How to Start a Wellness Program
Sean Higgins
how to start a wellness program

A wellness program can help you nurture a culture of well-being and demonstrate to employees that your company cares about their physical and mental well-being. Employees are increasingly looking for companies that help them achieve their personal goals when deciding where they want to work and if they need to look for a new job. If you’re wondering how to start a wellness program, here’s what you need to know. 

Conduct Research Before Launching Your Wellness Program

Before you start crafting the details of your wellness program, you need to understand what health concerns your employees are dealing with by conducting a needs assessment. One way to acquire this information is to utilize an anonymous employee survey.

Employees can safely share what health conditions they’re struggling with and what areas of their wellness they need help improving. You might also use your employees’ demographic info to identify areas (like lowering their blood pressure or increasing their activity levels) where habits or preventative behaviors will be most beneficial. 

Your survey should also inquire if employees would prefer to receive support and guidance online, via the phone, in person, or through virtual meetings. Ask for details about what things they believe are preventing them from reaching their personal goals for physical and mental wellness. 

Use employee concerns and perceptions, information about employee turnover and on-the-job injuries, and data about productivity and absenteeism to assist you with creating an effective wellness program. 

Determine Your Budget

Before you set up your wellness program , you need to decide what kind of funding you have to devote to the program. Costs to consider include incentive expenses, marketing costs, the price of setting up and administering your wellness program, and expenses for promotional materials. 

You need to establish your budget so that you know what you can realistically provide as part of your wellness program. Make sure to inquire about discounts from local gyms and fitness centers if you decide to purchase multiple memberships or exercise classes. 

Even if your budget feels limited, you can still launch an effective wellness program. Free or low-cost activities, like a lunchtime walking group or evening yoga session, are excellent options for helping employees meet goals for physical and mental wellness. 

Understand the Benefits Associated with an Efficient Wellness Program

It can be difficult to get partners, managers, and other individuals on board with implementing a wellness program. Understanding the benefits provided by a wellness program can assist you in persuading other people that it’s an idea worth embracing.

Some of the benefits associated with effective wellness programs include:

Lowers Health Care Costs for Your Business

Healthier employees generally require fewer costly medical procedures, helping you keep your long-term insurance premiums as affordable as possible. 

Reduces Absenteeism

Employees who nurture their physical and mental health usually take fewer days off due to sickness and chronic conditions.

Boosts Employee Productivity and Morale

When employees feel like their employer cares about their well-being and sees them as people, this helps them do their best work, take pride in their work, and optimize their productivity. 

A wellness program is a terrific way to invest in your employees so that they feel like they’re a valued part of your company. 

Increases Employee Loyalty and Retention Rates

Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to remain loyal to their employers, helping with your company’s employee retention efforts and reducing costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

A wellness program is an excellent way to help employees feel like they belong. It shows that your company wants to assist them in their journey to become their best selves. 

Lowers the Rate of Workers’ Compensation Claims

Physically and mentally healthy employees are less likely to get hurt while performing job-related duties; this can aid your business by lowering on-the-job injuries and worker compensation claims. 

Create Goals for Your Wellness Program

It’s important to identify what you’re hoping to accomplish with your wellness program. This will assist you with gauging the success of the program so that you can decide if any aspects need to be adjusted or revamped so that your employees can achieve optimal physical and mental wellness. 

For example, you might set a goal of reducing the number of employees who qualify as obese by five percent over the next year. Or, you may set a goal of reducing the number of employees who smoke by five percent within a year.

Your goals can also focus on employee participation. You might set a goal of having 50 percent of your employees participate in a wellness program within 12 months of launching your program. 

Provide Incentives to Encourage Employees to Participate

Even though your employees have physical and mental health goals they want to achieve, they may feel like their schedule prohibits them from working towards these goals. Or, they might mistakenly believe that a wellness program is a poor use of their time. 

Encourage employees to participate in your wellness program by offering employee incentives. These incentives should reward employees for beginning and completing wellness programs, as well as reaching milestones within a program. 

Incentive ideas include:

  • Free or low-cost wearable activity trackers that help employees monitor their activities
  • Subsidized gym memberships or fitness app subscriptions
  • Fitness gear, like resistance bands, water bottles, yoga mats, and clothing
  • Credits that employees can use to offset their health insurance premiums or redeem for gift cards

Make it easy for employees to redeem and receive their incentives for their wellness program participation. Even if they only do the program for the incentive, they’re likely to receive some health benefits from their participation. 

Utilize Technology to Help Employees Improve Their Physical and Mental Wellness

BetterYou offers a Healthy Habits Companion to aid your employees in achieving their wellness goals. We’re a healthy habit companion that lets employees set goals they care about so that we can help them reach their goals using sustainable methods. 

The BetterYou app uses behavior science to improve digital health and make it stick.

Want to learn how?