Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of companies that offer employee wellness programs. Designed to help employees realize their best selves and promote a stronger workplace, these programs are created with mental, physical, and financial wellness in mind.
Employee wellness programs have continued to grow, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Companies that put these programs in place recognize that their employees are their most important assets, and they want workers to perform optimally, not only for the company but also for themselves.
What Are Employee Wellness Programs?
Employee wellness programs aim to improve the health of the employee in a variety of ways. These programs may seek to reduce stress, encourage physical fitness, or recognize that employees need time for other responsibilities such as children and family.
A few of the most common employee wellness programs offered by employers include:
- Flexible working hours
- Remote work
- Financial education or financial planning services
- Unlimited vacation time
- Bonuses for meeting certain company goals
- On-site fitness center or paid gym memberships
- Paid time off to volunteer
- Access to counseling services
While these are just a few examples, there are numerous others. The common denominator is that the company seeks to attract and retain employees by offering benefits intended to improve happiness, physical health, and productivity.
How to Create a Meaningful Employee Wellness Program
A company that’s seeking to improve its appeal to future employees while retaining the ones it already has should design its employee wellness programs to meet certain goals. To start, the company should assess where it sees the most significant wellness issues within its staff.
For example, if a portion of employees are interested in leading a healthier lifestyle, the company might decide to open an on-site gym or offer fitness classes. If there are a lot of employees with young children, it may seek to offer programs that encourage work-life balance.
Here are a few tips for launching a successful employee wellness program.
Set Goals for the Program
The wellness program should be designed with a goal in mind that benefits both employees and the company. Those who decide to take advantage of the program must experience a benefit that improves their ability to work and their personal life.
Make sure to choose a program that’s attractive to a significant portion of the workplace. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that many employees will take advantage of it.
Talk with Employees
It’s impossible to set up a meaningful program without talking to employees to find out what troubles them the most. This helps management to establish a lay of the land. For example, if people complain about not having time to take vacations, the company could create a program that encourages vacation time.
Establish the Plan
Once you’ve decided on an appropriate wellness plan, you’ll need to include it within the company’s benefits package. If assistance from outside the company is required, you’ll need to work with specific vendors or individuals to fully establish the plan.
For example, if you want to create opportunities for physical activity, you could work with local gyms to provide memberships to your employees, or you may build an on-site gym for your workforce to use.
Make sure that employees are fully aware of the plan and what they need to do to participate in it. Employee confusion and lack of knowledge can lead to fewer people joining the program.
What Should You Include in an Employee Wellness Program?
Just about anything can be included in an employee wellness program, as long as it benefits your employees and the company. There are all kinds of wellness programs available. Some companies design programs that cater to their employees specifically, which can lead to better employee retention and participation.
Other companies prefer a cookie-cutter approach, which involves examining the wellness programs of other businesses in the area and offering similar plans.
While this can be a way of competing effectively in the market for new hires, you’re likely better off considering the needs of your current employees. In doing so, you can make your employee wellness plan a more effective tool for retaining workers.
Improve the Workplace with an Employee Wellness Program
Establishing an employee wellness plan is a great way to improve your employees’ contentment and encourage a happier workplace. It’s also a win for the company, as meaningful employee wellness programs tend to attract better talent and provide for greater employee retention and productivity.
As you design your employee wellness plan, make sure to consider both the needs of your employees and the needs of the business. When you’re ready to take the next steps, let’s chat about how you can build a robust wellness and benefits offering into your employee benefits plan.