The Employee Engagement Network

Wellness programs don’t need to break the bank

By guest author: Loszach Report

While the concept of corporate wellness programs has grown in popularity over the last number of years, most employers are hesitant to make an investment of their own because of two primary factors: a lack of proven ROI data, and a belief that wellness programs are too expensive. Well, the evidencefor return on investment has been demonstrated, but there is still a pervasive myth that wellness programs must be expensive to be effective. The truth is that a wellness program doesn’t have to break the bank to create tangible results.

With the right knowledge and tools, any employer of a business large or small can create a wellness program that reduces costs and improves the workplace culture. The first and most critical action to take is collecting data about the workplace, through a diagnostic or assessment of the entire workplace. This means going beyond the typical health risk assessment or employee focus group, and truly delving into all of the factors that affect employee productivity on a day to day basis. The issues driving productivity and insurance costs in a company can be related to lifestyle choices, the physical and emotional health issues of the workforce, as well as organizational factors such as internal communication and workload.

Collecting data and insights about the workplace prior to implementing a wellness program seems like common sense, yet it is far too often neglected. If any employer wants a wellness program that creates return on investment, they need to focus on resolving issues that are costing the company money and time. A number of companies offer cost-effective workplace diagnostics, making the data collection process an inexpensive action that yields high returns. 

After collecting data about the common health problems in the company, as well as feedback from employees about what they want and need to be more productive at work, priorities need to be set. In a small or mid-size company, it’s probably best to focus on three to five efforts and really make them work, rather than trying to offer a dozen different components in the wellness program. This will be less costly, will take less time to plan, will reduce risk and ensure that the offerings are sufficiently thought-out and managed.

The results of the workplace assessment will identify the health and wellness issues that are creating the most costs for the company; the solutions implemented should seek to reduce their effect and prevent them in the future. The problems identified will probably not be limited to one specific type, such as emotional issues or lifestyle choices, but they usually turn out to be more interconnected than they appear at first glance. For instance, depression and stress have a direct correlation to physical activity and nutrition.

The key thing to bear in mind when determining solutions for the wellness problems is to think preventative...

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Tags: cost, investment, low, on, programs, return, wellness, workplace

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