What Makes for an Award Winning Wellness Program?

The Boston Business Journal recently announced 23 finalists for its fifth-annual Healthiest Employers program, which will be held March 12 at the Westin Waterfront in Boston.

Employee wellness has become an important facet of overall corporate culture, and should not be overlooked as an important component of the workplace. As such, it seems like a good time to broadly examine what sets the leaders in successful wellness programs apart.

The Healthiest Employer award utilizes an assessment to measure each nominated employer’s wellness programming in six key categories:

  • Culture and leadership commitment
  • Foundational components
  • Strategic planning
  • Communication and marketing
  • Programming and interventions
  • Reporting and analysis.

What makes a company’s wellness program stand out to be “award winning”?

For starters:

  • The wellness program is widely and actively supported by the C-Suite executives and becomes part of the company’s culture.
  • The programs include employee input – don’t make the mistake of giving employees only what you think they need. Poor participation is often due to being too busy with their jobs, the programs don’t suit their lifestyle, needs, or interests, or they’re not fully aware of what the company offers. Successful models in wellness take input from employees and actively work toward broad inclusion.
  • There’s a roadmap to continuously grow and enhance a wellness program. Programs should be designed with a range of strategies for all employees. For example, combining relaxation techniques, with on-site health initiatives like blood pressure screenings and healthy food options, as well as exercise programs that can be modified for different abilities.

What’s coming up for 2016?

Those companies already entrenched in employee wellness will continue to promote step/walking challenges, weight maintenance, and other interactive health initiatives to engage employees. But there is a trend in 2016’s programming to include a more holistic approach to wellbeing that targets the financial, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of their employees as well.

By transitioning the focus from primarily improving employees’ physical health to incorporating holistic wellness strategies aimed at enhancing various aspects of employees – and their families’- lives, there will be a greater emphasis on employee engagement rather than just ROI.

To this point, for the first time since its inception in 2005, the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Award will be expanding their criteria this year to include a greater emphasis on resilience and emotional health with a focus on how health and well-being affect business performance.

To learn more about the importance and different facets of wellness programs in the work place, or to contact me directly, visit: http://sapers-wallack.com/wellness/