Employee Wellness that Actually Works

Nov 01, 2023

Employee Wellness that Actually Works

A successful corporate wellness program can significantly improve employee health, productivity, and overall well-being. 

Several factors are relevant if you want your program to truly work; by “work” I don't just mean a smooth launch, but an actual impact to health and engagement. 

If you’re considering new ways to offer more support or health benefits to employees, or need to revive the ones you’ve already got, consider how you might apply these best practices:

  1. Leadership Support & Participation. ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. A wellness program's success is often tied to the commitment and active involvement of top-level management. When leaders prioritize employee health and well-being, it sets a positive example for the entire organization. Leaders shouldn’t just promote the program, they should participate and share their experience. 
  2. See number 1. No, seriously. It’s so important I need you to read it twice. 
  3. Accessible to All. Your employees are diverse in their health status, level of interest and experience with fitness and nutrition, schedules, and goals, it can feel tough to deliver a program that offers something for everyone but it is possible. This may be accomplished with one core program or you may decide a variety of options fits your culture best. In my group program, we rotate topics based on employee interest and facilitate group challenges that fit the spectrum from the chip-loving couch potato who wants to walk more to the organic produce-only marathon runner. All of us can level up our health, regardless of where we’re starting from. Group programs that include personalization give you the benefit of crowd support and individual flexibility.
  4. Use a Coach. Speaking of individual support, utilize a coach! So many health programs are tech-first, meaning there’s an app for that. I use apps too, they’re wonderful for sharing resources, tracking behaviors, and measuring progress. Tech solutions become even more powerful when they’re boosted by live coaching. I’ve read the research, I’ve tried it both ways; though apps and DIY programs can be successful for some, you’ll go further faster when you work with a coach. 
  5. Measure the Impact & Iterate. The program should have clear, measurable objectives aligned with the company's overall goals and as you measure the impact, also consider what can be made better next time. Metrics that give a window into participation and engagement paired with leader and employee feedback can help you measure progress and inform the adjustments for next time to ensure it remains relevant and meaningful. 

There are many other pieces to consider in the thoughtful design of a wellness program or initiative launch. Things like the communication plan, incentives and recognition, and alignment with company culture will all be important as well. Before you jump to those, start with the list above to build a strong foundation and the next steps will flow more smoothly.

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