As an employer, the benefits of investing in the health and wellness of your workforce are becoming increasingly evident. Investing in a wellness program for employees has been shown to improve staff morale, increase productivity, reduce stress, and lower healthcare costs. Notwithstanding this, as an employer developing an employee wellness training program can still be presented as a daunting task. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Creating a Wellness Program for Employees
Once you decide to develop and implement an employees wellness program, there are a couple of key steps to follow that will ensure it meets the needs of employees and has the greatest chance of success.
1. Consider Employee Needs and Demographics
The SHRM Employee Benefits Survey in 2019 found that employers are moving away from offering programs that target chronic health conditions. Instead, employers are offering niche activities that better match their employee demographics. This has been partially driven by health companies offering more of the traditional elements of wellness programs which has allowed employers to focus on offering niche areas that are specifically orientated toward their employee’s needs.
The best way to ascertain the needs of your employees is by asking the employees. This could be as simple as sending out an email survey to employees and asking them what they would like to see in a wellness program. It is important to include in the survey what employees perceive to be stressors in the workplace.
2. Develop Goals and Objectives
Once you understand the needs of your workforce, you are better equipped to develop the goals and objectives of your employee wellness program. The employee survey results will help in this process, but you also need to consider any issues or challenges within the workplace.
Issues and challenges that seem minor tend to escalate over time. Although issues may seem minor, it is best to address them to avoid them escalating. It is important to try and do this from your employees’ perspective. As employers and employees tend to have very different ideas on what the issues in the workplace are and how to address them.
Remember, there are professionals such as Twello who run classes that deal with some of the common challenges. Some of the common goals and objectives include:
- Reduce stressors: The mindfulness or mindfulness for stress reduction classes introduce employees to the concept of mindfulness and look at techniques that can be used to improve self-care.
- Create work-life balance: The mindfulness for work-life balance class looks at strategies to achieve this and are relevant even for a remote workforce.
- Improve workplace communication: This involves learning the fundamentals of mindful speaking and mindful listening to improve workplace morale and relationships.
- Overcoming change: Resilience training may be a good way to overcome this obstacle as it teaches the three pillars of resilience, challenge, commitment, and personal control.
3. Consider Most Effective Times
There are a whole range of factors that need to be considered when deciding the most effective times for wellness classes or training. At the start of the day, concentration levels are at their peak, with employees well rested and ready for the new day. The downside is some jobs require key tasks to be performed first thing in the morning,
After lunch, employees have had a break and something to eat and are ready to refocus their attention. However, sometimes, the reverse can be the case. The previous evening’s late-night kicks in, and employees lose focus and become less productive.
The time of the month or week is also important. For example, Friday’s employees tend to focus on the weekend ahead, and concentration levels may be low. At the end of the month, staff are busy with invoicing and other similar activities, making it harder to engage in wellness training. Although it is important to factor in these times as it may be when employees need the benefits of wellness training the most, taking a short break may be beneficial and, in the long run, improve productivity.
Asking employees what works for them is a good idea and something that could be included in the original survey. While you will have an idea of the times when you as an employer need the employees focused on the work at hand.
4. Send Out an Engaging Announcement Letter
One of the best ways to engage employees is incorporating what they have told you they need into the invitation. This illustrates that you have listened and are doing something to address employee’s concerns and needs. It helps create a link between a need such as reducing stressors and mindfulness. Which may not be immediately obvious if someone is unfamiliar with the concept.
Make it clear in the email that the program is important. And for that period of time, the wellness program should take precedence over their day-to-day work. It is also important to encourage the employees to ask questions about the program to feel comfortable attending.
A sample wellness program announcement template can be found here
5. Continuing Employee Engagement in the Program
The importance of having the leadership team on board to encourage employee participation and engagement cannot be emphasized enough. As an employee, it can all seem a bit hollow if management can’t be bothered attending. However, having management at the sessions is worth its weight in gold.
Generating discussion among the employees is another great way to improve engagement on an ongoing basis. Employees that are excited about what the program offers are more likely to encourage other employees to attend.
6. Measure and Repeat
As with any new initiative, it is important to measure the success of your wellness program. Then, continue to refine it so that employee needs are being met. Twello, for example, uses a free anonymous survey after each class which is sent to employers, along with feedback regarding future classes and sessions based on that feedback.
Employee wellness programs have been proven to have benefits for the staff attending as well as for the organization. Utilizing the services of a professional company like Twello with experience in this area can produce excellent results.
If you would like to find out more about our services, please contact us. We are happy to answer all your questions.