What are corporate wellness programmes?

Corporate wellness programmes are any programme implemented by an employer to ensure the health of its employees. These programmes are designed to promote a safe and healthy environment to improve health outcomes and they generally include activities such as educational seminars, company sponsored exercises or stress management courses. An effective wellness program should improve both physical and psychological well-being.

Why is it important to implement wellness programmes in your organization?

No matter the size of your business, the state of health of your employees is essential both for the sake of their own health and for the sake of your organization as it will help improve its profitability and productivity. Investing in such programmes eventually enables a decrease in medical expenditures and even health insurance expenses: the challenge is to implement a wellness plan that actually works.

How do you design wellness plans that really work?

The first main consideration is that the wellness programmes must be voluntary, no coercive measure what so ever may be put in place to oblige employees to participate to these programmes. Not only do most countries state that employers may not require employees to participate in these programmes but they will also be much more dedicated if they are given the choice to be involved or not.

The second main consideration is that wellness programmes must be integrated into a long term and intelligible workplace strategy. It is important to consider that it takes a lot of time and effort to change people’s habits, and that while organizing short-term campaigns (such as walking challenges) or offering short-term rewards (such as financial awards) may seem more appealing for your employees, it may deflect them from the real long-term objectives.

So, what should be done?

A successful corporate wellness programme requires management buy-in and leaders must lead by example. A framework for a healthy lifestyle must be put into place, and every aspect of your business should be covered, for example by giving your workforce latitude in decision making, flexible and personalized working hours. Feedback should be consistently taken into account, and of course implementing a healthy environment (promoting healthy food, physical effort and well-being principles) is crucial.

What are the ways to measure the impact of the programme?

The best way to see if your wellness plan works is to identify KPIs that may help you manage your long-term strategy.

The indicators you could be following are your claim costs, employee turn-over or employee engagement for example. It is important to calculate not only the ROI but the VOI (value of investment) because health, well-being and happiness cannot always be measurable.

What are the main trends for 2018?

The trends for 2018 are about offering tailored personalized experiences, emphasizing mental health and not only physical health, and focusing on healthy and regular sleep patterns.

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