Workplace Wellness

How Do You Create Corporate Wellness Plans that Work?

Written by Kate

Many companies understand that their employees are their most valuable assets. However, the demands and pressures of the modern workplace can take a toll on the workforce. It’s no secret that most employees are experiencing some degree of burnout, leading to lower productivity levels and a decline in motivation. 

As companies are becoming more aware of modern-day workplace struggles, they are looking for ways to create a work environment that not only attracts top talent but also promotes their physical and mental health. 

That’s where the corporate wellness plans come in. They employ a carefully designed framework that takes a holistic approach to support the overall health of your employees. 

In this article, we’ll explore how you can build a corporate wellness plan that works.

Happy and productive team - corporate wellness plan

Corporate Wellness Plans: Building a Healthy, Thriving, and Resilient Workforce

American work culture is notorious for prioritizing productivity over personal well-being. Ironically, any compromise in your well-being, be it mental health or physical wellness, directly impacts your work quality. And thus, we find ourselves facing a health crisis. 

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, physical inactivity contributes to 6% of the global burden of disease from coronary heart disease, 7% of type 2 diabetes cases, and 10% of breast and colon cancers. Yet, our sedentary lifestyle and easy access to unhealthy food persist and continue to make the situation worse. 

Facing increasing burnout, employees are increasingly reassessing their priorities lately. They want to be a part of a work culture that encourages breaks, promotes mental health support, and understands that a happy and healthy workforce is a more productive one.Shifting the focus to a health-first work culture is not just beneficial for employees. Employers also have an interest, as the cost of ignoring employee health is far greater than one might think. In 2018 alone, poor employee healthcare cost employers $530 billion in losses. That’s where corporate wellness comes into play.

Defining Wellness: What It Means in the Modern World

To understand the essence of employee wellness programs, it is vital first to delve into what wellness means in the modern world. Normally, people think of wellness as a state where one doesn’t have chronic diseases and is physically well.

However, health and wellness go well beyond that. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It includes a holistic approach to life that includes a balance between work and personal life, mental and emotional well-being, and positive lifestyle habits.

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness

Wellness and personal health are not monolithic concepts. Here are the seven key dimensions that impact an individual’s overall well-being:

1. Physical Wellness

Physical wellness is all about taking care of your body by recognizing its needs for regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep. It also involves ditching unhealthy habits, managing chronic conditions, and seeking medical care when needed.

2. Mental & Emotional Wellness

Life can get stressful and throw demands and setbacks your way. Your ability to nurture a positive mindset, manage stress effectively, and maintain emotional well-being is what mental wellness consists of. 

3. Intellectual Wellness

When you learn new things, expand your knowledge, and challenge yourself, you build confidence and self-worth. You can boost your intellectual wellness by engaging in lifelong learning, expanding knowledge, and stimulating intellectual curiosity.

4. Social Wellness

Strong relationships and a community can make life more fulfilling. Social wellness is all about fostering healthy relationships, connections, and a sense of belonging. 

5. Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness focuses on finding your inner peace and purpose and connecting with something larger than oneself. Be it through meditation or prayer, it includes exploring personal beliefs, values, and principles and seeking spiritual growth and fulfillment.

6. Occupational Wellness

Finding satisfaction and fulfillment in your work defines occupational wellness. Factors like work-life balance, alignment of career goals, and a sense of purpose also impact it.

7. Environmental Wellness

A clean, safe, and sustainable environment where you can feel happy and motivated is environmental wellness. It also involves promoting eco-friendly practices and building a connection with the natural world.

What is a Corporate Wellness Plan?

Corporate wellness plans offer much more than bare-minimum employee healthcare benefits. They provide a framework to implement numerous activities and initiatives aimed at improving employee health. They promote healthy habits among employees while building a culture of health in the workplace. The idea is not only to improve health outcomes, but also strengthen employee engagement, productivity, focus at work, and improve retention efforts. 

Many corporate wellness plans offer resources and encouragement for employees to make healthier lifestyle choices, both within and outside of work. They also show that the company values, appreciates, and cares for its employees. When implemented well, employee wellness plans can be a secret ingredient in a recipe for a company’s success.

What is Included in a Corporate Wellness Plan?

A robust corporate wellness plan typically includes the following:

Health Screenings

Most corporate wellness plans will include some kind of initial health assessments, such as health risk assessments and biometric screenings to evaluate employees’ overall health status.  By analyzing the results, employers can tailor their wellness offerings to offer more personalized support to help employees achieve their health-related goals, such as helping them lose weight or achieve lifestyle changes.

