9 Steps for Designing an Engaging Wellness Program

Wellness programs have become a mainstay for countless organizations, big and small. More than half of workplaces in the U.S. offer health and wellness programs to reduce healthcare costs, reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, improve engagement and productivity, and create a culture of health that encourages and incentivizes wellness.

However, your company’s wellness initiatives will only be as effective as your plan and approach. According to a recent report by Cigna on wellness in the workplace, strategic program design is the key to success. Here are nine steps for creating an engaging, rewarding, and beneficial wellness program at your organization:

1. Secure Leadership Support

First things first, it’s essential to gain leadership buy-in before you begin designing your wellness program. Ensuring senior management support is a critical component of every wellness program strategy because it puts leadership in a position to lead by example. The Cigna report also revealed that middle managers play a vital role, with programs they supported seeing a return on investment (ROI) of 10 times the initial investment.

2. Conduct a Wellness Assessment

Once you’ve gained executive support and clued in all managers, you need to audit your current workforce to learn where the biggest challenges, concerns, and opportunities are. For example, if an alarming number of employees struggle with a chronic condition, then disease management might be one of your most significant wellness goals. You can turn to health risk assessments (HRAs), employee surveys, lab tests, and biometric screenings to determine your program’s top priorities.

3. Define Your Wellness Objectives

After you have a better understanding of your workforce, you can tailor your company’s health and wellness goals and customize your program to accommodate specific needs. After defining your company’s wellness objectives, you’ll also need to determine how you’ll track and measure your success over time. What key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you analyze your progress and optimize accordingly over time? By figuring out KPIs early on, you can demonstrate your program’s effectiveness and ROI.

4. Develop Your Program Strategy

With your goals in tow, the next step is to develop a comprehensive plan that incorporates your objectives, KPIs, and program components. Break your goals and initiatives down into manageable steps with a timeline to keep you on track. This is also the stage when you’ll determine your wellness budget and how you’ll allocate funds. Which program components will best help you meet your objectives, and how do they fit into your budget? This step may be daunting, but with data and insights to inform your decisions, you’ll be well-equipped to map out your wellness strategy.

5. Work Toward a Culture of Health

Once you’ve developed your program strategy, begin taking steps to create a health-centric culture by making the workplace healthy. For example, you might consider replacing vending machines with healthy, low-fat snacks, encouraging team activities such as group wellness challenges, (truly) supporting a healthy work-life balance, and planning corporate wellness fairs. Developing a culture of health will empower employees to get involved and take active steps to improve their health and well-being.

6. Find Ways to Reward Participants

Humans are naturally motivated by incentives, and your employees are certainly no exception. Next, identify ways to incentivize employee participation and celebrate success because this will motivate people to join the program and make healthier choices. Examples of some of the most popular wellness incentives include cash/gift cards, community discounts, reduced healthcare premiums, company swag, and more.

7. Market Your Wellness Program

To maximize participation in your wellness program, you need to spread the word. Take time to communicate effectively via internal channels such as company newsletters, intranet, social media channels, and on-site posters. However, don’t simply promote your wellness initiatives; take it a step further by sharing success stories, posting updates, and communicating how easy it will be for your team members to get started. After all, the more you invest in marketing your program and building awareness, the more likely your employees will be to take advantage of your wellness offerings.

8. Partner with a Wellness Vendor

Partnering with an experienced wellness vendor such as TargetCare can help you create a customized plan to maximize your program’s effectiveness and improve the health of your employees. Your wellness partner can assist with a wide range of wellness initiatives, such as on-site health clinics, advanced health coaching, testing and screenings, targeted health programs, group wellness challenges, employee engagement programs, data analytics and reporting, and much more.

9. Optimize Your Program over Time

Once you’ve launched your wellness program, make it a point to measure your progress toward goals and optimize your program over time to improve your return on investment and maximize your results. Make sure to incorporate your data insights as well as employee feedback. Taking the time to analyze and optimize your program will only increase your success and help you better meet your company’s wellness goals.

By taking the right steps and taking key factors into consideration, you can design a workplace wellness program that works for both your company and your employees. And if you need help along the way? TargetCare can help!

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