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Designing and Managing a Workplace Wellness Program That Works 

designing a workplace wellness program

Workplace wellness programs are big business. From onsite gyms to paid mental health days, health fairs to wellness apps, employers are continually looking for ways to promote health and wellness among their workers. 

But the fanciest wellness program isn’t always the best one. Your program must be suited to the needs of your workers, cost effective for your business and manageable for you and your leadership team. Here’s what you need to know about designing and managing a workplace wellness program that will help you see results. 

The Benefits of a Workplace Wellness Program 

Having a workplace wellness program, even a smaller one without a lot of bells and whistles, can benefit you and your workers in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Improved employee health and productivity: Taking care of their overall health can be a challenge for busy workers, with 57% of employees recognizing a link between their wellbeing and productivity at work. Giving them resources to prioritize their wellbeing at work makes wellness more accessible and, in turn, increases the likelihood they will utilize those resources. And the healthier workers are, the more productive they will be at work. 
  • Reduced risk of work-related injuries: When workers aren’t feeling well or performing at their best, they are more likely to experience on-the-job accidents that could lead to injuries. By helping them prioritize their wellness, you’re reducing the risk of costly work-related injuries and workers’ compensation claims. 
  • Increased employee morale: Working for employers that care about them as people, not just the product they can output during their shift, is important to most employees. A Kronos study showed that employers that prioritized worker wellness in 2020 saw a 33% increase in employee trust. By offering a workplace wellness program, you’re showing your employees that you care about their health and wellbeing, which can improve morale and job satisfaction. 

Key Elements of an Effective Workplace Wellness Program 

Although every workplace wellness program will look different based on the needs of each organization and its employees, there are some key elements all successful programs have in common. 

Assessing Worker Needs and Interests 

A workplace wellness program that doesn’t take into account worker needs and interests is set up to fail. If your workers aren’t overwhelmingly going to use an onsite gym, for example, you’re just wasting the time and money it will take to set one up. 

For your workplace wellness program to be a success, you must take into account the needs of your workforce, as well as their preferences. For a population that thrives on competition, hosting wellness challenges could be effective, but would flop for a team that doesn’t enjoy competing.  

Consider specific health conditions or challenges your workers may face, too. If your workers are at a higher risk of lower back strain, for example, hosting stretching and strengthening seminars and challenges that get them up and moving throughout the day may be more effective. Onsite blood pressure screenings or weight management courses could be beneficial for workers that struggle with these challenges. 

Don’t just rely on your leadership team’s observations when considering the most effective programs for your workers. Survey your team as a whole or create a wellness program panel with workers across your organization to get varied opinions and ideas.  

Taking the time to get a solid idea of what services and programs would be most beneficial to your workers is going to go far in making your wellness program one that will be utilized and successful. 

Designing a Comprehensive Wellness Program 

The best workplace wellness programs offer a variety of options for workers to get involved and take charge of their health. Formal seminars, casual challenges and other options all work together to help every employee find something that suits their needs. 

Some key areas to consider ensuring your wellness program touches upon include: 

  • Nutrition 
  • Fitness 
  • Mental health 
  • Chronic diseases 
  • Vaccination programs 
  • Wellness checks 
  • Financial health 

Your program can support these areas through onsite services, partnerships with offsite providers, virtual options and other means. A combination of different options is not only more cost-effective for your organization, but it allows workers to participate at a level they’re comfortable with, making their use of the services more likely. 

Tracking Progress and Measuring Success 

Setting up a workplace wellness program without a way to measure its success is just going to waste your financial and time investments in the program’s design. To ensure your program is serving your workers well, you must decide what a successful program looks like to you, measure this data and use what you learn to make your program better. 

Some common success metrics to consider include: 

  • Program utilization 
  • Absenteeism rates 
  • Work-related injury rates 
  • Worker turnover 
  • Employee satisfaction 
  • Healthcare spend 

Find the metrics that mean the most to your business and track them. Look at them on a regular cadence (quarterly, for example) and evaluate whether the numbers are trending in a direction you’d like them to. If they aren’t, look for potential reasons why and make adjustments to your program as necessary.   

Your Partner in Occupational Health and Wellness 

Medcor offers comprehensive occupational health solutions to employers of all sizes and types. From permanent onsite clinics to 24/7 injury triage, it is our goal to help employers provide exceptional occupational healthcare to their workers to improve outcomes, reduce injury rates and decrease costs. Learn more and connect with a Medcor advocate to discuss your options today.