Getting Started with a Corporate Wellness Program

April 2, 2021

People doing yoga

A corporate wellness program can be incredibly complex or quite simple. Either way, it should be aligned with leader expectations and consider input from the employees. The results can be staggering. Outlined in this article, employees report feeling better, happier with their employment, and taking fewer sick days. Whatever program you ultimately design, in the end, employees that use it should like it. However, not everyone has to love it to still get an ROI.

Most companies that have under 20 employees may find it a challenge to implement all strategies outlined in this article. Since small companies have a limited number of employees for team challenges or just the availability in time to implement. For smaller companies, consider the number of people it takes to play pickleball, ultimate frisbee, or simply clean a park/river/wooded area/neighborhood. The great part about cleaning parks of trash is you don’t have to be together. You can be at your own parks and share photos of before and after shots on your business collaboration tools, such as Slack or MS Teams.

Two things to consider going forward into a corporate wellness program: services and competition. Provide services to your employees such as access to online mental health, encourage healthy eating, online classes, and provide outlets to quit smoking or drinking. Concurrently, companies can utilize the power of gamification and competition. Think group competition rather than individual competition. Create groups across pods (e.g. cross-functional groups) or departments.

What is a Wellness Program?

An enterprise wellness program is helping staff live happier, more productive lives together as a unit. Wellness program encapsulates both mental well-being and body wellness. Wellness programs involve maintaining healthy diets, lowering smoking and bad habits, and building mental resilience to stress. The difference between a wellness program and personal health is a wellness program is ran by a group of people within an organization. Further, a wellness program is social, competitive, team-oriented, and has components of gamification.

Current Situation of Wellness Programs in Most Corporations

Everyone wants their business to grow to the fullest. For that, nothing is more important than investing in the most valuable asset of your business- your employees. You need to make sure that your employees are happy and healthy. This will help them be productive, which in turn will help your business.

These days work cultures are highly based on technology. While it comes with lots of benefits, there are some disadvantages too. Due to that, employees don’t go through many physical activities nowadays, even though it is a basic requirement for leading a healthy life. Most employees struggle to maintain a fit and healthy life in the long term due to spending more hours at the desk and fewer hours on health. 

Corporate wellness isn’t a new concept. Many corporations have implemented corporate wellness initiatives for their employees as a part of their employee recognition program. However, those initiatives include subsidized healthcare services, paid insurance covers, prolonged medical leaves, etc. All these things come into play after an employee gets diagnosed with some health issues and undergoes treatment. 

Current wellness programs in most corporations don’t take the idea of helping the employees lead a healthy life into account. Instead of taking preventive measures and mitigating employees’ health risks to promote, today’s organizations and corporations tend to focus more on providing support for the cure when an employee falls victim to health issues. However, that’s not the proper way of implementing a corporate wellness program.

What A Proper Corporate Wellness Program Should Offer

A proper corporate wellness program should consist of the measures taken by the management to achieve a healthy workplace. Different health activities can be incorporated for promoting the well-being of the employees within the daily office schedule in order to run the program. These programs take an integrative approach towards the health of the employees of a company. They do this by building an executive health culture.

A wide range of health activities can be implemented to ensure the good health of the employees. There are numerous benefits of corporate wellness programs. These programs help mitigate various health risks that can arise due to stress, work pressure, lack of physical activity, consumption of unhealthy snacks, etc. It doesn’t only keep the employees healthy by keeping them engaged in specific tasks; it also helps build healthy habits among the employees. 

This will, in turn, help boost productivity in the office, and employee engagement will also increase. Employee wellness program benefits can also be linked to employee acquisition and employee retention. The American Psychological Association has stated in a study that 89% of workers are more likely to recommend their workplace as a good place for work if their company supports the well-being of employees. 

Corporate wellness programs can be of different types. Each company can take a different route to implement corporate wellness in their workplace. For instance, installing a workplace gym can be the first step of implementing a wellness program. Wellness programs can simplify the design, implementation, and development of the well-being program needed for a person. This is because the company will pave the path for an employee to have better health. 

These programs must be customized based on the size, needs, and budget of a company.

Why is Wellness a Must Need in Workplaces?

When someone works at a corporation, they inevitably deal with never-ending stress, prolonged working hours, increased work pressure, etc. Companies need to keep their employer motivated to get the best out of them and retain the top performers. These days, high pay is not the only thing employees look for. They also want to appreciate their job satisfaction, provision for work-life balance, and much more. 

Top-ranked companies facilitate fitness sessions, lifestyle education, health assessments, etc., to keep the employees healthy, motivated, and happy. A healthy workforce is a prerequisite for a healthy business. Modern-day workplaces and all the problems with them aren’t much good for the employees’ physical or mental well-being.

