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.

Benefits of a Wellness Program

If you are here to learn how to create a wellness program in Recognize, it is a safe bet you already know the benefits.

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.


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


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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