Poor health costs the U.S. workforce more than $576 billion each year. Whether you own a small business or a large enterprise, that number is staggering. So, what can employers do right now to help reduce overhead and improve staff wellness? The answer is simple: Offer a wellness program that works and fits for everyone on your team. Regardless of size, there are affordable options for companies to create happier, more engaged and healthier employees.
The problem with current wellness programs is they typically define wellness as only “the absence of sickness and disease” and offer short-term remedies to address the areas defined as employee-related problems, which are usually limited in number. These types of programs rarely, if ever, engage team members in dialogue about the health and wellness goals that are important to them.
Further, health and wellness can be a large contributor to employee satisfaction, retention, recruitment, and employer profitability. A better understanding of wellness issues, as well as taking a few simple steps, can transform a company from one with an ineffective wellness program to one that is successful and adapted as part of the company’s culture.
Producing Sustainable Health And Wellness For Your Employees – Three Simple Steps
Creating A Culture Of Wellness
Outsourcing core functions of an organization without weakening its strengths is usually impossible. If you wouldn’t outsource your accounting department, why would you try this with the health of your organization?
When people are equipped with strategies that work, they have the chance to turn casual conversations, formal one-on-one meetings, and general exchanges into opportunities to model, inspire, and support wellness for others.
Having consultants, such as fitness experts and nutritional counselors, available for employees is a great thing, but the most successful organizations have the internal capacity for self-sustaining action. Success is most likely to occur when organizations become learning communities with strong internal cultures of wellness.
Effective workplace wellness programs address both physical and mental needs of the individual, which directly affect the company. For example, obesity, use of tobacco and chronic disease are problems that directly affect your bottom line. However, by offering fixes to these issues only—you might not succeed in getting all employees onboard.
Other issues may be more pressing for your staff—issues that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles and risky behaviors. What if your employee is overweight and started to smoke, but these unhealthy changes are related to the stress of caring for an ailing loved one? In that case, you may want to help your employee with the stress-related issues first, not simply suggest an exercise program and ways to stop smoking.
When employees make a positive change in one area of their life, they gain the confidence and drive to pursue changes in other areas as well. Taking a holistic approach to help staff address the unique issues that affect them individually will benefit you more than just making suggestions to follow the latest fitness trend.
Getting as many people involved in company wellness programs across your entire organization is crucial for success, and companies shouldn’t stop once you have gotten employees on board. Put the power and responsibility for change in the hands of staff—from the field and the back office to the board room—and recognize both individual and collective efforts.
Celebrate Successes, Even Small Ones
Celebration feels good and it’s a feeling everyone wants to experience again and again. The most important thing is to avoid trying to find a “quick fix” or telling an outsider to make your organization’s employees healthy. It’s about fostering a shift in identity and culture so that health and wellness become inevitable, and every employee’s well-being is valued by your organization.