Employee Wellness Programs: What You Should Know

Employee wellness programs, which vary in scope, are changing the workplace environment for the better, even for small businesses. They offer a perk that can help a company attract and retain employees. But wellness programs have also been found to actually improve the workplace environment itself.
As a business owner or manager can look forward to several wellness program benefits including some or all of the following:

Reduced absenteeism
Increased productivity
Improved employee morale
Reduced health care costs for employer-provided health care insurance
Reduced workers’ compensation costs

Although no two wellness programs are exactly alike, there are steps to be taken when establishing a program.
Conduct an assessment
What kind of program would fit your employees best? Do an internal assessment.

Survey employees as to their wellness needs and interests. Your insurance provider may have forms to use, but generally they look like this.
More and more employers are conducting employee health risk assessments. Typically, incentives are offered for participation, as explained by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Wellness tools, such as the ones provided online by the Small Business Wellness Initiative, can make employee assessments easy and inexpensive.

Get management buy-in
Good senior management support translates into a more successful program. Communicating ROI is important, as well as educating them as to how their departments will benefit from an employee wellness program.
Develop goals and objectives
Based on your workplace assessment, establish the goals and objectives for the company’s wellness program. For example, you may want to reduce the number of employees who smoke by a specific percent.
Identify incentives and rewards
Including a rewards program motivates employees to participate and reach goals. These might be points that can be exchanged for gift certificates or financial awards.
Develop the program
Your program will be based on the needs and budget. It can feature components such as weight loss, smoking cessation, stress reduction, exercise programs, nutrition education and health and vaccination clinics.
When creating a wellness program, make sure it is focused on employees and the benefits to your company will follow.

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