Building a Wellness Program Part 3 ​

 How to Start a Wellness Program: Employee Buy-In As with any initiative, making it clear that management is excited about the wellness program is an important step toward success. The simplest way leaders can promote their wellness programs is to maintain a healthy lifestyle themselves. Employees notice these things and tend to model them. Think about it - If you had a manager who was maybe overweight and knew that he smoked five packs a day and was a heavy drinker and yet he was telling you that you need to start this wellness program, it just wouldnʼt seem right. Once you have management fully on board, it's time to market the program to employees. There are traditional poster and e-mail methods of spreading the word, but there's also an opportunity to have a little fun. You can create fun videos or send out promotional items centered around wellness. How to Start a Wellness Program: Evaluate It's hard to nail down a rate of return on improved health. But, in a business environment, it can be important to try. Depending on availability, some methods to consider are absenteeism rates, productivity measurements, and surveys about morale to quantify the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a wellness program.If your company doesn't track these factors, you can still assess how effective your wellness program is and where it needs improvement by asking your employees. Assessment in a smaller organization can be as easy as asking, “Are you pleased with the program? Do you feel that it's helped you? What other programs would you like us to offer?”. Just remember that wellness should be a part of your overall company culture. If this is embraced, it will have a positive effect on almost all areas of your business. Topics: Human Resources, Employee Recognition, Management, wellness program, employee wellness    ​

Building a Wellness Program Part 2

 Although it would be great if every company could install a gym on-site or hire a full-time wellness coach, there are less expensive ways to make a difference in the health of our employees. Some simple steps that don't cost anything are implementing a no-smoking policy or a walking program, can make a big difference.Some additional ideas are:● Leveraging websites (some free) for employees to take health and   wellness quizzes● Ignite friendly competition between employees by having them log   steps from their pedometers, a weight loss challenge, or a   healthy eating challenge You can also use a combination of ideas   and assign points to each activity participated as part of a 12-week   program. These activities can include things like drinking a certain   amount of water or going for a walk on their lunch breaks.   People can not only achieve their personal goals and improve   their biometrics over the 12 weeks, but tend to also maintain these   goals in the future. The Partnership for Prevention has outlined three components of proven promotion practices for workplaces, and there are cost-effective, creative ways to implement all of them. Tobacco According to the CDC, Men who smoke incur about $16,000 more in lifetime in medical expenses and are absent from work four days more per year than men who do not smoke. Women smokers incur about $18,000 more in expenses and are absent two more days than their non-smoking counterparts. If there is one wellness benefit that will save you the most money, helping employees become non-smokers is it. "The most cost saving service that is out there is really offering comprehensive tobacco benefit," Lindsay says. "That should really be one of the first things an employer should do."The CDC recommends that insurance providers offer smoking cessation benefits that cover at least four counseling sessions as well as prescription and over-the- counter nicotine replacement medication with no co-pay. Ask your broker to keep these guidelines in mind when you are purchasing insurance.Most states also offer free tobacco quit lines that you can advertise to your employees. Local chapters of organizations like the American Cancer Society or the American Lung Association also may offer free support in the form of quit smoking classes. You can also give your employees a cash bonus or prize if they can maintain being “tobacco free” for a set period of time (say 6-8 weeks). Health Screenings Simply reminding employees to get cancer screenings and supplying them with information can be an effective way to improve their health. Post flyers in bathrooms, send e-mails, distribute fact sheets, or make posters. Allow for paid time off for screening appointments, and help employees remember to make those appointments in the first place by referring them to a free reminder service such as this one. If you're willing to go a step further, you can offer on-site screening services by cooperating with your local American Cancer Society or local hospital. Fitness and Nutrition Most people spend a majority of their waking hours at work, which means they make many of their choices about their fitness and nutrition at work. Here are some simple things that an employer can do to make healthful choices easier to make:  ●  Subsidize healthy options in vending machines with junk food    options. For instance, charge $1 for a cupcake but only 25 cents    for an apple.   ●  Set up a walking club before or after work.   ●  Start a pedometer challenge with a goal of 10,000 steps a day.   ●  Provide a safe place to store bikes in the office.   ●  Encourage employees to take the stairs.   ●  Buy healthy food for meetings instead of junk food.   ●  Host Weight Watchers meetings at work. Programming decisions won't mean anything without creating an environment that can back up behavioral changes. "The pitfall would be to make it a flash-in-the- pan kind of program, where you do one activity and it's limited to one luncheon where you bring someone to talk about [the program] and then you don't do anything else," Lindsay says. "It's really got to be a continued effort. You have got to make an investment; it's not going to be just handing out pamphlets. It's going to be something that is integrated in our business. It's a way we do business." In the end, it is all about coming up with a program that brings benefit to your employees and the organization as a whole. A healthy approach can not only just be great for the body, but for the mind and overall daily culture. Please check in next week for insights into getting employee buy-in!  Topics: Human Resources, Employee Recognition, Management, wellness program, employee wellness    ​

