CindySays: Create an effective wellness program at work
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you work at a company that provides health insurance, then it's a good bet there is someone who is paying attention to employee health. Larger companies may have a full-time wellness director.
Those companies that can't fund this position will sometimes rely on human resources and gather the appropriate person(s) around this duty. This works quite well, particularly when those assuming this task have a health and wellness background.
However, there are many who feel overwhelmed and underqualified when charged with improving employee health.
This leads me to look into and answer some of the common questions I receive regarding effective worksite wellness programs.
What is an employee wellness program?
It's a program that promotes and supports the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees and is based in education, activity and evaluation.
Why should companies be concerned with worksite wellness?
A healthier work force usually means increased productivity and morale and decreased health-care costs. The return on investment in engaging and effective programs is worth mentioning with an estimated return of $6 to the company for every $1 spent on wellness.
What are the key components of a successful wellness initiative?
What are the downsides to an employee wellness initiative?
Start-up costs, administrative time to get it up and running and tracking, and potential liability. Consult with a lawyer to determine the type and scope of your wellness program and have all participants sign a waiver of liability.
How do companies keep momentum going in the right direction?
When is the best time to start an employee wellness program?
Once organized with a motivating leader, there is no time like the present. Polling the work force to gauge their interest will always encourage employee buy-in and help to jumpstart efforts.
While larger companies may have more immediate resources in terms of funding and personnel, size doesn't always predict success or failure of a worksite wellness program. One person can change the climate of a worksite and attract others with like intentions and goals. Persistence and passion can go a long way toward a happier, healthier work force.
Cindy Boggs, wellness presenter and author, is an ACE-certified instructor/trainer. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website, www.cindysays.com.