Changing the way employees think about wellness at work is no easy task, but it’s an important one for the health and happiness of all employees. Companies that have successful wellness programs often see a higher level of workplace engagement from employees because they feel like a valued part of the company – not to mention, a reduced amount of disease and health-related costs.

It can be overwhelming to figure out how your wellness program should take shape, so we asked BCBSKS employer group wellness coordinator Jane Shirley to share an overview of starting an employee wellness program. Here are four tips to get you off on the right foot.

  1. Find your support – The first thing you need to have before moving forward is the support from leadership in your company. Having a leader who believes in this new program will signal to all employees that it’s going to be an important part of the company’s culture. Without that support, you may struggle to have employees buy in to the program.
  1. Form a group or committee – This group will be the core of your new wellness program because they’ll lead the discussion about the culture of wellness you want to create. It’s important for them to gather information about the kind of wellness programs employees are interested in, as well as research underutilized resources that may already be available to employees. Doing all of this will help the committee to create a wellness program tailored to your specific workplace.

As you look for people to join the committee, keep in mind that it’s important to include employees who are excited about the program, as well as ones who may be hesitant. Those employees can provide valuable insight about their hesitation, which can help the group overcome obstacles that could decrease the success of the program.

  1. Communicate – A communications strategy is vital in promoting any new wellness program. You’ve worked hard to develop it, so make sure employees know everything about it! The wellness committee can help determine the best communications channels to promote the program and activities. Other elements of a communications strategy can include things like:
    • A program logo to use on all related materials
    • Sharing wellness-related activities that may already be going on in your community. Is there an upcoming yoga event or charity run? Have the wellness committee share that type of information with employees.
  1. Evaluate – Finally, make sure you’re dedicating time to evaluate the success of the program. Periodic check-ins can take many forms, but they’re crucial in knowing what is and isn’t working. Ask your employees if they are getting value out of the program. Do you hear success stories from people about how the program has impacted their life? Keep in mind that success may not always be tied to an increase or decrease in numbers.

One Kansas company that’s seen tremendous success in launching its wellness program is Farmers Alliance, based in McPherson. You may recognize them from our recent commercial. Watch the video below for an in-depth look at the healthy options they’ve adopted to create a culture of wellness at work.

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