7 Habits of Successful Wellness Programs

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Strength Tek

By Lorne Goldenberg BPE, CSCS, CEP

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Strength Tek receives many requests for information as it pertains to corporate fitness. What makes a great program? What are the components? How do you set it up? Where should the focus be? This article was taken from the web site Career Builder Community. It provides some great information for someone seeking the fundamentals necessary for a great start.

Below are seven standout traits that a vast number of wellness programs share, with examples of how – in people’s own words – companies’ employee wellness programs embody these traits.

1. They Don’t Focus Solely on Weight Loss

  • “Our approach to exercise is very ‘functional,’ meaning it’s not intended to help you ‘look’ a certain way but to help you feel better all the time and to do your job, at work or at home, with energy, full range of motion and injury-free.” – Dave Parmly
  • “Pressley Ridge believes wellness goes beyond the typical medical and stress concerns, but also into mental and personal growth as well. That is why Pressley Ridge offers Employee an Assistance Program at no cost to employees. This is a confidential assistance to employees and dependents 24 hours/day on a toll-free number and face-to-face professional counseling sessions and access to their website with a wide range of tools, resources and information. “ – Phillip Novak
  • “My organization promotes wellness through Farmer’s Markets, healthy competition (Like the Biggest Loser), smoking cessation programs which are no cost and they cover any cessation programs like the patch, gum and lozenge. Additionally, they promote a healthy mind through increased awareness and programs. There is an entire website through the company that is dedicated to healthy mind, body and habits.” – Raina

2. They Have Buy-In from Leadership

  • “Our company gives a very generous discount on the cost of our benefits for employees who participate in the wellness program…But perhaps the most important thing our company does to promote the wellness program is that is it embraced by our CEO and senior leaders within the company. Wellness is not viewed as an ‘HR initiative’ but as a core part of who we are as a company.” – Noreen
  • “We have partnered with a local gym and our Senior Leaders are on board. We are trying to get as much employee participation as possible, to let them know that we care about their healthy work environment!” – Tori Hinote
  • “Our CEO understands the importance of weight loss and healthy weight maintenance to offset the costs associated with healthcare – both now and in the future.” – Donna Cornwell

3. Employees Are Never Far From Resources

  • “We have an onsite fitness center with a trainer that provides continuous fitness challenges, boot camps, etc. We also have a physician’s assistant who works on site full time so we have immediate access to the seasonal ailments and we have our prescriptions delivered to the office.” – Janet J.
  • “Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider conducts voluntary annual blood draws onsite at our headquarters. They also arrange for branch associates to visit their local lab to have the screenings performed.” – Recruiter
  • “Our company provides free access to on-site exercise facilities. We also provide access to education on exercise, diet, cooking, lifestyle and behavior modification (including a stop smoking program).” – Mark

4. They Sweeten the Deal with Incentives

  • “We offer a Creating Wellness Program to employees…Those who participate for 6 months then receive $25/month in wellness bucks (for gym memberships, yoga, Pilates, etc.) as a reward for continued involvement.” – Rick Thompson
  • “Recently, we sponsored an 8 week fitness challenge and gave away an Ipod Touch for the winner… This year, our grand prize drawing will be for either a gym membership, Fitness equipment or a Nintendo WII with WII ACTIVE.” – Jenny
  • “Each quarter employees are asked to set a Health Improvement Goal. We pay them $50/Qtr for meeting their goal…We have had tremendous success with this approach.” – Kimberly
  • “Our company has a $300 wellness credit toward health insurance premiums for non-smokers and then provides programs for employees to quit smoking.” – Ally

5. They’re Not Limited By Smaller Budgets

  • “We have researched local ‘healthy’ vendors such as local gyms, Jamba Juice, Whole Foods, etc. and invited them to come onsite to talk about their products. It’s been working out great and it’s no cost to the company!” – Stefan
  • “Although our wellness budget was reduced to ZERO this year, we continue to come up with new and interesting wellness initiatives… We are even offering cost-effective prizes, like jean days and premier parking!” – Holly
  • “Our company just started our official ‘Steps to Wellness’ Program… The employees complete a “scorecard” with several tasks and turn the completed card in for a chance at a “Day Off With Pay”. The more staff who enter, the more days off we will raffle.” – Sue K
  • “We have…raised funds to assist with our program by producing a cookbook that we sold.” – Mary Wicker
  • “One really fun wellness initiative that my company implemented is building an employee vegetable garden…We just started the garden project this year and participation has been huge. This is a really fun project and is relatively inexpensive!” – Kathryn

6. They Assign Measurement to Gauge Success

  • “We work with our insurance carrier to hold an annual health fair each year that consists of blood work for a variety of areas and each employee is given the results that day. The results are discussed with health coaches from our insurance carrier and given advice as to how to improve results in any areas that reflect a health issue. These statistics are used to determine where we need to concentrate our efforts to best improve the wellness of our employees…Since we have implemented the program our data from the health screenings have shown improvement each year which in turn helps to keep our health insurance cost down.” – Mary Wicker
  • “In the year 2009 our corporate headquarters developed a 3 component program to get the employees premium costs down and in the long run, help them develop healthy life habits… This year the Myers Lawn and Garden site is conducting their 2nd annual health fair since the first one in August of 2009 was so successful…Employee participation is growing and the savings are too for both the employee and the company.” – Lee Herman
  • “The goal is overall health of our employees. If we can prove that we have lowered healthcare costs and possibly insurance premiums for our employees, because of healthier lifestyles, we have been successful!” – Tori Hinote

7. They Empower Employees

  • “The company promoted wellness with the staff by also ‘promoting’ US…For example, I had always wanted to be a nutrition education writer, a secret desire of mine…The company decided to start putting out a monthly newsletter in the club for our members and not only was I asked to be a columnist, but I was asked to be the editor as well. Our whole staff took part in the newsletter, writing about their known specialty in the field. This tactic was most rewarding for me, as I had the chance to really reach a long time goal of mine. This made me feel like I was on top of the world, how do you get more ‘well’ than that?” – Renee S.
  • “List Innovative Solutions is extremely active in the community…and encourages its employees to do the same by sponsoring the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training Program…this allows our employees to be active and also give back at the same time.” – Jennifer Bonner
  • We encourage all employees to offer ideas on the ‘Healthy Life’ bulletin board so everyone gets a chance to bring something to the table!” – Dustin Shay

It’s great to see how many organizations take an active interest in their employees’ health – not just for employees, but for the companies themselves, as wellness programs can help employers cut costs related to healthcare, turnover and lost production.

Strength Tek can help you company realize a program that suits your needs. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!