More businesses are offering wellness programs for their employees. According to a 2015 survey of 1,997 businesses by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 49% businesses with fewer than 200 employees offer wellness programs and 81% of larger businesses offer wellness programs. There is a lot of work that goes into planning and implementing a wellness program, and whether you’re starting a wellness program or you have an established wellness program, you’re going to run into speed bumps along the way.
Not Enough Staff to Administer a Wellness Program
Not every company is fortunate enough to have a dedicated employee running their wellness program. Even if you do have a dedicated employee, you’ll want help from others in your organization. One of the keys is to establish a wellness committee that includes representatives from all aspects of your organization. You’ll want to include a good mixture of gender, ages, ethnicities, and departments. This will help you learn what employees are looking for in a wellness program, and you’ll gain different perspectives when planning it. You’ll also automatically have cheerleaders for the wellness program throughout your organization.
Lack of Participation
Offering programs to your employees and not having the ideal participation can be frustrating. Did you know that out of the companies who offer wellness programs, only 60% of employees are aware that one exists, 40% of those who are aware participate, and 24% are taking advantage of these programs? Make sure you have a communication plan for your wellness program. This should include a timeline on when and how you’re communicating different activities of your wellness program. If you’re unsure, the best method of communication, ask your employee wellness committee how they prefer to be notified about upcoming activities, or do a brief survey of your employees.
Struggles Engaging High-Risk Employees
Do you have a wellness program that is mostly being utilized by “healthy employees”? It’s not uncommon to see the same “healthy employees” participating in activities you’re offering. It’s great that these employees are participating; however, are you reaching your “high-risk” employees? One of the most important steps you can take before you implement a wellness program is to survey your employees. You not only want to provide programming that focuses on reducing health disparities in your organization, you’ll also want to provide programming that is meaningful for your employees as well. For example, if a lot of employees have high blood pressure, don’t just provide a lunch-and-learn on ways to reduce blood pressure. Perhaps many of your employees are struggling with stress, which affects blood pressure levels, and providing a stress reduction program would interest more employees. This might encourage employees who don’t typically participate in wellness activities to participate.
Establishing a wellness program can be exciting but it can also sometimes feel overwhelming. If you need assistance with planning your wellness program, contact Alyfe Wellbeing Strategies.