Do All Companies Need a Wellness Program?
Friday, September 21, 2018
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Joe Spallina, Vice President of Employee Benefits, Assurance
Wellness is a commonly used term in today’s employee benefits world. When faced with the question, “does your company offer some wellness program?”, it’s common for most employers to give a “yes” or “no, but we would like to have one.”
So, what keeps an employer from not starting a wellness program?
Typically, an employer won’t start a wellness program if they don’t have enough employee resources, time or a large enough budget. Often, I’ll also hear that the employees at the company don’t necessarily care about a wellness program.
Wellness programs don’t have to be extremely expensive or sophisticated to be effective. Many of the best employer wellness programs that exist have started small and with a limited budget. The principal reason to provide an employer wellness program should be to help the employees, and the overall company to lead healthier and more productive lives.
We’ve found that it’s better to start smaller when creating a wellness program and continuously build onto your program over a multi-year planning strategy. At the beginning of your wellness program, it may be helpful to start with an informational based program. This informational program can include topics like wellness, what employees can do to stay healthy and how wellness can positively influence productivity.
Another way to measure the success of a wellness program is by implementing some form of a wellness biometric screening. These screenings can help an employer measure the overall health of the company, and also measure where the company is having wellness difficulties.
The information that’s gathered from a wellness biometric screening can help employers shape what type of programs they may want to add to help improve their results. For example, if the results show the employer that the level of obesity within the company is higher than average, the employer may wish to start including fitness challenges to help obtain better results. Also, if smoking is a big issue for your company, it may be best to consider using a smoking cessation program to help the employees who are looking to quit.
The bottom line is this: when an employer can get 85% of employees or more to participate in the biometric screenings, not only do the employees benefit by getting their results, but the employer also benefits by getting the aggregate results of the company. The total results are significant as it gives employers a look into where their future risks/claims may originate. Many more employees are now viewing their employee wellness program as a real benefit.
Overall, it’s important to remember that there are many paths when starting a wellness program. The key to creating a wellness program is simple: you must commit and not put it off. When you begin your plan, you can do it gradually so that the program can build with what works best for the employees. Any form of a wellness program is better than not having one at all.