Maybe your company has 70 employees with a mean employee age of 32, and the biggest health concern is migraine headaches or acid reflux. Maybe your company has 300 employees with a mean age of 55, and the biggest health concerns are high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
In addition to health statistics, companies differ in composition of employees, company objectives and work environment, so it is unlikely that one cookie-cutter corporate wellness program would be effective in every setting. However, creating a customized, effective and sustainable program may seem daunting.
To ensure optimal success, let’s talk about some steps to take well before your program launches.
Ask your employees what they want. Through surveys, health risk assessments and focus groups, you can gauge overall interest and see what the biggest needs are for your employees and their health, as well. You want to create programs that focus on total wellbeing, not just physical wellbeing, so be sure to ask questions about nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep and smoking. Ask open-ended questions to get the most useful responses. Use the responses to create a set of company wellness goals.
Design a customized plan for your employees. Use the data you gathered to create a program targeted at the needs of your employees. If this is your inaugural program, create a program with fewer elements that addresses the largest amount of employee needs. If a program exists, use the data to further customize what you already have in place.
Utilize your resources. With the data results in mind, mobilize appropriate resources. What is available onsite? What partnerships can you make to provide needed services? What is your wellness budget and what is the most reasonable way to spend these funds? Beware of complicating the program by trying to use too many resources simultaneously, especially if they do not align with the company wellness goals.
Create a marketing schedule to roll out the program. A wellness program cannot be effective if employees do not know about it. To ensure this does not happen at your organization, create marketing materials outlining the program specifics. Spend a few weeks getting the employees excited about the program before it launches. Make announcements at staff meetings, hang flyers in break rooms and bathrooms, include information in the employee newsletter, and send a companywide email blast. Hold a kick-off event to introduce employees to the new or revamped wellness program, where you can explain the program and have people around to answer questions and enroll employees.
This is the best time of year to start thinking about employee wellness. Summer is a tough time to start any new programming but it is the perfect time to gather data and plan for a big launch in the fall. These four steps will help you create a program that best suites the interests and needs of your employees.
Laura Greenhow is the founder of Summerfield Custom Wellness, a Wilmington-based nutrition firm counseling employees toward a shift in health-consciousness.She and her team facilitate programs wherein healthy choices begin to come automatically and are aligned with what the body needs.They see individuals and also work with companies ranging from five to 5,000 employees as they strive for a healthier workforce and a healthier Wilmington.Laura holds a master’s degree in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill, with clinical rotations that included New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Learn more at www.summerfieldcustomwellness.com or call (910) 663-5166.