Company Health and Wellness Programs
Healthy Culture, Wellness Committees and More
A representative sample of the health risks in your company employee population is the result of giving everyone a survey opportunity, unless your company has more than 500 employed. For very large corporations, limiting the survey to a cross-section of 500 may keep some of the costs down.
A good foundation for building company health and wellness programs starts with having the whole-hearted support of corporate managers. Compiling a separate and additional short survey prior to the implementation phase will expose what attitudes, knowledge and support the company managers have.
The results will show where wellness program savvy is and where it is required. This should be included alongside the results of the employee survey for a complete picture of the company’s health and wellness program needs.
Results should have a cover letter that briefly summarizes the data and provides a few general recommendations for wellness that can be presented to justify the necessity of adding a company health and wellness program. A visual graph can emphasize the results and simplify the explanation. This can also be used to provide feedback and illustrate the survey outcome to the employees who participated.
Company Health and Wellness Programs for a Healthy Workplace
Company health and wellness programs work best in an environment where improving wellbeing is understood, accepted and encouraged by all the employees. An overall sense of group cohesiveness is one of the most effective methods for and outcomes of a company health and wellness program.
Social norms are shared between the employees so a positive or a negative attitude toward the wellness program will spread through the population quickly. Once a norm is established, it will be hard to change.
The manner in which the company health and wellness program is introduced can make or break the wellness opportunity. Announcing which avenues of daily operation that the company will use to support the wellness program participation will help to establish a supportive platform. It is important that the employees see what investment the company is willing to contribute so participation is viewed as a shared experience.
Creating a Company Health and Wellness Program Culture
Cultures develop because of shared beliefs, norms, values and traditions. Company cultures are the result of a combination of employee demographics, type of industry and management style. The company culture establishes and controls expectations for healthy behavior and lifestyle choices.
Healthy lifestyle behavior is a result of expectations from employees, their families, and the management team. How the wellness program is introduced can create a culture of health or one of anti-health if the employees are forced to participate.
If “health” is an accepted norm, the culture will have its own internal rewards and deterrents for behavior that is viewed to be unhealthy. Abnormal actions will be treated as unacceptable when they don’t conform to the healthy standards considered to be normal by the members of the corporate culture.
Additional resources and educational materials that will support the transition to a more health-oriented culture are available at Healthy Culture
Fun, clear leadership, policy support, room for growth, noncompetitive work atmosphere, coordination of employee expertise with their job requirements, flextime, fair and personal consideration of all employees as valuable team members are all attributes that encourage the development of healthy culture.
Wellness Committees: A Health and Wellness Program Component
Establishing wellness committees on-site adds an internal sense of pride to the company health and wellness program. Allowing the committee to steer the initiatives and select activities helps extend the good will and socializes health and wellness norms within the corporate environment. Representation from each employee rank provides a well-rounded perspective.
Employees with health risks should be part of the decision-making process as well as managers that have some real influence over corporate decisions. Initially, they may need to meet as frequently as once per week. Once the program stabilizes, this could be reduced to a monthly date. Due to issues of confidentiality, the actual screening tests should not be available to the committee.
Health and Wellness Committee Duties can Include:
- Planning goals, objectives, wellness activities
- Assisting with report preparation and participation records
- Encouraging employees to find opportunities or make suggestions for their own health improvement
- Recommending ways to improve the culture of corporate health
- Selecting and promoting the wellness program
- Ensuring follow-up counseling/doctor’s appointments occur
- Gathering and posting educational material in the worksite and on the intranet
- Mediating communication between employees, wellness program staff and management
- Mentoring employees into the company health and wellness culture
The appointment of committee members should account for a volunteer opportunity and have some representation from all shifts. The members’ names and duties should be posted in a place that is accessible to all employees.
Wellness committee appointment can be time-consuming. It is important to recognize and reward committee members for their efforts. Special access or discounts to wellness program components recognize their contribution. While some employees may appreciate a public acknowledgement or award, others may not and would prefer a less obvious gesture.
For additional information refer to: Establishing a Wellness Committee which is a free resource found on the Wellness Proposals website.
Writer Bio: John Bates is a leading wellness industry consultant and prolific writer about all aspects of health and wellness programs. His work can be found on numerous wellness websites including his own: Infinite Wellness Solution’s and Infinite Health Coach.