How to launch a workplace wellbeing program that works
Heard much about employee wellness programs? They’re becoming as important to company culture as bean bags were to dot com startups – and are gaining major traction in management circles across the globe.
If you’re new to the idea, a wellness program takes a preventative, proactive approach to health issues in the workplace. In other words, they support employees to manage their wellbeing – physically, socially, cognitively and emotionally.
While that alone is enough reason to implement one yesterday, it’s the bottom line impact that’s turning heads.
You see, workplace wellness (done right) produces tangible results that spread throughout organisations, into homes and across communities.
This blog does a deeper dive into the benefits, but essentially, an effective workplace wellness program will:
- Be tailored to each individual employee
- Make staff feel recognised, valued and engaged
- Tackle health issues before they start affecting someone’s wellbeing and performance at work
- Reduce an organisation’s spend on sick leave and compensation
- Increase productivity and, in turn, profits.
Of course, knowing you need a workplace wellness program (and why) is one thing. Creating, implementing and bringing it to life are in another ball park altogether (you know, the one where all the innovative leaders hang out).
How, then, should your organisation roll out a wellness program? Who are the trailblazers already doing it? And which partners should you pull in to ensure success?
How to implement your workplace wellness program
Don’t assume. Ask.
Everyone is different – with different motivations. While it may be curious to you why a Gen Z needs a yoga space, their voice matters. After all, it’s a wellness program for the entire organisation, not just management.
Ask the right questions – so you can create the right program.
Do your own research
While getting input from your employees is non negotiable, you can still do some digging of your own.
Look closely at the latest trends – for example, media or surveys like this that paint a real picture of what employees want.
The best ones don’t always cost the most
Workplace wellness doesn’t necessarily need a huge investment. It could simply be a matter of introducing wellness breaks, or installing air purifiers or greenery in the office.
Small, inexpensive changes can make a noticeable difference.
One person’s wellness is another person’s no-no (not everyone enjoys mandatory fitness programs!), so design your wellness program accordingly.
Remember: workplace wellness is about helping employees tailor their benefits to the support you’re offering – not everyone will take up everything on offer.
Put someone in charge
Give the right person responsibility for owning the program. Without clearly defined roles, direction and leadership, your efforts will quickly fall by the wayside.
Keep it fresh
The best programs are constantly being revisited, tweaked and updated. Get regular feedback from your team on what’s working and what’s not – and put that into action.
People can’t use a wellness program if they don’t know about it. Use every opportunity to communicate what it is, how it can help and where to find necessary information. Including it in onboarding programs, for example, is a great place to start.
Make your program a point of difference
Keep your program relevant, current and, if possible, ahead of the curve. That sends a clear message to the market that you take workplace wellness seriously and will position you strongly to attract and retain talented staff.
Organisations leading the way
From Hubspot’s ‘week of rest’ to Shippit’s Companion Leave and Salesforce’s coffee catch ups, plenty of prominent organisations are pioneering the way to wellness.
Large businesses like these are leading the charge – and that’s an incredibly important step in highlighting the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.
Many smaller organisations, too, are big proponents of employee wellbeing. It goes without saying they genuinely care about their staff and know the ramifications of people not feeling, giving and performing at their best.
Will your organisation be known for wellbeing or ill-being?
She advises organisations to:
Partner with their own staff
- Talk to them, listen with an open mind and understand what they’d appreciate. That will give you an accurate insight into what your employees actually want – and you can design your program accordingly
Ask the experts
- If the project seems too onerous, intimidating or time-consuming, get the help you need. Sometimes an outsider’s perspective and objectivity is the better option, anyway.
It’s all in the implementation
Refreshingly, today’s leaders are becoming increasingly clued in about workplace wellness.
And, as organisations place more value on wellbeing, workplace wellbeing programs are gaining more popularity and acceptance across both large and small businesses.
Implementing these programs with thought, respect and commitment will not only take care of your employees’ wellbeing – your bottom line will get a healthy boost, too.