Employee wellness is of topmost priority for almost all companies this year. Employee well-being contributes to corporate savings in terms of low healthcare costs, less unscheduled paid time off, better productivity, and higher employee morale. Going forward, we can expect to see greater efforts from HR departments and the management in delivering high-quality wellness initiatives.
For wellness programs to work well, it is necessary that the management as well as employees are aligned towards the goal of achieving a wellness-centric work culture.
Employee awareness, individualized programs, fun, high quality, and accessibility to company initiatives are some of the necessary elements for a successful workplace wellness program. Let’s see how you can implement a successful wellness program at your workplace.
1) Try Individualizing
A single, one-size-fits-all wellness program will not address the varied needs of your employees. Health Reimbursement Agreement (HRA) is an employer-funded health benefit plan that reimburses employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses. The plan is also IRS-approved and offers tax advantages to the employer, and is favored by several companies.
The HRA usually covers usual health parameters like blood sugar, cholesterol, BP and BMI. This, along with bio-metric tests and lifestyle surveys, will help determine the health-risk status of employees. The results are individually and confidentially shared with each employee, thus helping him/her determine what kind of health issues he/she needs to focus upon.
In addition to the usual health factors, companies also need to focus on mental well-being of employees. Stress and depression are common mental health issues affecting a vast section of people. Beyond diet and exercise, there are several ways of improving and maintaining well-being of employees.
Divorce, death, serious illnesses or even natural disasters like cyclones affect employees detrimentally. Some of your workers may be in the process of grief recovery, or running ragged caring for kids or aging family members. Counseling or any form of assistance in these circumstances can help your employees. You can think this through and try to incorporate provisions in your wellness program.
2) Understand Situations Where Fitness Is a Business Priority
Companies involved in oil and gas exploration regard health and overall wellness of workers as a critical business priority. Workers working on rigs, platforms and in refineries, and those involved in transportation of fuel and inflammable materials, need to be fit and healthy as a job requirement. This is because almost 60% to 70% of all jobs in these high risk industries are deemed risky, where they are potentially dangerous to the employees themselves and/or to others.
Comprehensive health checkups, walking activities, high-quality on-site safety protocols, repetitive-stress-injury prevention and awareness initiatives, and exclusive health benefits all form part of health programs in safety-sensitive industries. With the availability of cost-effective bulk drug testing kits, random testing of employees for specific drugs is also common.
Wellness initiatives in these safety-sensitive industries also include community-based initiatives by partnering with local governments, NGOs and other stakeholders. This path is primarily followed when companies are operating in economically-backward and disadvantaged areas.
3) Incorporate Fun
Any initiative at the workplace wins popularity when it is fun and interesting. Health and wellness programs that incorporate enjoyment, pleasure and teamwork are best suited for every organization’s needs.
Competitions, spontaneous entertaining activities and sporting events add to the fun element in workplace wellness initiatives. Many companies also sponsor sporting events that get massive publicity and encourage employees to participate. The Mumbai Marathon is routinely sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank to build brand value, encourage awareness and provide an opportunity to employees to improve their fitness level.
Also, it is very important that the HR does not follow a carrot-and-stick policy where employees who do not participate or adhere to the suggestions are penalized. That will only encourage employees to view the whole process with suspicion and will bring on board reluctant participants. Ensure that you describe your plan of action and benefits clearly to employees, and do take their feedback when planning your initiatives.
4) Make Everything Accessible
A big drawback of less-than optimal wellness and health programs is that nothing is easily accessible. Health checkups are not available on-site, there are no points-of-contact or specialized representatives for the wellness initiatives. The lack of information and poor standards in health-related services pull down employee participation.
Do maintain excellent standards in all health-related services that are provide on campus. Also, ensure that everything is accessible. Fitness centers should be located close to work sites so that employees can check in and also be motivated seeing others do the same. Brochures and other information material should be circulated from time to time to help employees stay updated with the latest developments and contests.
A health-centric work culture, where wellness is a priority for everyone, right from the CEO to the junior intern will prove to the biggest driving force behind a successful workplace wellness program.
A successful holistic wellness program will help your employees stay healthy, and in turn, help build healthier communities. Fit workers also help improve the bottom line for companies. So, you can very well see that well- planned- and-executed wellness programs result in a win-win situation for all.