Healthy employees help create a sustainable business model. Studies have shown that companies perform better in the stock market when they have a solid wellness program in place. (Population Health – Creating a Culture of Wellness; Nash, Reifsnyder, Fabius & Pracilio) Corporate wellness is also helping lead the country back to greater health. It brings a focus on health to many individuals who don’t otherwise have access to good information or programs.

Companies with successful wellness programs have a few things in common. First, the program goals must be decided and articulated then create policies to support these goals. Program goals may include any of the following: health improvement, illness prevention, reduce absenteeism, reduce insurance costs, greater employee productivity, improved employee engagement. Something to consider is whether the program is for employees only or if family members will be included.

Other successful approaches include employee participation in the program design and implementation, company leadership who walk the walk and talk the talk, having measurable outcomes and programs which are easy to implement, easy to sign up for and easy for employees to understand how to access them, utilize them and see how they will benefit.

It is best to start new programs off with a low barrier of entry, as in it should be free and easy to participate. Team events for a cause, such as a walkathon, are great introductory events. Incentives are also a great way to get people moving, but it has been shown that large monetary incentives don’t necessarily have more value than fun things like t-shirts and water bottles, especially if an event is scheduled in which everyone can participate and wear their shirts to work. Once employee attention has been won, slowly build the program. Having a kick-off event with drawings or raffles is another great way to get employees excited.

Make wellness fun and they will come!

About Your Columnist

Susan Doherty is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers how companies can create a culture of health in the workplace along with tips on how busy professional women can stay healthy during hectic times. She shares insights from her long career in the health and wellness industry to offer organizations best practice tips on creating a culture of health in the workplace. Susan is the owner of Action Ergonomics and specializes in risk prevention for workers in the office environment, solving a major barrier to productivity and performance.

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