Whether you’re the head of an HR team or a small business owner, you may be thinking about implementing an employee wellness program to encourage your staff members to get healthy.
There are different types of wellness programs available, whether it’s for physical fitness or mental well-being. But do these really work?
Let’s take a look at what you need to know about these programs.
What Is an Employee Wellness Program?
In general, wellness programs aim to improve the overall health of employees by encouraging them to adopt certain habits. The main goal behind this type of initiative is to keep employees healthy.
This helps reduce medical expenses and increase productivity routines within the workplace.
For those who suffer from chronic diseases, there are even specific programs designed to help them manage their condition.
In many cases, employers will provide incentives to participate in a wellness program. These incentives can include things that promote wellness such as discounts on gym membership or counseling programs.
Popular Types of Employee Wellness Programs
There are several kinds of wellness programs to choose from based on the needs of each individual employer. Some of the most common employee wellness programs are:
- Physical Fitness
In this kind of wellness programs, employees are encouraged to exercise regularly and eat nutritious foods. Many workplaces provide gyms and classes where employees can attend these sessions. They can also schedule personal training sessions with trainers if they prefer. It aims to help employees become physically fit and prevent injuries. After all, many office jobs require employees to sit down for long periods of time. So with a physical fitness wellness program, employees can find it easier to keep their physical health in check.
- Mental Health & Stress Management
This sort of wellness program encourages employees to focus on their mental health. The best example of this kind of program is the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP is a service provided by employers to address issues like stress, depression, anxiety, workplace problems, and more. They can offer counseling services, group therapy sessions, and coaching. All of these services can contribute to the employee’s ability to cope with daily life challenges.
- Healthy Eating
Another wellness program that some companies implement is one focused on nutrition. Such programs encourage employees to eat right and stay away from unhealthy foods. Whether it’s having healthy food available in the pantry or access to healthy local-sourced food through a delivery app, this type of wellness program can help employees maintain a balanced diet.
Are Employee Wellness Programs Effective?
The answer to this question depends on the goals set forth by the wellness program itself.
If the program aims to simply improve employee health, then yes, it’s likely to be successful.
However, if the program has broader objectives in mind, this might not be the case. There are some cases wherein after an initial period of success, the effects of wellness programs begin to fade.
In other instances, it’s only beneficial to those who are already interested in health and wellness in the first place.
Should I Consider an Employee Wellness Plan?
Although there are some cases where employee wellness plans don’t work, they still have their benefits. As mentioned above, they can bring about some positive changes in your employees’ lives.
But what makes them effective? And why do we see them fail so often?
Here are three things you should consider before implementing any kind of wellness plan:
- Make Sure You Have Enough Time to Plan
Wellness programs take a lot of planning and preparation. This means that you’ll need to decide how much time you want to dedicate to making sure your employees are well taken care of. Impulsively implementing a wellness plan without thinking about the details could lead to more problems than benefits.
- Keep Your Goals Employee-Centered
Employee wellness programs should focus on employees. While you may want to reduce absenteeism among your employees, it can be difficult to implement a program with this goal in mind. Instead, try to have a goal that’s employee-centered. Don’t come into this initiative expecting your employees to change overnight as well. Rather, focus on helping them achieve small improvements over time.
- Be Realistic About Your Expectations
As mentioned earlier, wellness plans aren’t always successful. Some people just aren’t motivated enough to adopt healthier habits. So when considering a wellness plan, think about your employees’ current lifestyle and how the program can realistically help them adopt better habits.
Employee wellness programs are a great way to promote health and wellness efforts throughout your company.
While there are different ways to integrate these programs, remember to consider all aspects of the program and keep long-term objectives in mind.
A good wellness program will not only help your company’s success, but it will also keep your employees healthy and motivated to work.
If you are considering an Employee Assistance Program for your staff, you are welcome to contact Vision to find out how we can help.