The jury is in and wellness programs have been shown to save companies an average of $3 – $6 for every dollar invested in healthy workplace initiatives. Not only do companies benefit in the form of fewer employee sick days, lower health care costs and higher productivity, they also benefit from happier, more fulfilled workers.
When it comes to implementing a wellness program, it typically requires a change of mindset across the whole company. This kind of changes doesn’t just happen overnight. Instead it’s best to approach health and wellness like you would training for a marathon: you don’t cross the finish line on day one. Instead, plan to train your staff on the benefits of diet and exercise for an extended period of time.
Marathon runners typically train for 17 – 20 weeks (4 – 5 months) before their big race, and they train an average of four to six days a week to get ready. When it comes to your company’s health and wellness goals, why not take the same approach? Plan a 5 month initiative and this way you can evaluate employee improvement over a longer span of time.
Getting an entire staff to change their behaviour both at work and at home takes time and planning. First, it’s best to establish what your company’s goals are. Do you want to reduce sick days? Improve productivity? Or simply create a happier work environment? Once you have a list of three desired outcomes, you can set a time frame to achieve these results.
Treat health and wellness like a sport, and set your goals with benchmarks for success along the way. Over a five month period, follow these tips for wellness success:
Get great coaches: When it comes to employee buy-in for wellness plans, it’s essential that managers and company executives lead by example. If managers don’t buy in, no one else will.
Work as a team: People are less successful at changing their behaviour when they work on their own. Instead, create a team to oversee the roll out the wellness program and encourage everyone to participate as a group.
Determine your targets: It’s great if you can launch your wellness initiatives with personalized goals for each employee. The best way to do that is with measurable outcomes. For example, you can measure weight loss, inches lost, changes in Body Mass Index (BMI), changes in cholesterol levels, hours of sleep, and/or blood pressure levels. It’s up to you!
Keep training: A great way to get people to commit to change is by informing them of how changes to diet, exercise and sleep can positively affect their happiness and well-being. Give staff members handouts and posters on healthy eating and exercise practices on a regular basis. (See some of our fantastic posters and newsletters!)
Map your progress: Begin with an easy to access schedule for company wellness benchmarks and events. For example, put up a large calendar and have weekly activities and contests so that employees have something to look forward to and work towards.
Establish milestones: If you’re committed to change, have a day each month or every few weeks where a member of your staff checks in with employees to see how they are doing with their personalized targets. This will help you assess who needs extra coaching and will keep individuals on track for success.
Finish strong: When it comes to the end of your wellness program roll-out, reward your staff with a celebration. This will give everyone a sense of accomplishment and allow them to celebrate their improved health. By no means is the end of a training period the end of a wellness program, but it does allow everyone to celebrate. Once people have made a positive change, review the changes to your company culture and determine what new health and wellness goals you’d like to pursue going forward.