Long sitting periods, long periods of looking at computer screens, having quick sugary snacks, etc., can take a heavy toll on an employee’s physical health. A highly stressful work environment, colossal workload, upcoming deadlines, staying late at the office due to work pressure, etc., can get an employee very stressed. Their mental health can get badly damaged. Stressful situations can often make the employees make decisions that aren’t good for their health. This can include drinking a lot of coffee at night, getting extra sleep in the morning instead of waking up early to get some exercise, etc.

According to Economic Times, 72% of employees experience cardiovascular diseases. Based on the reports of ComPsych, 29% of employees tend to exercise o to 1 day per week. Also, employees of various organizations and corporations become prone to health issues such as gastrointestinal disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. 

Therefore, corporations need to implement corporate wellness in their workplace to keep their employees safe. This will help keep the employees healthy and happy, which will make them motivated to give their best for the company. The growth of your business will become more prominent then.

The Benefits A Corporate Wellness Program Can Offer

If a company invests in a company wellness program, it will bring good results for the company and its employees. Researchers from Havard have found from numerous studies that “For every $1 that was spent on a wellness program, the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs.”

The value of creating a culture of healthy living is high. Especially if the employees of a company start living healthy and incorporate different healthy habits in their lifestyle, they will help the company in the long run. The company will enjoy much profit and growth due to the employees being healthy. Different costs will come down while the productivity and work rate of employees will increase.

Even different stats from numerous studies back this up. Proper and useful corporate wellness programs ideas help 61% of employees to make healthier choices in their lives. WHO says proper workplace wellness initiatives can affect absenteeism highly. Absenteeism goes down by 27%, and at the same time, the company’s health care costs can be reduced by 26% with these programs. According to ASG, corporate wellness programs these days aim at a 37% satisfaction boost in employees, 43% improvement in office culture, and 60% reduction in the costs behind health problems. 

Also, based on the reports of the American Psychological Association, 91% of employees feel motivated to put in more efforts for the company after going through a proper wellness program. These days more and more employers understand the actual value of these corporate wellness programs and how they can affect a workplace effectively. According to Xerox, 74% of employers think wellness programs are vital for employee retention and recruiting.

Overall, if a company succeeds in implementing a standard corporate wellness program for their employees, they will experience a lot of positive changes in the workplace. Some of these are-

  • Work-related illness will get highly reduced due to increased strength, reduced stress, and better employees’ immunity.
  • As the employees won’t get sick often and won’t qualify for health insurance, insurance costs will significantly decrease. This will result in substantial savings both for the company and the employees.
  • Owing to the fact that they are healthy and happy, employees won’t go on sick leaves as much. Absenteeism will be highly reduced due to that.
  • The healthier the employees will be, the higher their morale will be. They will also be enthusiastic about their job and put more effort in company work than they usually do. 
  • As corporate wellness programs help deal with stress, employees get less stressed due to work pressure and deadlines. This helps to increase productivity and keep them mentally healthy at the same time. 
  • The rate of employee retention can highly increase due to corporate wellness programs. If a company introduces proper wellness initiatives for its employees, job satisfaction increases highly among the employees. Also, new job seekers find it highly fascinating and feel the drive to join that company. Existing employees also feel the drive to remain there and keep working for the company.
  • Overall focus and productivity of the company’s employees get highly increased, which benefits the company in manifold ways. 

It’s safe to say that if a company incorporates a standard wellness initiative for its employees, they will enjoy more employee engagement and create a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.

SHRM state the benefits include:

  • Lowering health care costs
  • Reducing absenteeism
  • Achieving higher employee productivity
  • Reducing workers’ compensation and disability-related costs
  • Reducing injuries
  • Improving employee morale and loyalty

In the United Healthcare Wellness Check-Up in 2018, it was found people who participated in a wellness program saw the following benefits:

  • 67% reported reduced bodyweight
  • 56% took fewer sick days
  • 30% said a disease was detected
  • 89% said mindfulness had a positive impact

How to Get Started with a Wellness Program?

In order to have a successful program, it is best to do a few things before jumping in on a vendor or building it yourself. HR leaders should prepare a survey for staff. The survey will allow leaders to know what to include and not include in the program. Concurrently consult lawyers on the risks of introducing such a plan.

Start small

Just like any employee experience program, start small and dream big. Introduce one program into your wellness schema and add to it as time goes on. Staff will appreciate the focus and enjoy the new additions.

Crawl, walk, run to a wellness program.

Gain consensus & focus

Get a number of stakeholders involved as part of a Corporate Engagement Committee. This group should not only talk about wellness but also recognition, surveys, community involvement, and more.

Specific corporate wellness programs to consider:

  • Wellness challenges & goals
  • Incentive good habits
  • Smoking cessation
  • Public transit and bike incentives
  • Paramedical services, such as massage
  • Classes, such as spin, yoga, or Thai chi
  • Health snack budget
  • Mentorship & coaching programs
  • Socialize wellness by posting to an internal business network or newsletter

The way to a wellness challenge.

