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Creating Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Julian Alexander on December 15, 2015

corporate wellness programs

What business doesn’t want healthy employees? As your company’s workers compensation expert, you are all too familiar with the tremendous costs of workplace injuries. But there are lots of other health issues that can affect your employees. And there are plenty of costs associated with those, too. It’s time to get proactive. You can adopt corporate wellness program ideas that are both affordable and effective, which help prevent workplace injuries.

Some employers are offering financial incentives to boost participation in their wellness programs. But there are plenty of low-cost ways you can promote and support employee wellness.

1. Start by Doing Your Homework

One place to look is your company's health insurance statistics. Look for trends regarding smoking, weight issues, etc. These could indicate good starting points for program development. Other program ideas likely to be a hit might be:

  • Exercise sessions
  • Diet education, such as healthy food selection, cooking classes or even weight-loss tracking
  • Stress management techniques employees can use at work and at home.
  • Yoga classes
  • On-site blood pressure screens
  • On-site flu shots
  • Peripheral education such as time management, to help people reduce self-inflicted pressure.

Moda Health has created an excellent list of 125 affordable corporate wellness program ideas. About half address physical activity, nutrition, stress management and tobacco usage. The rest suggest “program support” ideas. These ideas range from inexpensive incentives such as T-shirts and contests to health-related lunch-and-learn sessions, health fairs and educational displays. 

You can also check out these online resources to get even more ideas:

2. Ask Your People What They Want

Programs cannot be effective if no one participates. Rather than guessing what will engage people, why not ask employees what types of wellness activities they want? You can create a list of possibilities for them to choose among, or leave it open-ended.

Bear in mind that relevance and value may differ according to each person’s type of job. Your production crew might prefer pre-shift stretching sessions that get them limbered up. Your desk jockeys might like to learn exercises that build strength conditioning into their work day.

3. Offer Variety

Multiple program menu options will make it easier to appeal to your entire workforce. It also allows you to address a wider range of health and wellness needs. Be sure the choices you offer meet differing levels of ability as well as interest. And make sure to offer a variety of formats, too. That could include workshops, live-action sessions, a self-education resource library, etc.

A 2014 study showed the average small business (up to 99 employees) offers 5 corporate wellness programs. For companies of all sizes, the average is 8 programs. Perhaps more important than the actual number is the fact that your company is “walking the talk” promoting a healthier workforce.

4. Consider Wellness a Work in Progress

Remember, you don’t have to go from zero to a full-blown, complex program. Start small and simple with programming that has broad appeal. Track participation – and results, if you can. Then gradually expand your program in ways that align with your workforce and goals.

Why Pursue These Corporate Wellness Program Ideas?  

Everybody benefits. The programs you choose can help employees get fit, stop smoking, lose weight, manage their cholesterol, reduce stress and sleep better. That can translate to lower absenteeism and healthcare costs. It can also increase work productivity, job satisfaction and employee retention. Healthier employees could lead to fewer on-the-job injuries, too.

“These ideas all sound great,” you’re saying to yourself. “But do corporate wellness programs really work?” In our next blog article, we’ll look at the evidence.

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