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6 Pillars of an Effective Workplace Wellness Program

According to research published in Harvard Business Review, there are 6 important pillars that make up an effective workplace wellness program. This article explores each pillar in detail, as well as the outcomes of an effective workplace wellness program. Imagica LPH has been implementing corporate wellness programs with a proven track record of lowering healthcare costs and insurance payouts, as well as engaged and healthy employees. Contact Will Yeaton at (602) 509-4023 or will@imagicalph.com to learn more.

  1. Multi-level Leadership: An effective workplace wellness program penetrates all levels. A company’s culture is not static. It’s constantly changing and dynamic. Contribution from each level of leadership can make a big difference in the adoption and effectiveness of wellness programs. This starts in the C-suite, where C-level executives lead by example and jump start the environment, supported by middle management who can shape mini sub cultures. On the regular employee level, wellness advocates/ambassadors can be deployed throughout the organization to encourage and promote health behaviors.
  1. Alignment: Wellness programs cannot be successful as a stand-alone. The more aligned and integrated the program is with the company’s vision, identity, and culture, the more likely it is to succeed. These shifts can take time, and leadership need to be patient in increasing adoption of the program.
  1. Scope, Relevance, and Quality: Successful wellness programs assess and address the needs of the employees. Surveying employees on their health needs is a good place to start. Make sure that the programs taking place are relevant to the company’s employees. Physical fitness is one part of the equation, but not the whole picture. Addressing emotional and mental wellness is also a key part of a holistic wellness program. Lastly, offering high quality programs and campaigns can drive adoption and foster employee pride.
  1. Accessibility: Remember that last time you thought about going to the gym and decided not to because 1) gym was too far away 2) it was too much effort to drive or 3) you didn’t want to do laundry on your previous gym clothes? Convenience and accessibility is key. Even if you offer the best wellness program in the country, employees are not going to utilize it if it’s inconvenient. Put the program out front and leave no room for excuses. The more accessible, the more people will join.
  1. Partnerships: Wellness programs that can maximally utilize both internal and external partnerships have a higher chance at success. Leveraging vendors’ resources and cross-department partnership and brainstorming can enhance the wellness program’s quality.
  1. Communication: As with everything else, communication is critical. Make sure the wellness vision is communicated throughout the company. Diversifying the ways to reach employees and tailoring messages towards specific units can work well. These communication efforts can help create an environment more open to wellness engagement.

Outcomes:

  • Lowered healthcare costs: Improving employee population health results in lowered insurance payouts and less healthcare claims. HEB, a Texas-based grocery chain, found that participants in their wellness program has $1,500 lower health care claims each year.
  • Increased productivity: Employees take less sick days and are more present at work. Health problems cause less decrease in productivity throughout the company.
  • Improved employee morale: Employees want to work for an organization that cares about their people and prioritize their health and happiness. Effective workplace wellness programs can help achieve this goal.

Reference:

  1. Berry, L., Mirabito, A. M., & Baun, W. B. (2010). What’s the hard return on employee wellness programs? Harvard Business Review, December, 2012-68.

 

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