How Employers Can Promote Employee Wellness Programs in 2022
With every new year, comes a new opportunity to support your employees. Many organizations are turning to wellness programs as an opportunity to invest in employees’ personal lives so they can bring their best selves to the workplace. Amidst the stress brought on from the global COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on employee health has never been more important. Here are a few ways you can promote an employee wellness program in the workplace in 2022.
Refresher: What Are Workplace Wellness Programs?
A wellness program is designed to improve and promote health and fitness offered through the workplace. Wellness programs can be implemented as a way to help encourage preventative health for employees in multiple areas, including physical, nutritional, and mental health.
Wellness Programs Employers Can Implement in the Workplace
- Group Workout Classes. Group workout classes have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Many have found the concept of working out with others not only encouraging, but fun too. Your company could coordinate group workout classes by picking a nearby studio and gathering a group of employees to go together. This will not only encourage wellness, but team-building too!
- Online Workout Classes. If your employees would feel more comfortable working out from the comfort of their homes, online workout classes may be a great option. Thanks to the pandemic, there are many free online classes available. If the budget allows, your company may even want to look into giving out employee stipends to use toward workout class subscriptions, while encouraging employees to sign up for classes together.
- Friendly Competitions. Friendly competition is always a good way to incentivize employees and continue team-building. Including a few prizes can even make the challenges more motivating and rewarding. Here are a few simple but fun ideas:
- Try a monthly workout challenge. Have employees log how many workouts they did for the month and see who leads the board.
- Do a hydration challenge and keep track of which employee drinks the most water in a month.
- Create a “workout bingo card” where employees have to complete health-related tasks on the card to win prizes.
- Team Lunches. A great way to build a positive company culture is by hosting lunch-ins either at your office, or virtually if you’re still remote. Providing lunch for your employees allows them to unplug and build relationships with their co-workers, leading to a happier workplace.
- Share Healthy Recipes. For nutritional wellness and community-building, encourage employees to share healthy recipe ideas internally. You can compile submissions into an electronic cookbook resource for the whole organization to use.
- Encourage 15-Minute “Wellness Breaks”. Sitting at a desk all day can be mentally and physically taxing on our bodies. Encourage your employees to take 15-minute “wellness breaks” to get up and move around. This could mean taking a quick walk around the building, picking up a book to read, or just taking 15 minutes to unplug away from the computer.
- Mental Health Resources. In addition to promoting physical health, organizations should create an easily-accessible library of mental health resources. These can include free tools such as worksheets, smartphone apps, mental health support groups, or emergency mental health helplines. Employers should also educate their employees on how to access employee assistance programs (EAPs) if they offer them.
How Can BerniePortal Help You Get Started on a Wellness Program?
Managing new programs can seem like a daunting task and you may be asking yourself “where do I even begin?” BerniePortal can help your organization gauge employee interest before implementing your new wellness initiative.
- Surveys. The first step to implementing a wellness program is to ask your employees what type of program would be the most beneficial to them. BerniePortal’s Survey Feature allows HR teams to send out company-wide surveys to solicit feedback. This is a great opportunity to ask your employees how they would like to see wellness promoted within your organization. A wellness program can be a time investment, as well as a financial one, so it’s important to take stock of what your employees want.
- 1:1 meetings. Having one on one time with employees on your team is another valuable opportunity to gain employee feedback. If you are in the early stages of implementing a program, we suggest asking your employees individually what they would like to see. If you have already implemented a program, following up on feedback can be a great indicator of how the program is paying off. Use BerniePortal’s 1:1 feature under the Performance Management tab to spark these conversations.
As always, when a new organization-wide program is implemented, it’s important to stay compliant every step of the way. This may require updating a company culture guide or creating a separate document that includes the logistics of your wellness program. BerniePortal’s Compliance Feature can help you tackle these tasks.
3 Tips for Implementing a Wellness Program
- Develop the program and incentives. There are many different employee wellness strategies you can implement at your workplace. One of the most effective ways of promoting wellness accountability is by helping employees better understand their health plan, especially if it includes benefits such as diet counseling or wellness coaching. Having a health plan representative speak to employees virtually or by phone can be extremely beneficial. Tobacco-use cessation programs are another common wellness initiative many employers have adopted. These programs can be structured in a few ways, but many employers offer flat premium discounts for non-users, creating a financial incentive to quit.
- Implement the wellness strategy. Once a plan has been developed, its success hinges on how well the program is marketed to employees. If employees were involved in the development process, they shouldn’t be surprised when the efforts officially launch. Even so, you will want to communicate your goals and address any misconceptions that may linger. In announcing the program, communicate that the organization’s goal is to improve the culture of health at the office and ensure employees that the efforts are not mandatory. It’s important to emphasize that participation in wellness programs is not required and that the company is always open to suggestions. Ideally, the efforts you’ve chosen will be easy for employees to participate in. They should not extend the workday, but rather be integrated effectively throughout.
- Measure and adjust the program. The evaluation process is key to program success, so you might want to plan for a detailed evaluation that includes multiple assessments.
- Program Assessment: Consider issuing another survey after six to eight weeks of implementing your program to learn if the program needs immediate adjustments.
- Biometric Screening: Six months to one year after implementation could be an appropriate amount of time to complete a biometric screening.
- Cost-Savings Evaluation: After one year, and annually moving forward, evaluate claims data to see if you are moving the needle on insurance costs.
- Engagement Survey: Cost reductions are not the only metrics worth tracking. Six months to one year after implementation, consider issuing an engagement survey to track improvements in employee participation, workplace loyalty, and job satisfaction.
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