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