As the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects remain a persistent presence in our lives, it has allowed companies to adapt to a new way of working and become what we now call a Wellness Company. When things went topsy turvy, employees, executives, and senior-level management were equally hit.

Wellness Company: Why Every Company Must Become One Now

Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for companies to realize the immense financial, psychological, and emotional stress that their workforce endures. During this time, companies learned that it wasn’t enough to offer just healthcare benefits to employees.

What its workforce needed was the idea of a Wellness Company that also made it their business to help them cope, manage, and overcome everyday stressors and feelings of uncertainty.

Businesses should aim to become employee-centric Wellness Companies.

The following sections touch on why businesses should aim to become employee-centric wellness companies and how they can do this successfully amidst the current social and economic climate.

What Is A Wellness Company?

A wellness company conducts itself internally and externally with ethical responsibility and authenticity. Being a wellness company means keeping not only your employees’ interests in mind but also society at large.

To be a wellness company, businesses have to assume a position of empathy and compassion through:

  • marketing efforts
  • company values
  • brand image

People want companies to live by their principles of wellness instead of just portraying that stance through their products and services. To prosper, wellness companies need to realign their goals and objectives by keeping everyone in mind, from stakeholders to employees to customers to communities.

In 2014, drugstore giant CVS pulled tobacco products off its shelves because selling them didn’t support their healthcare efforts. It cost the company $2 billion in yearly lost sales. 

While not all companies are expected to match this tremendous move, it shows how they must look inwards and question their claims and purpose. Ultimately, doing so helps realign business efforts positively, which can instill trust and loyalty in a workforce and community in the long haul.

RELATED: 5 Ways Wellness Programs for Banks and Credit Unions Yield Prosperous Returns

Why Do Companies Offer Wellness Programs?

Companies are increasingly turning to wellness programs to improve productivity, employee turnover, and the health of their employees. Healthcare is not regarded as a perk in a wellness company but a benefit.

Is A Wellness Company

Here’s why most companies want to be a wellness company and are offering wellness programs as part of their employment packages:

  • Increased retention and positive employee recruitment: Given how companies are vying for top talent in the industry, offering a wellness program can encourage applicants to pick a wellness company over another with zero benefits.
  • Improved health and behavioral aspects: Employees’ active participation can result in areas of improvement from health to lifestyle to behavior to performance on the job. Happy, healthy employees tend to feel more driven and passionate about their jobs when they’re taken care of by the companies they work for.
  • Reduced healthcare costs: By utilizing wellness activities, policies, and initiatives, employees are less likely to take sick leave and claim expensive healthcare costs. This can significantly improve a company’s bottom line where exorbitant healthcare costs are a major concern.
  • Increased productivity and performance: Without these two key factors, companies are left to tackle incidents related to sub-par work and delayed results that could eventually hurt a business. Healthy employees tend to be more productive and better at what they do when a wellness program helps them curb health risks and poor behaviors.
  • Lowered absenteeism and presenteeism: Absenteeism and presenteeism can leave a dent in a business’s costs when employees aren’t available in full capacity or feeling well enough to work optimally. Companies can outline personalized, monitored plans for employees through tailored wellness programs that can considerably decrease absenteeism and presenteeism.

RELATED: Why Lower Health Care Costs is One of the Benefits of Wellness in 2022

What Does Wellness Mean for Companies Today?

In today’s times, wellness is not a subject that is taken lightly or callously provided without first understanding what people need. Wellness companies are shifting focus to the well-being of their workforce and how supporting their needs can positively impact the company’s progress and corporate success.

Wellness companies are shifting focus to the well-being of their workforce and how supporting their needs can positively impact the company’s progress and corporate success.

A wellness company involves all aspects of the wellness spectrum. That means:

  • crafting initiatives
  • policies
  • programs

All of the above are created with the sole purpose of improving employee health (mental, physical, and emotional) and workplace behaviors.

To effectively provide a wellness program, companies rely on actionable data such as:

  • health assessments
  • pharmacy records
  • past and ongoing healthcare claims
  • medical histories

Using this data, a well-established wellness company crafts nuanced programs that serve employees on a personal rather than collective level.

RELATED: 7 Simple Strategies to Integrate Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace

How to Establish and Design a Wellness Program

To establish and design a wellness program, companies have to be willing to put in the work. While this won’t happen overnight, a wellness company must be prepared to spend weeks or even months formulating a solid wellness plan with an in-house wellness committee or a third-party wellness partner, such as WellSteps.

Here’s a brief idea of how to establish and create a wellness program:

Step 1

Before a wellness program can go into effect, employers must first plan how much of their resources and funds will be directed towards implementing and developing initiatives and policies. A strong proposal should be crafted and extended when the time for management approval comes.