How to Create a Corporate Wellness Program in Recognize

The Recognize employee recognition program utilizes gamification to enable companies to configure different objectives. One objective is wellness. Companies can create badges, points, leaderboards, tasks, rewards, and award certifications all-around wellness. Staff can report completing challenges or recognizing others for those challenges. Recognize helps companies who want to provide recognition and wellness challenges to staff in one easy platform.

Social Recognition to Rally Others Around Wellness

There are two types of recognition for a wellness program: manager-driven and social-driven. Manager-driven is creating badges only a manager can give out. These can be team badges as well where an admin can recognize an entire team for completing a challenge. With it being a social recognition, the entire company can see the wellness activities. You can also attach photos in Recognize to show what happened. Staff will comment and it will create social interaction between staff who may not work together in the same office. 

A social-driven wellness program is one where any employee can recognize another employee for completing a wellness challenge or showing effort. Anything from Improving badge to Quit smoking Badges are options. When staff comment and like the recognition, it encourages the person to do more by providing that social proof and reinforcement.

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Wellness Recognition Badges

Mentorship - two people talking badge Bicycle badge Salad badge Someone stretching badge Meditating badge Running man badge

Wellness Incentives in Recognize

In the Recognize Incentives program, leaders can create any kind of task. For instance, if you get eight hours of sleep each night for a week, report it to your manager in Recognize for points. At the same time, the company needs to reinforce how they feel sleeping is important for employees with infographics and reminders. So along with staff being able to report wellness, employers are promoting wellness.

Ideas for wellness tasks

  • Meditation for 15min
  • Got 8hrs of sleep
  • Took 15min class
  • Took 30min exercise class
  • Didn’t smoke in a day
  • Didn’t smoke in a week

When staff receives points for completing these tasks, they can turn those points in for rewards, such as time off or a gift card.

Tips for healthy living Eat right, no phone before bed, no junk food, no working out, dim the lights one hour before sleep.

Nominate Top Wellness Staff

Allow employees to nominate themselves or others through monthly, quarterly, and yearly awards. Leaders can count the votes and the people who received the most votes ins. Using Recognize, companies can college nominations from Microsoft Teams, Outlook, or other integrations.

Ideas of results for a nomination program:

  • Use the monthly and quarter nominations to put the winners into a raffle for end of year prizes
  • Give cash bonuses to winners
  • Give decision-making powers to winners. For instance, the winner in most improved can be part of the Wellness Community

Wellness nomination awards

Putting it Together in Employer Wellness Programs

Recognize sees the future of Wellness and has a roadmap of features to keep making things like a wellness program better for companies. Just like Recognize growing, companies can grow as well with their program. Start small and focused. When Instagram, it was pictures, filters, and a feed. It was a five-page app. Now Instagram is a complex social network rivaling its parent Facebook. Your program can be the same. Focus on that “photo filter innovation”. Focus on bringing one thing that everyone will really appreciate in your corporate wellness program. Then grow on top of that.

Things to do initially

  • Weekend community service
  • Walking teams
  • Healthy snack budget
  • Mental health awareness
  • Move improved flexibility contests
  • Days being vegetarian contests

How Much Does A Wellness Program Cost

Before implementing a corporate wellness program, it is important to establish a budget. The program won’t see daylight without proper funding. A corporation should include the program design cost, incentive, and marketing cost in the wellness budget. A wellness program budget should also include incentives for participation, meeting provisions, the fees of screening vendors or other providers, promotional materials, fitness trackers, etc.

To create the budget, you need to determine all the costs. Based on what you are adding to your wellness program, your budget will be determined. There is no specific bar in terms of cost for the program to run effectively.

An organization can try conducting surveys to determine if the employees will be willing to bear the cost for any aspect of the program. Also, a business can try partnering up with a health insurance career to determine the corporate wellness components they will be offering. Costs of corporate wellness programs often remain included in the health insurance premiums of different health insurance providers. This way, you can reduce your cost to some extent.

Final Words

These days there isn’t an alternative for corporate wellness programs. While on the one hand, a corporate wellness program can keep the employees healthy and happy, on the other hand, it will help the employees to be more productive and hardworking with a boosted up morale. This will help your business achieve its targets quickly and experience proper growth. Less stress and health problems for employees will mean a lower level of absenteeism. Also, insurance costs will come down due to the lower need for medical attention of the employees. This will save a lot of money for the company too.

Recognizing can help implement a corporate wellness program for any company without any hassle and enjoy all the benefits the program will come with quickly. It can also help with small business wellness programs ideas that can be implemented by small businesses without spending a fortune. 

Incentivize, Recognize, Reward

Recognize increases staff productivity, provides company engagement insights, and helps retain top employees. Providing HR with an out-of-box solution since 2012.

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