Fitness Programs & Activities

Including fitness programs and activities as part of your corporate wellness plan can be a great way to counter the sedentary nature of office work and support your employees’ overall well-being. Physical activity helps reduce stress, improve mood, and increase focus and cognitive function.

On-site fitness classes, such as yoga, pilates, or strength training, by bringing in qualified instructors are in high demand. If you have remote or geographically distributed teams, you can also introduce virtual fitness sessions or fitness challenges. Many employers incorporate incentives to encourage employees to make the most of these fitness activities.

Stress Management Activities

Stress is everyone’s unwelcome companion today. Encouraging employees to take short breaks and partake in de-stressing activities can help prevent employee burnout. Adopt an office culture that allows employees to recharge, refocus, and improve work-life balance.

From mindfulness and meditation sessions to yoga and stretching exercises, introduce activities that relieve stress and tension. You can also provide access to mindfulness apps that employees can use in their own time.

wellness plans with mental health counseling

Resources for Healthy Eating and Nutrition

Good nutrition can greatly improve energy levels, enhance focus, and improve overall well-being. Research continually shows that food directly impacts our cognitive performance.

You can offer your staff free resources to inspire and educate them about healthy eating choices, such as informative newsletters, workshops, or access to digital platforms that offer practical tips and recipes. Incorporating healthy food options in your workplace cafeteria can foster a culture of wellness within your organization.

Flexible Working Schedule

In contrast to rigid 9 to 5 workdays, flexible work schedules empower employees to take control of their work-life balance. Be it family obligations, parenting responsibilities, or educational commitments, flexible hours can better accommodate employees’ diverse needs. 

For instance, Raytheon Technologies recognized the need for work-life balance by introducing a “modified workweek”. Now employees can work the days and hours that best fit their schedules, as long as they total of 80 hours per bi-weekly pay period.

Here is what you can do to introduce flexibility in your work schedules:

  • No fixed check-in time at the office. Instead, offer flexible log-in and log-out times.
  • Compressed work weeks or a 4-day work week. 
  • Remote working

Such initiatives in employee wellness plans will help relieve the team’s stress as they can prioritize personal commitments while still meeting their professional obligations.

Financial Education

Employee well-being isn’t just limited to physical and mental health. Financial wellness can also have a profound impact on your employees’ lives. Managing money is not an intuitive skill. Offering financial literacy to your employees can help them alleviate financial stress and plan their present and future better. 

If you’re wondering how financial education assistance can help the company, it’s simple and direct. Your employees can’t engage at work properly if they have financial woes. 

So equip your staff with the knowledge and skills to make informed financial decisions. You can arrange workshops or seminars on financial topics such as budgeting, saving, investing, debt management, and retirement planning. Or you can invite experts to offer tailored guidance based on employees’ unique financial situations and goals.

Why are Corporate Wellness Plans Important?

According to researchers, companies save $3.27 for every $1 that’s spent on a wellness program because of reduced healthcare costs.

While companies might initially find corporate wellness programs to be expensive to implement and maintain, there are substantial benefits to running them over the long term. 

However, why should employers care if their employees are doing well and practicing wellness?

If your employees are unhealthy, their health challenges will not be restricted to their homes. They bring their health issues to the office, which comes at the cost of distraction, disengagement, and low productivity.

Here are some statistics stating why comprehensive wellness programs are a need of the hour – 

  • 78% of Americans consider their work stressful.
  • 80% of Americans work in jobs that need little or no physical movement. 
  • Chronic health diseases like depression and obesity substantially increase health-related expenses for employers.
  • 80% of people are not motivated to change their health behaviors.

By contrast, good corporate wellness programs can transform workplace environments:

  • According to a report from Aflac, 61% of workers claim they make healthier choices because of the employee wellness programs.
  • 70% of employees who participated in wellness programs reported higher job satisfaction, states another survey.
  • According to research, employees who take part in employee wellness programs are dramatically more productive than those who don’t.
  • Healthy employees are likely to showcase higher rates of engagement and productivity at the workplace.  As a matter of fact, highly engaged employees demonstrate an 81% difference in absenteeism and a 14% difference in productivity.

Moreover, if you want to attract top job candidates, having robust employee wellness programs help. A Virgin HealthMiles and Workforce survey states that 87% of employees consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer.

What are the 5 Steps to Creating a Corporate Wellness Plan That Works?