Building a Wellness Program Part 1 

 The New Year is often associated to resolutions and one of the most popular resolutions is about personal wellness and obtaining a healthier lifestyle. This is also a resolution for many businesses but more importantly, an opportunity for companies to connect with their staffʼs personal goals and obtain a healthier (mentally, emotionally and physically) workforce.Studies from the American Journal of Health and Promotion state that work site wellness programs showed an average 27 percent reduction in sick leave absenteeism, 26 percent reduction in health care costs, and 32 percent reduction in workers' compensation and disability management cost claims. The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center (HMRC) estimates that an organization saves $350 annually when a low-risk employee remains low risk and $153 when a high-risk employee's health risks are reduced. Understanding the benefits is great, but establishing a program without any help can be stressful and unsuccessful. In the next few weeks, we will be providing you with insights into kick starting your wellness program.First Step: Assess your needs If like most small companies your business's wellness program budget is small, it's essential that you are put your dollars towards elements that is most effective. The most common tool for assessing where health programs are most needed is a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA). This type of questionnaire reviews personal lifestyle practices (such as smoking, seat belt use, and exercise) and identifies risk factors. It can help you get an idea of what needs your program should address. An HRA is often available at no extra cost from your insurance company or from an outside vendor at low cost. Be sure that you are following Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) regulations while conducting an HRA. If you have fewer than 50 employees, for instance, HIPPA regulations prohibit you from receiving an aggregate report of HRA results. You can either turn to an outside vendor to interpret HRA results or get creative. Another option is to get feedback from the sources. Conduct interest surveys with your employees, where you list every initiative you are willing to offer as part of your wellness program and have employees rank what they would find most valuable. A lot of times the biggest need might be that people should stop smoking, but your employee's are more interested in an exercise program. So, for one month you may have a company sponsored aerobics class, and the next month a smoking cessation seminar. Stay tuned for next weekʼs Wellness Program Blogs Part 2!  Topics: Human Resources, Employee Recognition, Management, wellness program, employee wellness    ​

Breast Cancer - Awakenings From a Friend ​

I would like to share the story of my good friend who is in the midst of her fight and just posted a very raw update to create awareness this month in honor of October being BC awareness month. She is one of the reasons Iʼm passionate about this fight for a cure. She is very transparent about her diagnosis every step of the way, as she fights for her life. I wonʼt share the photo she included posted post-mastectomy, but she asks that we share her message. Here is her post:Logan Moore Iʼve been inspired by a few of my brave survivor friends who have been posting some raw photos in the hope to remind people this October that Breast Cancer is more than pretty pink ribbons. It's losing parts of yourself and your life figuratively and literally.This year it was losing - My hair My nails My breastsMy energy My plans for my MBA My hopes for career advancement My thoughts of ever expanding my family .... and eventually my life and my children's mother. Take charge of your health and your bodies. ❤ Please help support our initiative to raise money for the cause by donating to American Cancer Society - Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. Our President and Founder is a 2017 Real Man for Detroit and wearing pink every day in October. Please pledge your support at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/SteveSchwartz. Topics: Employee Recognition, family business, Awareness    ​

 Breast Cancer - The Real Story ​

When we think about breast cancer, we often conjure up images of women over the age of 50 with bald heads. We also think about 5k walks, pink ribbons, charity fund raisers, and t-shirts with funny printed sayings. What we sometimes fail to think about are all the other people affected by this disease.My late wife was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in March of 2010. She was 36 at the time. Our daughter was just 13 months old. After a mastectomy and several rounds of intense chemotherapy and radiation, the doctorʼs proclaimed her in remission. However, over this year long battle, I watched my wife lose her hair, lose her femininity (which she associated with her breasts), and lose time spent with our baby girl.In December of 2012, she started feeling extreme back pain. A rush to the ER, x- rays, and an MRI later revealed the worse; the cancer had returned. This time the disease had spread throughout her skeletal structure, lungs, liver and brain. She was hospitalized for 2 months. This meant that my daughter spent her 4th Christmas on the floor of a hospital room. While other couples danced the night away on New Yearʼs Ever, I spent the night watching over my wife. Eventually she was stable enough to come home, but the doctors only gave her 6 months to live. She was now confined to a wheelchair, and could barely care for herself. Her mother stayed with her during the day, and I cared for her at night. Our young daughter had to watch he Mommy slowly get sicker and sicker. While she was in pain every day, and fought like crazy. It still took a terrible toll on our daughter, our family, and friends. Watching someone you care for slowly slip away is a tragedy that no one should have to face. She fought the disease for 3 years, and finally succumbed in January of 2015. Leaving behind a 6-year-old daughter and 42-year-old husband. So, when you think about October, and you see the NFL players accented in pink, have events at work, and buy pink ribbon swag...please remember all the victims of this disease.          I ask that if you want to make a difference, reach out to a family who has someone battling cancer. Offer to take them a meal, clean their house, bring them blankets, or even just sit and keep them company. Take it from someone who has been through the worst, it is the little things that have the biggest impact!Please help support our initiative to raise money for the cause by donating to American Cancer Society - Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. Our President and Founder is a 2017 Real Man for Detroit and wearing pink every day in October. Please pledge your support at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/SteveSchwartz. Topics: Employee Recognition, family business, Awareness    ​

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