The following parameters should be considered when drafting a budget:

  1. While conducting an initial survey, it’s crucial to inquire if employees are willing to pay a one-time or regular fee to be part of a wellness program. Some employees may expect this to be an add-on in existing healthcare plans, which is something to take into consideration as feasible or not.
  1. Gather and collate supporting material from clinical studies by universities and hospitals with insightful information and statistics on the effectiveness and impact of wellness programs.
  1. Inquire with partnered healthcare agencies if they have a wellness component that can be added to existing plans. Premium plans may sometimes include this as an additional benefit, which can help save costs on investing in an independent wellness program.
  1. Incorporate alternative plans where costs can be curbed through volunteer-led wellness activities.

RELATED: 8 Workplace Health Promotion Program Examples That Work

Step 2

Conduct private assessments through a survey, one-on-one meeting, or questionnaire with employees to factor in health-related risks (biometric screenings or past medical history) and pain points related to work-related stress, discomfort, or tensions.

management support for employees wellness

Step 3

As with any wellness program that has to go into effect, management support is essential. Employers have to provide relevant data and a viable budget that gives the management a clear picture of how the wellness programs will benefit and support future objectives and goals.

  • “How will the program add value to the organization’s marketing and promotion endeavors?”
  • “What are the short- and long-term financial benefits of having a wellness program in place?”

These questions should be addressed through an employer’s extensive research on the effectiveness and purpose of the wellness programs.

RELATED: How Effective Wellness Programs do Wellness Incentive Management in 2022

Step 4

Employers will need to create a dedicated wellness committee to oversee and manage all aspects of the wellness program. They will be expected to promote and sustain a wellness environment for employees, whether in person or remotely.

Committee members will also be expected to handle the following responsibilities:

  • Actively assessing employees’ needs on an individual level
  • Evaluating and updating existing programs, well-being activities, and policies
  • Monitoring, analyzing, and keeping a record of ongoing health and well-being activities
  • Crafting a health promotion plan that takes a business’s objectives, goals, and vision statement into account
  • Maintaining a platform of regularly updated information on the progress of all employees within a wellness program

RELATED: How a Worksite Wellness Committee Helps Programs

Step 5

Once the wellness program is underway, the wellness committee then needs to create the vital components. To do this, employers have to zero in on common and pressing concerns by scrutinizing employees’ data.

All of these components should be included in a wellness program.

  • sleep management
  • alcohol reduction
  • smoking cessation
  • nutrition education
  • weight management
  • mental health
  • stress-reducing initiatives
components of a wellness program

Step 6

A wellness program’s efforts are futile if employees don’t see the benefits of following an initiative. To counter this, providing incentives or rewards will encourage employees to participate in and benefit from a program. As great motivators, these two essential factors can be exchanged for gifts, monetary perks, or day offs.

A wellness program’s efforts are futile if employees don’t see the benefits of following an initiative.

A prime example of incentivized programs can be seen in the efforts of Japanese marketing company Pilia Inc. The management made a move to give non-smoker employers an extra 6 days off in a year as compensation for the time coworkers spent taking smoke breaks. The reward encourages employees to either kick the habit or lose out on valuable day-offs in a country that doesn’t largely support work-life balance.

Step 7

Once the wellness program is ready to launch, a major promotional activity is then planned for the big reveal. Through social media and in-office communication, employees should feel the weight of this momentous moment. The management’s participation and endorsement will push the wellness program into the limelight through speeches, interviews, marketing campaigns, presentations, and the like.

Step 8

The wellness committee will need to measure outcomes as the wellness program picks up momentum and advances. By actively keeping track of employee progress and participation, the committee can address and update measures and policies to keep employees’ interests and needs in focus.

What Do Employees Want In A Wellness Program?

Employees want a wellness program that can cater to their physical, emotional, and mental needs in a way that benefits their overall health and well-being. While some companies may think this service is easy to provide, it can be challenging to formulate a program that meets individual employee expectations to a tee.

As a wellness company, extending a wholesome wellness program that is accessible, transparent, and uncomplicated is vital.

As a wellness company, extending a wholesome wellness program that is accessible, transparent, and uncomplicated is vital. These are some of the things that employees expect from a wellness company:

  1. To promote and maintain a compassionate work culture: Research supports that leaders should cultivate an environment of compassion and vulnerability to strengthen trust and positivity with employees. When you show employees that it’s okay to express and be yourself, you’re humanizing processes and encouraging them to come forward openly and honestly about work-related concerns.
  1. To amp up healthcare with a solid wellness program: Today, employees are more concerned with coping during uncertain times and shifting work landscapes. Having healthcare benefits in place isn’t enough without factoring in wellness.
solid wellness program to compliment healthcare

Wellness companies need to provide a strong wellness program with benefits, promotional activities, and access to the right resources on where and how employees can seek help. Employees are more likely to participate and derive results from a well-constructed wellness program.

