This paper looks at the development and operations of corporate wellness programs. Since employees typically spend eight or more hours a day in the office, employers can leverage that time to promote better health. Worksite wellness programs can reduce health care spending by promoting healthy behaviors that reduce health risks in high-risk individuals and keep low-risk people healthy. Programs vary in scope, depending on an organization’s size. This paper concludes that an appropriately designed and administered wellness program is an excellent way for companies to show employees that they care while improving the overall physical and mental health of the organization.
Designing and establishing a wellness program involves several steps and decisions. Securing the support of top management is essential. Any meaningful change must come from the top. The executive team should define the goals of the program. For many organizations, this could mean reducing health care cost. Maybe there is high absenteeism or perhaps the company’s current culture encourages unhealthy behavior.
The next step is to decide on a level of intensity for the program. A clear statement of corporate philosophy in health and wellness is very important. If high productivity is most important, then a wellness program might seek to address absenteeism first, by starting with safety education, stress management, or chronic disease management. If company philosophy emphasizes loyalty and retention, then programs that offer long-term lifestyle education for employees and their families might work best. This is when the company must select the programs they wish to include in their health activities and determine what resources they are willing to devote to the program. The amount of a company's investment in terms of management, personnel, physical space, employee time and financial resources is a major consideration. In order to have employee feedback the company should create a wellness program task force comprised of a cross-functional group of management and employees to oversee the establishment of a program.
The initial task of the task force is data gathering. This task works best if assigned to a particular person or a subcommittee. Working within prescribed deadlines, this person or committee should check records regarding insurance claims, health benefits use, absenteeism, and other relevant factors.
A survey of employees and management is the best way to learn of employee interest, desire to participate and perceived needs. Surveys should collect information on employee preferences and interest. Company management and key decision-makers in the company must be interested and involved in the wellness program to make it successful. Wellness activities need to...