Assess Your Company’s Needs

Every company and its workforce has a unique set of needs and challenges. For example, a financial development company may not need the basics of financial wellness. But they may be in dire need of stress management programs. So, conduct surveys, interviews, and health risk assessments to gather insights on what wellness topics your employees care about the most and tailor your wellness plan.

Set Clear Goals

Once you gain insights, set clear and measurable objectives for your wellness program. Be it a reduction in employee absenteeism, improvement in overall fitness levels, or a visible boost in morale, note them down to have a clear direction.

Design Diverse Programs

Begin several wellness initiatives that align with different interests and abilities. From fitness classes and nutrition workshops to ergonomic training and on-site mental health therapy, offer options so employees can choose what resonates with them.

If you have a limited budget, you can also implement a weekly or monthly program with rotational activities. For example, every Monday can be healthy cooking demonstrations, while every Thursday can be virtual fitness classes.

Foster Engagement

Introducing employee wellness programs is one thing, but encouraging active participation is a whole other ballgame. Some employees might not feel motivated to participate in corporate wellness initiatives due to time constraints, lack of awareness, limited relevance, or fear of stigma. 

To increase engagement, your team can organize challenges, competitions, or team-building activities that promote healthy behaviors. One of the best ways is to tie the employee wellness program with recognition programs or financial incentives. Moreover, establish a strong communication strategy and engage company leaders to promote the initiatives by example.

engaging corporate wellness plans

Evaluate, Adjust, and Improve

One of the mistakes HR executives make is establishing employee wellness programs and forgetting about their progress. It’s vital to evaluate the effectiveness of your corporate wellness plan regularly. A strong health initiative today might not be relevant next year. Or it might be lacking in quality and not delivering substantial value to employees.

Therefore, use strategies like data analysis, employee feedback, and program metrics to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to the wellness program.

Why Do Some Corporate Wellness Plans Fail?

Creating an employee wellness program is hard work. From balancing priorities to securing a budget, to adopting tailored plans and navigating legal compliance… It’s a tightrope. And when, despite your best efforts, your employee wellness program fails, it can be demoralizing. 

Let’s find out why some wellness programs don’t work:

  • A cookie-cutter approach is easy to implement, but it overlooks the unique needs and interests of employees. If you use a one-size-fits-all employee wellness plan, it wouldn’t serve the aim of addressing your workforce’s diverse wellness goals and preferences and, thus, fizzle out gradually.
  • A successful wellness program needs employee engagement: which means active participation and genuine interest from employees. You can’t see meaningful results if your workforce doesn’t have a spark of excitement.
  • When leadership and managers don’t embrace and embody employee wellness plans, employees don’t feel motivated to indulge in them. 
  • Most of the time, employees are interested in wellness plans but feel lost and disengaged. You should offer helpful tools, educational materials, or expert guidance to keep them engaged. 
  • No one likes a 3-hour long lecture on avocados and Vitamin B. Make your programs fun, friendly, and exciting so employees can enjoy them.

What Makes a Corporate Wellness Plan Successful?

Are you wondering what are the key ingredients that make an employee wellness program successful? Let’s explore:

Leadership Participation

Executives and managers must participate in and embrace the employee wellness program. Their active involvement and visible support set the tone for the entire workforce, and it promotes a culture of health and wellness in the organization.

Customization & Personalization

An employee wellness program that offers diverse activities and initiatives can cater to individual interests and goals. Therefore, a successful and good corporate wellness plan must offer customized plans that motivate employees to participate.

Communication & Engagement

When employees are unaware of an employee wellness plan’s benefits, offerings, and participation opportunities, they lack motivation. Therefore, ensure clear and consistent communication about the program details and keep employees well-informed.

Holistic Approach

A successful employee wellness program ensures an interconnection between physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s only a comprehensive and well-rounded program that can address the overall well-being of employees and keep them happy and productive.

Closing Thoughts

The renowned author Jim Rohn once said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

If organizations help employees take care of their overall well-being, it will act as a catalyst for transforming lives and fostering a thriving and productive work environment. So create a comprehensive wellness program that helps your employees address the various dimensions of wellness. 

A successful employee wellness plan requires time, effort, and meticulous planning. If you wish to take a well-thought-out first step towards creating a thriving and healthy workforce, take IncentFit’s help. We offer inclusive workplace wellness plans that help you create a brighter, healthier future for your organization and your employees.Sign up for a demo with our specialists today and unlock the full potential of your workforce.

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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