How to Launch a Successful Health and Wellness Program: Keeping it an Investment, not an Expense!

Is your health and wellness program a drain on resources or is it a value adding benefit?
Written by: Alex Weber, Founder/CEO AxelStrat

 Photo Credit:  @hudsonhintze   How can you quantify a successful health and wellness program? Finding a balance between program individualization and cost can get the best out of your employees and maximize your ROI.

Photo Credit: @hudsonhintze

How can you quantify a successful health and wellness program? Finding a balance between program individualization and cost can get the best out of your employees and maximize your ROI.

Health and wellness has always been a passion of mine and I unequivocally believe a healthy organization is a happy organization! Investing in the personal wellbeing of an employee will directly carry over to higher productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. That's why as an organization, it is important to offer a health and wellness program as an additional benefit for your employees--especially if health insurance is not offered. Below is a step by step process that I have found beneficial for how you can introduce an organizational health and wellness program that is accepted by your employees, promotes an organizational culture aligned with the company vision, and can be measured for its effectiveness and ensure a positive return on investment (ROI).

Step 1: Wellness Program and Vision Alignment

So you want to offer your employees a Health and Wellness program. Great! Now what? Just like how you started your company, it starts with the vision. Find your company's mission statement that you have jotted down on a sticky note that is under stacks of old paperwork and develop a program with activities that supports your organizational values and objectives.

Step 2: Program Activity Selection

Depending on the size of your organization, you'll need to settle on a program that has the capacity to support your employees' health goals that is effective and also cost effective. Start with activities that the leadership of the organization value. Some Ideas include:

  1. Team Oriented Activities - Beach Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer, Kickball, Softball, Football, etc...

  2. Individual Oriented Activities - Rock Climbing (Personal favorite), Spin Classes/Biking Groups, Yoga, Hiking Groups

If you have trouble finding an activity, don't be afraid to ask your employees what interests them! Not only is this a great way to research program ideas, but it also gives you the opportunity as a leader to collaborate with your team and build trust, loyalty, and respect. Some of these choices will be more suitable than others depending on your geographical location (Beach volleyball in Wisconsin in January; NOPE!) Another good way get ideas is to explore what other organizations are doing for their programs.

Step 3: Program Implementation

Once you have picked your program activities, it is important to generate excitement and support from the entire organization. To ensure a successful program execution, the leadership needs to unveil the program and its benefits to the team through the organization's communication channels. Lack of leadership support will handicap execution efforts and will decrease the chance of the program's success.  

Step 4: Program Capitalization

Once the program is successfully launched it is important to develop a metric that allows you to measure the program success rate that is incorporated in your organization's Balanced Score Card or management performance evaluation framework. Running activity reports that are generated by the facility which holds the activity or a simple sign up sheet can act as one of the program's metrics to measure the overall usage. In order to measure employee or team effectiveness, a simple survey with key employee wellness questions with a numerical value can be administered at the time of program sign up and subsequently re-evaluated quarterly or per management performance framework.

Step 5: Program Maintenance and Continuous Improvement

It's important to keep up with the program after the successful launch. Setting and forgetting would hinder the chances of success for the program. Finding ways to improve or modify the program by actively asking your employees in a simple and direct way to find out how to optimize the program and keep it running at its best. 

Here are a few links to help continue your Health and Wellness research:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2017/10/03/the-role-managers-play-in-shaping-employee-well-being/#37b0d80d79ed

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2016/04/21/8-things-you-need-to-know-about-employee-wellness-programs/#2555abe640a3

https://www.livestrong.com/article/344920-examples-of-companies-wellness-programs/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/148779-the-best-incentives-for-wellness-programs/

https://www.wellsteps.com/blog/2017/01/10/employee-wellness-program-ideas/

If you or know someone who would find this vaulable, please like and share! Here's to your organizational health for 2018! Cheers!