The implementation of wellness initiatives can improve employee health and performance while decreasing sick days, and injuries. 

Wellness programs are an excellent way to engage your employees interest in self-improvement and a healthier lifestyle. If you are considering implementing a wellness program into your manufacturing company, it is essential to take into consideration the physical and time-consuming nature of the work your employees are performing. With the inclusion of a few fundamental must-haves, you can provide your employees with a range of wellness programs that fit into their busy lives. 

Benefits

The benefits of wellness initiatives, when implemented correctly, can significantly increase job performance while cutting insurance costs. As workers in the manufacturing industry, your employees are often working long and physically demanding shifts. In addition to long-hours, workers may also have families to focus on, as well as other outside commitments consuming their non-working hours. For these reasons, your workers may have difficulty finding time to focus on their health and wellness. As a manufacturing company, you may face the problem of having workers at the company 24/7 365. Meaning the availability to wellness programs must take into consideration not only the needs of individual workers, but also be time-flexible, for employees who work ‘odd-shifts,’ including late nights, and weekend shifts. To implement a wellness initiative that works for all of your employees, there are a few things your program must-have to run smoothly and maintain engagement.

Must-Haves

These must-haves include wellness programs tailored to your employee needs. To gain high engagement, you must first know your employees and recognize what wellness programs fit their health needs best. A solution to collecting data to formulate your wellness initiatives is to start by using information gathered from voluntary health screenings. These health screenings offer information comparable to the results of this study by the Department of Health Policy and Management that determined that 85% of injuries sustained were by workers who are overweight or obese. With this knowledge, it is safe to say that programs focused on weight loss are necessary when building a health initiative in the manufacturing industry. Initial screenings also offer information such as the number of individuals who have other significant health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes. 

Implementation

Once you have established what programs to implement based on your employee health screening, you can begin implementation. When implementing programs for your manufacturing employees, remember, convenience is vital to physical laborers. Put health in their hands by bringing programs to them. Set aside days designated to health and wellness. This convenience allows workers who are otherwise too busy to engage the opportunity to participate. Onsite programs can include exams, screening, short wellness meetings that cover topics such as nutrition and future wellness programs. Keep your employees informed and educated to assist them in better understanding their health.

Maintaining Engagement 

On days that are not dedicated solely to wellness checks and screening, you must maintain employee engagement. Manufacturing workers are busy and almost always engaged in their work, aside from breaks and lunchtime. Because of this, it is crucial to incorporate convenience into the presentation of health and wellness education and tips. These initiatives can include placing posters encouraging active lifestyles and healthy living in hallways, and near time clocks. It is also beneficial to post weekly or monthly newsletters in the breakroom with wellness tips. Provide employees with healthy snacks and meal options during their meals and breaks. Keeping your employees focus on wellness as simple for them to continue as possible, even on their busiest days, is key to maintaining engagement. Keep technology involvement to a minimum and consider providing your employees with tracking sheets that they can easily keep on hand and use daily, without having to access a computer.

Incentives

According to RAND Corporation employees are more likely to participate in wellness programs when offered incentives to do so. These incentives can range from a closer parking space, additional vacation days, to more expensive items, such as a free year gym membership, or bonuses to employees who make the most significant improvements. Utilize these incentives for weight-based wellness programs, as well as programs directed at helping employees to quit smoking. Whatever incentives you decide to use to increase motivation and engagement, be sure to budget into your quarterly budget. 

Building Your Employee Wellness Initiative

When it comes to creating wellness initiatives for your manufacturing company, keep in mind the physical aspects required and long hours, your employees commit to their work. Research and develop wellness-programs that are easy for your employees to access and participate in while still fulfilling their specific health and wellness needs. Offer healthy food and drink options during breaks and lunch to incentivize better nutrition. Keep your employees up-to-date on what they can expect from new programs, and be sure to offer incentives to drive engagement and long-term participation.