Enhancing Your Wellness Program on the Cheap

Enhancing Your Wellness Program on the CheapA 2012 study conducted by Aflac, the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the U.S., found that many of today’s workers value workplace wellness efforts. In fact, 28 percent stated that company-sponsored tools to improve health and lifestyle yield greater job satisfaction. Other research has provided statistics on workplace wellness benefits for employers. One analysis of multiple published studies found workplace wellness programs result in an average 28 percent reduction in sick days. They also reduced health costs by 26 percent and workers’ compensation claims by 30 percent.

If you’re not achieving these types of results, it may be time to improve your workplace wellness program. Doing so doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. Consider these enhancements you can make on the cheap.

Nail down a strategy.

As Benjamin Franklin once famously wrote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Haphazardly throwing together a wellness program without determining exactly what you want it to accomplish—and the best methods to use to reach those goals—is never going to be very effective. Instead, think about the biggest health concerns in your workplace (you may want to survey your employees) and create a three- to five-year plan to address them.

Spend for data.

While you can develop a workplace wellness program that doesn’t cost a dime, spending a portion of even a small budget on data collection can be worth it. For example, hiring a vendor to conduct screenings will help you establish a baseline on the health and fitness level of your employees. Periodic re-screenings will help you gauge their progress and target new areas for improvement.

Take full advantage of your partners.

If you’ve hired a wellness program provider, solicit his ideas and consider his recommendations. You’re paying for his experience and expertise, so use it. Tap into your other benefits providers—from health insurers to 401(k) managers—as well. As part of their service, they may provide free resources you can use to enhance your wellness program, such as online educational tools.

Use free resources provided by government and non-profit organizations.

For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created the National Healthy Worksite Program, which you can access online. You’ll find information on training opportunities, training materials, and other tools and resources you can use when enhancing your workplace wellness program.

Make the most of key health areas.

If you want to get the biggest bang for your wellness dollar, focus on areas of health in which small changes often yield big results. These include increasing your employees’ physical activity and improving their nutrition. For example, you might encourage them to move more with daily-steps competitions, short exercise breaks or setting up an on-site gym. You could swap healthy snacks for junk food in the office vending machine, organize a company-wide weight loss challenge, or distribute a newsletter with healthy-eating tips and recipes.

Whether you want to fine-tune an existing wellness program to produce better results or have yet to add this valuable supplemental benefit to your company’s roster, I can help. Contact me today for more information on creating and managing your program.