Building an effective wellness program means we must assess, understand the health situation and think strategically.  There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to corporate wellness programming; each organization is experiencing different challenges, they are working with various size budgets, and are at different stages in the building of their corporate wellness program.

Three basic principles to consider when building an effective corporate wellness program:

Stop comparing yourself to others

This is a big one!  As part of our corporate wellness services, we’ll assess a client’s cumulative biometric testing results (of course there’s never individual employee information shared, just the top line company overview of the health trends).  When we go in and share our report with key decision makers, they’ll inevitably say “but we were told we’re doing so well compared to other organizations our size.”

The truth is, it really doesn’t matter how you stack up to another company if you still have 45% of your employees with high blood pressure, 60% on track to have diabetes in the next two years, and 70% who report they feel fatigued every day.  The only comparison that matters is how you do against your own baseline.  Are you creating a healthier work environment, and does it show year after year when you assess your markers?

Create a movement

Instead of thinking of your wellness program as a “program”, consider creating a movement. A program is a planned series of future events.  But this isn’t how health works; health isn’t just a goal, or a 30-day diet, it’s a lifestyle. The only endpoint for health is when our day here on earth is done.   If you truly want to create a healthier work environment and support your employees for the long-haul you’ll need to consider how to help everyone beyond just the series of events they attend to get their points, or win a gift card.  It’s about helping your employees create new habits, and as a result enjoy the benefits of increased productivity, lower stress levels, and overall better health.

Create a wellness movement by getting everyone involved, incentivizing along the way, and focusing on long-term habit change.

Consistency is the key to success

It’s very challenging to expect a return on your investment of a corporate wellness program if there’s been a lack of consistency.  Consider this, how many times have you gone to an annual meeting where you’ve learned loads of information to push you forward in your career?  You’re excited to make change so you return home and start implementing a new strategy but before you know it life takes over and you find yourself back into the same old routine you’ve been in a thousand times before.  Your chances of creating long-term change would increase dramatically if you had weekly check-in calls with your guide after the conference.

This scenario is no different when you’re thinking about creating your corporate wellness program.  You’ll need to find ways to be consistent with program offerings and consistent with the messaging your team is receiving in order to create new long-term healthy habits and see a return on your investment.  Education is very helpful, but implementation is the key to long-term transformation.  Provide follow up, and encourage your teams to work together to create a healthy work environment.

Effective wellness movements incorporate a variety of offerings to reach the greater population of your organization.  Platforms may include live programming, webinars, health tips and articles, recipes, health challenges, and more.  It’s most effective to select one or two wellness companies to work with; each need to support the movement, have consistent messaging to share, and provide a portfolio of offerings that are accessible to all employees.

Congratulations if you already have wellness programming available to your employees!  Health is the greatest gift to be shared with another person and when you have healthy employees your business thrives too!  We’ll continue with our series on corporate wellness in the coming months; in the meantime here’s an assignment to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your current program:

Check in to see how you’re doing against your baseline and determine if you’re offerings are creating a movement or just filling a programming need.  Education is fantastic, but it’s the implementation of the education that creates long-term change.   How are you supporting your team in the implementation to create the most effective corporate wellness program?

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