being of its employees. An enthusiastic, fully engaged team is essential for your business to thrive. Employee wellness programs are becoming increasingly popular, and are being introduced in companies of all sizes across the country. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), about three-quarters of Human Resource professionals surveyed said their organizations offered employee wellness plans.
The benefits of employee wellness programs typically make them well worth the cost of implementation. Some of the most tangible benefits include:
- Reduced health-related costs
- Improvement in productivity
- Increased employee engagement
- Reduced absenteeism
- Greater levels of employee satisfaction
- Enhanced company culture
- Higher staff retention
- Helps with the recruitment of top talent
Read on for tips on how to design and implement an effective wellness program for your business.
Find Out What Your Employees Want
Determine the types of things your employees would value in a wellness program. There is no standard definition for an employee wellness program, and they can range from fairly basic to highly comprehensive.
What are your employees’ expectations? A survey can be helpful in finding out what aspects of an employee wellness plan are most important to your employees. At this stage, be careful not to overpromise. If your employees’ expectations are not in alignment with what your company can realistically afford, you’ll want to avoid setting your staff up for disappointment. If you’re operating on a very tight budget, it might be best to design your survey using multiple-choice options to manage expectations.
Some ideas to consider including in the survey and depending on your budget might be:
- Periodic wellness events (e.g., golf or something exciting such as laser tag)
- Wellness education (e.g., bring in an expert speaker)
- On-site preventative health screenings
- Stress management or mental health workshops
- Purchasing wearable activity trackers for each employee
- A smoking cessation program
- Yoga classes
- Healthy lunches or snacks
- On-site fitness equipment (e.g., perhaps a small gym)
- An employee assistance program (EAP)
- Creating a nap room
- Fitness challenges or competitions
Determine What Your Business Can Afford
When determining how much to spend on an employee wellness plan, focus on your desired outcomes. Generally, the most effective wellness programs perform the following:
- Address common health challenges, such as obesity, smoking, nutrition, physical fitness, stress, and other mental health issues;
- Help to create a company culture of wellness;
- Promote team building.
You don’t need a large budget for an employee wellness program to meet the above goals.
Design the Program
At this stage, it can help to put together a small team to help design your employee wellness program. Inform the team of the budget that they have to work with, and have them review the data collected from the employee survey. Use the survey data as a starting point to narrow down your options. Which types of elements would appeal to the majority of your employees? Try to include something for everyone.
Launch the Program
Before you launch the program, create a communication plan to make sure all the details are made available through multiple channels. You want to make sure all of your employees are aware of what’s available and that they feel encouraged to take full advantage of the program. Keep the new employee wellness program at the forefront of your internal communications so that you give it a chance to pick up momentum.
Consider an Incentive Plan
Depending on your type of business and the make-up of your staff, you may need to consider putting an employee incentive plan in place to get the ball rolling. It’s not easy to break unhealthy habits or to form new healthier ones. Consider offering rewards throughout the first year to employees who meet certain wellness milestones. As your employees start seeing results, engagement should increase.
Give It Time
Get the team who designed the program back together after one month, three months, six months, and one year, to monitor the impact of the employee wellness program. Nothing needs to be set in stone, and it may be necessary to adjust some aspects of the program to keep things fresh and encourage ongoing engagement.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s refreshing to be part of a company that prioritizes wellness. Employee wellness programs help keep your staff inspired so that they continue to enjoy what they do for your business.
Workforce Management Expertise
Introducing an employee wellness program is an important step for your business. Paypro’s team of experts offers a comprehensive suite of workforce management solutions to help simplify various aspects of your business, making your company more efficient. Many small and medium-sized companies spend an excessive amount of time on workforce management tasks such as benefits administration, time tracking, and payroll; that’s time that could be better spent focused on core business. If you’re interested in learning how Paypro can help streamline your workforce management tasks, please contact us to arrange a consultation.
About The Author
John Edwards is the Regional Practice Leader at Paypro. He has worked in the benefits space for 15 plus years in different capacities including, business process outsourcing, human capital management solutions, and insurance services.