(Sophisticated Wellness Programs: Part 6 of the 6-part series)
Throughout this year, we have described how to create the best atmosphere of wellness at your workplace. In addition to fostering an overall culture of health, it is important to provide wellness programs that help your employees stay as healthy as they can be.
Kaushal Pethe, manager of wellness programs at an employee assistance provider company, ComPsych, talked about why wellness programs work and are necessary:
First, you can’t go wrong if you address employee needs. That’s a great place to start – identify employee pain points and what employees are struggling with. Recent studies have established that wellness programs are both a good perk and sound business strategy. They are known to bring about healthy change, resulting in more productive employees and ultimately better products and services for customers. Wellness programs are no longer just ‘good to have’ benefit but a must have.
According to a recent survey done by Fidelity Investments, as of 2016 “87% of employers offer emotional or mental well-being programs and 76% provide financial health programs. When employers were asked about well-being programs in the future, 67% plan to expand their efforts and an additional 17% plan to maintain at the current level.”
As Brian Marcotte, CEO & President of National Business Group on Health, has said, “We are seeing more companies step up their efforts to integrate financial and emotional well-being, social connectedness, and job satisfaction with their more traditional efforts to support physical health.”
Wellness programs are no longer just about getting exercise and eating healthily. In addition to maintaining physical health, wellness programs also need to foster emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and financial health. Your workplace should have the tools and resources ready to help employees in all aspects of wellness. Not only will your employees be happier and more productive, you will also find that your company sees less absenteeism and spends less on workers’ compensation claims.
For the most sophisticated wellness program, you will need a holistic approach. Try to incorporate the following tips.
1. Give Employees Options
In the past, wellness programs have primarily targeted physical health. Employees were given resources and incentives to improve physical exercise and fitness, eat right, and quit unhealthy habits. But today, it is vital to address other kinds of health too. Provide programs that foster emotional and mental health, assist with financial planning and understanding, help employees relieve stress – all of these and more will give your employees the diverse options they need to stay health inside and out.
Kaushal Pethe talked about the importance of providing options for your employees:
The aim is to look at the whole employee, physical, mental, and emotional health, and not just focus on the need to lose weight, for instance. And when employees are given choices, they feel more invested because they can choose what feels good and is important to them,” This holistic approach also makes the employee feel that his or her employer cares about them as a person, and is not just trying to improve their health for cost purposes.
Last year, surveys found that “81% of employees received at least some amount of incentives, up from 73% in 2014. The percent of employees receiving incentives steadily increased as employers expand well-being programs to appeal to additional elements of overall well-being, as well as provide employees with more ways to earn incentives.”
However, companies “are moving away from outcomes-based incentives as one way to encourage employees to participate. The number of employers utilizing outcomes-based incentives is expected to drop from 44% in 2015 to 24% in 2016.”
Instead of rewarding employees for achieving certain outcomes, reward them for participating. Incentives can come in a variety of forms, and they should be achievable in more than one way.
3. On-site Massage Therapy
In 2015, the Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey in which they found that 11% of respondents said they offer on-site massage therapy, which ties in with overall health and wellness. Massage therapy is a valuable alternative to workers’ compensation claims and doctor visits. If your employees have chronic pain or pain due to injury, massage and deep tissue treatment can help reduce or eliminate the pain.
DORN provides on-site deep tissue treatment therapy in a series of thirty-minute sessions. DORN also teaches employees stretching techniques and provides 15-minute injury prevention sessions to help prevent muscular pain and discomfort.
4. Financial Health
In addition to physical, nutritional, emotional, and mental health, another key area that employees often need help with is their financial health. According to Fidelity, “73% of companies surveyed offer on-site financial seminars, and 59% make a financial coach available to employees.” Consider adding a financial program to your company.
A good financial wellness program should address the needs of all kind of employees. Be sure to include retirement planning so that employees can be prepared for their future. Also be sure to include student loan repayment assistance – as of 2016 it is offered by 13% of employers, with another 21% planning on adding it in the future.
On top of these tips, keep in mind the concepts described in our previous articles about 2016’s evolving wellness trends. Maintain a positive culture of health; consider using wellbeing technologies; measure your program’s value of investment; and offer wellness programs that foster emotional, spiritual, and social wellbeing.
Wellness in the workplace involves many interconnecting facets. All are important, and by keeping these key ideas in mind, you can develop an ideal workplace wellness culture in your company.