Building a Culture of Health
Many companies realize that to maintain or lower ever-increasing healthcare costs, they also need to play a role in the fight against obesity, which in turn will help employees become happier and healthier.
It’s that time of year again, when the office break room chatter often turns to health and wellness. You’ll hear it from employees and indirectly from companies. The employees’ focus is on their recently made New Year’s resolutions, filled with intentions to get healthy, lose weight, eat better, and more. From the corporate side, the beginning of the year is a perfect time to partner with employees who are already focused on their own health initiatives and boost a culture of health in the office.
What’s Driving the Interest?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tell us that over the past 20 years, obesity rates have increased significantly. Two out of every three adults in the United States are considered overweight, and one in every three is considered obese. This same research shows that being overweight or obese makes people much more likely to develop a variety of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which creates a challenge for employers and employees alike. Many companies realize that to maintain or lower ever-increasing healthcare costs, they also need to play a role in the fight against obesity, which in turn will help employees become happier and healthier.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey, 83% of large firms (200+ employees) offer a wellness program focusing on smoking cessation, weight management, or behavioral/lifestyle coaching. Many business owners wonder if corporate wellness programs are useful for small-sized companies. That’s a question that Dr. Aldana, the CEO of Wellsteps, set out to answer in a series of research studies to determine how wellness programs can impact the health of employees working in a small business. His studies do in fact show a positive correlation between such wellness programs and employees’ health. Click here to read more about Aldana’s research findings.
Your employees drive your bottom line. Taking care of their health and well-being is crucial to your success. Contact your Resourcing Edge Sales Consultant to learn more about the wellness program and benefit plans we offer.
So How Do Corporate Wellness Programs Help?
A company’s wellness program is often tailored to meeting the needs of their employees as well as the employer. In general, most wellness programs have these benefits in common:
- Heightened awareness of wellness among employees
- Happier and healthier employees
- Increased productivity and a decrease in absenteeism
- Ultimately, reduced healthcare expenses, benefiting both the employee and the company
What Does It Take to Create a Successful Wellness Program?
1. Build in Commitment and Support from Leadership
The success of any wellness program, no matter the size and scope, is directly related to the level of commitment and support from the company’s leadership. These programs are most successful when leadership is actively involved in building a culture of health throughout the company. The companies with successful programs recognize early on that success begins by investing in the health of their people. Any bottom-line ROI comes as a byproduct of that investment and of the ongoing support at all levels of the organization.
As Dr. Aldana points out, this is where small companies have an advantage. The “family” style atmosphere helps with wellness programs. Employees of small businesses tend to know their leaders better and know that they take a personal interest in them, which tends to result in wellness programs being taken more seriously.
2. Get Real About the Investment (It’s not as much as you think!)
With so many different ways to implement a wellness program, it doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. When you are creating a culture of health in your company, the little changes go a long way. For example:
- Stock your vending machines with healthy snacks; pretzels and nuts vs cookies and chips.
- Shift from birthday cake and cupcakes to refreshing fruits and veggies for company celebrations.
- Offer an onsite flu shot clinic. This gesture not only helps to improve employee health, it also accommodates busy schedules too.
- Other options include providing onsite fitness classes, offering discounts at local or national gym chains who partner with corporate wellness initiatives, or hiring a massage therapist to come in to give employees chair massages.
Contact your Resourcing Edge Sales Consultant to discuss the wellness options available with your medical plan.
3. Start with a Solid Plan and Incentives
A good rule of thumb is to start by looking at your workforce. Consider the average age of your employees, their activity level, as well as their interests. Then plan for variety! Not everything will appeal to everyone, so don’t be afraid to ask for input from your team. Above all, don’t forget to make it fun! A health competition among individuals for a worthwhile prize, or a departmental challenge for lunch out and bragging rights can go a long way towards creating excitement and engagement!
4. Spread the Word
The biggest challenge with any wellness program is communication. It’s difficult to keep the momentum of heighted awareness of health and wellness. Sure, it’s top of mind when you are in the middle of your company step challenge or when you’re drumming up participation in a 5k being sponsored by your company. However, when those events have ended, how do you continue to reinforce that healthy culture? Think about the technology your company uses. For example, if you have an internal website, consider creating a wellness section where you can post some healthy tips each month, or have people opt into receiving a weekly wellness tip by email or text.
5. Seek Help from Outside Resources
There are several organizations that employers can turn to for information, research and guidance on wellness programs. Below are just a few for you to explore for helpful ideas on how to develop a culture of health in your organization.
Contact your Resourcing Edge Sales Consultant to learn more about how health and wellness benefits can help you attract and retain your top talent.