Keys to a Successful Workplace Health Program

According to a report penned by RAND Health, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the prevalence of lifestyle diseases has increased over the last few decades. Lifestyle diseases are health issues brought on by daily life choices, such as being inactive, smoking, drinking in excess and eating a poor diet. By continuously engaging in these unhealthy decisions, people are at a greater risk for developing more serious conditions, such as diabetes and cancer. In an effort to combat this and improve the health of employees, many companies now have a workplace health and wellness program.

Such programs empower employees to make smart lifestyle choices both at work and at home. Additionally, when your employees are happy and healthy, they can contribute more energy and focus to the success of your company. That means taking fewer sick days, increased morale and fewer disability claims. So, if you want to have a successful workplace health and wellness program, then try these steps:

Preliminary Planning

When you begin work on your health and wellness program, you should do some background research. From identifying goals to deciding your company's needs, preliminary planning helps ensure your program gets started on the right track. Here are some considerations you should make from the get-go:

Needs: Observe your office, the people who work there and your company culture to determine what needs are present. For instance, do employees not know much information about your company's health benefits? Do they require incentive to get active? You can create surveys for everyone to take that identify needs in the areas of health and well-being.

Objectives: What do you want your program to accomplish? Define a clear objective for your health and wellness program and include goals that will help you achieve that overarching dream. You might want to get employees to be more physically active, for instance, and arrive at that goal by starting a company sports team or offering discounted gym memberships.

Tone: Know the tone of your program. It could be optimistic and fun or serious. Adjust the tone of the program to match your existing company culture.

Establish a Committee and Detailed Plan

With meta planning out of the way, you can work on the details of your program. Basically, preliminary planning is an outline and now you need the actual plan. What will you do to achieve the goals you initially set? How will you meet the needs of your employees?

Many companies form a committee that spearheads program development. This committee should consist of employees from various ranks throughout the company. Additionally, start gathering materials you'll need, such as eLearning courseware and informational handouts. Plan events and initiatives that pertain to your program, such as group training, health competitions and company outings, all of which center on healthy living. Finally, gather resources that can help you make program decisions.

Creating a viable and effective workplace health program takes time and attention to detail. You need the right messaging and delivery to fully engage your staff and build a wellness culture you can be proud of.

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