  1. Motivational merchandise: Company merchandise such as office supplies and clothing lets employees know they appreciate their efforts as part of a wellness program. When companies promote a program with the sole intention of seeing employees win at life, they nurture a mutual platform where everyone roots for one another. To be included, wanted, and cared for can significantly influence employees with positive thoughts and feelings.

For more ideas, take a look at health and well-being activities that will boost employee morale, health, and participation in the workplace.

RELATED: 16 Health and Well-Being Ideas, Activities, and Initiatives for any Budget

Well Being Activities To Include In A Wellness Program

No wellness program is complete without a slew of engaging, fun, and collaborative sessions from which to choose. The following wellness company activities will encourage employees to participate actively and reap the benefits of a session long after they’re done.

Wellness Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, pick an exciting topic to cover that is educational and enlightening. Hype up the purpose of Wellness Wednesdays in the days leading up to it to get people pumped. Check out these examples of how to promote this day:

  • Screening wellness-centric documentaries such as Fast Food Nation, A Place At The Table, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, and My Year of Living Mindfully.
  • Arrange for a weekly potluck where employees team up and prepare nutritious meals from scratch.
  • Schedule off-site cooking classes with a nutrition-focused chef who makes it fun to put together easily available, healthy produce.
  • Host group walkathons where those who complete the most steps within an hour win discounted restaurant coupons or free event tickets.

Fitness Sessions

Conducting fitness sessions is a great way to get employees to step away from their stations. Get a professional instructor to come on board for a day. There are many ways to engage employees through fitness sessions, from Zumba to pilates to martial arts to boxing.

Creative Sessions

Well-being activities that allow us to be creative can tap into the parts of our brain that experience creative blocks. Here are a few ways of how to do that through creative sessions:

  • Hand out adult coloring books and encourage employees to share completed works on social media or company wellness groups.
  • Ask employees to write down the one most creative thing they wish they could learn and surprise them with free online courses to get started.
  • Get employees to make time for reading by creating a book club that meets for monthly sessions.

Mindfulness And Meditation Sessions

Eating, breathing, and conducting oneself mindfully can put so much into perspective. When we practice a life of being conscious of our actions and words, we can process things better.

Meditation is a powerful practice that employees can easily make time for every day, even if for a few minutes. Through daily affirmations and controlled breathing, employees will be better equipped to handle stressful scenarios (one of many benefits of meditating regularly). The best way to engage employees is to hold meditation sessions during work hours.

RELATED: 10 Tips to Implement Mindfulness in the Workplace

Outdoor Meetings

What better way to connect with others and ourselves than away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Collaborative spaces are not restricted anymore to the four walls of a traditional conference room. 

Many places are waiting to be explored, from parks and rooftop gardens to beachfront resorts and mountaintop retreats. Companies will greatly benefit from the change of scene and fresh air by conducting meetings and conferences away from the office.

outdoor meetings for employees

Well-Being Challenges

One of the best ways to get results from a wellness program is to set well-being challenges for employees to accomplish. Reward winners with incentives or gifts that make them look forward to smashing their fitness and wellness goals. The following fun challenges will give you an idea:

  • Challenge employees to cover at least 10,000 steps a day and win free movie tickets, food coupons, or gift vouchers.
  • Track employees’ health progress and reward them for accomplishing time-bound goals by throwing a company-led celebration every quarter or six months.
  • Create a buddy system where employees can help others with challenges at work. The more employees someone becomes of service to successfully, the more points they receive before finally winning an award.

RELATED: 50 Office Challenge Ideas Including Office Fitness Challenges

To Conclude

There’s plenty of work involved when planning and executing an employee-centric wellness program before it is ready to take flight. Fortunately, a wellness company can easily modify or create a complete health and well-being program using the right resources, strategies, and intentions. 

It’s great to see that those who champion being wellness companies are a great source of inspiration to others. To get started, schedule a free demo with the WellSteps team and discover how becoming a Wellness Company will benefit everyone.

About The Author

Dr. Steve Aldana

Dr. Aldana is the CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution that leads the nation in wellness program deployment and engagement. Dr. Aldana authored over 75 scientific papers and 7 books on health risk management, healthy living, and health promotion programs. He has given over 350 keynote speeches across the U.S. on the ability of good nutrition and regular exercise to prevent, arrest, and reverse many chronic diseases.