Wellness programmes are now more relevant than ever in the organisational world. Those professionals involved in looking after employees such as Human Resources, Occupational Health and Welfare officers are very concerned about the health risk factors emerging at work and at same time they are looking at ways to take action efficiently.
We now have concrete research that tells us why Wellness programmes are a good option to improve organisational performance, starting with a ROI ( return on investment) by cutting costs in absenteeism and ill-health. However the benefits are much wider than just looking at the financial side. If you take into consideration engaging potentially disengaged staff and raise motivation levels this is a clear win win proposition to any organisation.
Take the following steps to implement your wellness programme effectively:
- Come up with a great branding name for the programme and get buy-in from the management in your organisation. A clear association with wellness such as BWell or BActive, BHealthy leaves no-one with doubts about the message behind it. Then engage your senior management from the start, they will encourage participation as leaders. Therefore there is a reflection on the direction of where you are going with the programme.
- Make sure that you know your organisational issues and have a clear vision how to help your employees. The wellness programme is not about ticking a box, is about helping creating a better working environment where everyone benefits from. Get a clear picture about your employee’s data including absence figures, reasons, most common causes, most prevalent months, and any demographics that you can access. There are a number of tools out there that can you help you understand your workforce before making costly mistakes by implement something that is not relevant to them.
- Communicate your plans first, in order to maximise the engagement levels you must raise the awareness about it. Get people excited about the wellness programme, perhaps create incentives for participation or link it to your benefits strategy encouraging your employees to talk about it. There are many ways to engage, however bear in mind that everyone is different and you are working against people’s perceptions and personal beliefs.
- Implement your wellness on a future date ( i.e. in 3 months time), this will enable you to get more time to plan, implement other activities to support the programme launch and make sure that everyone in the organisation knows about what is going to happen. A great way to raise awareness about health and wellbeing is focusing on one or two subjects to generate interest. Create a wellness days, ask your employees to help you get posters up and encourage them to take ownership about the initiative.
- Launch your wellness programme on a planned and agreed date. Make sure you create a buzz about it, get people on board and ask them what they like or dislike about it. Give the impression that the programme is really important…in fact it is, so the employees of your organisation. Explain to your employees, why the wellness programmes exists….what you are trying to achieve.
- Finally have clear desired outcomes, i.e. reduce absenteeism in the winter months by 10 % or improve physical activity participation levels by 30%. Also monitor and evaluate as you go along, if the programme is two or three months in length it makes sense to not only review in the end but constantly reassess (another great opportunity to engage and involve employees).
Complete the process by planning ahead, review engagement figures, measurable outcomes, indices of satisfaction and sustainability in order to prepare your next wellness programme. If you want results you must let the time take its course, learn lessons from this wellness programme experience, make it better next time.
Don’t forget that employees are at the heart of the programme, therefore they should also be at the heart of the evaluation, monitoring and planning for the next one.
Good luck with your wellness programme
Joao Bocas – Chief Resilience Officer & CEO at Sports13