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10 Fundamentals of a Sensational Wellness Program

by Vita, on July 25, 2016


Wellness remains a hot topic among employers large and small. A successful Wellness Program can help control healthcare expenses, curb absenteeism (and presenteeism), strengthen culture, and invigorate your workforce. Here are the 10 fundamentals of a sensational Wellness Program that will engage your team and inspire positive habits: 

1. Top Level Support
In order to have a successful Wellness Program, you must have Executive level buy-in and participation. If the program is not important to your executives, it will not be important for your employees. Seeing the boss attempting Crow Pose at the weekly yoga class inspires the team to join in the fun!

2. Have a Wellness Champion
While you should have a dedicated Wellness Team to design and implement initiatives, you need one Wellness Champion who is ultimately accountable for the program and will report to the Executive Team. The Wellness Champion helps keep the program's activities on schedule and act as liason between your company and any third-party vendors.  

3. Understand Your Culture
Knowing your culture will help you target the real issues in your company and how you want to design and implement your Wellness Program. Younger and more active teams might enjoy a larger selection of physical activities, while more senior teams might prefer a variety of behavioral and self-reflective challenges. A broad mix of offerings should appeal to most workforces. 

4. Keep it Fresh!
Even the healthiest and “most well” employee will stray. It’s vital that you keep your employees engaged on an ongoing basis. Try to keep things fresh with a variety of wellness activites to appeal to a variety of lifestyles. A blend of monthly challenges (like no sweets for a month or go to bed at the same time for a month), fitness classes, wellness lectures, and healthy cooking resources will ensure your team stays engaged. Don't forget about mental health too! Music, art, reading, and even our pets encourage a positive mindset. 

5. Communication is Key
Communicate, communicate, communicate! In order for your program to be successful, you need to be regularly communicating to your employees about the Wellness Program. Don’t be afraid to use different media to keep it interesting! A weekly internal email blast, newsletters, posters, digital signage, table tents, and a dedicated internal website are all effective ways to keep your team informed. 

6. Have a Budget
You can’t build an effective Wellness Program without knowing your budget. When building your budget, don’t forget to consider not only your hard costs such as software, third party vendors, communication pieces, and incentives, but also your soft costs. Building and maintaining a successful Wellness Program takes a significant amount of ongoing internal time and resources.

7. Incentives
Play with your incentives! Believe it or not, there are alternatives to a financial incentive that can be within your budget. Consider gift cards, company SWAG, time-off, free lunch, and medical premium discounts.

8. Stay in Compliance
Wellness Programs fall under two categories: Participatory and Health Contingent. Simply put, a Participatory program is completely voluntary and an employee does not need to meet any specific criteria to be eligible for the incentive. A Health Contingent program requires an employee to maintain a specific health standard to be eligible for the incentive. It’s important to know which type of program your company offers as it determines many of your compliance requirements.

9. Confidentiality
Any reporting must be completely non-identifiable as employees need to be confident that their data is being held in confidence.

10. Tracking and Measurement
If you don’t know where you started, how will you know how far you’ve gone? Establishing a baseline for your Wellness Program is critical for determining any type of measurable improvement. The two most common ways an employer establishes a baseline is through a Health Risk Assessment and/or a biometric screening.

Have questions about designing your company's Wellness Program? Email us at!