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Effective Employee Benefits: Implementing Wellness Programs

Employees are the backbone of any company. At the end of the day, no matter how innovative the product or how thorough the service is, a workplace is only as functional as the people who work there. More companies have started turning toward employee wellness programs to educate and encourage healthy lifestyles both in and out of the office. Creating a robust program is timely since
87% of employees report considering health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer. Not only do they help your employees feel better, these wellness programs can chip away at healthcare costs, increase productivity and morale, and decrease employee turnover.

Whether your company is looking to start a wellness program or has one that may need a check-up, let's explore the different types of wellness programs, components of success, and opportunities for implementation in any company. 

Types of Wellness Programs 

United Healthcare distinguishes two different types of workplace wellness programs. These are participatory programs and health-contingent programs. 

Participatory Wellness Programs
Participatory wellness programs invite employees to participate in an activity no matter their ability. For example, if your company gave a free membership to a recreation center for all employees or invited a healthcare provider to give out flu shots one day, that would count as a participatory wellness program. 

Health-Contingent Wellness Programs
Health-contingent wellness programs require an individual to qualify for a health factor to get a reward in return. There are two different kinds of health-contingent wellness programs: 

  1. Activity-only wellness programs - These programs require an individual to complete an activity related to health to get a reward in return. For example, participating in a walking or diet program. 
  2. Outcome-based wellness programs - These programs require an individual to attain a specific health outcome or goal in order to receive a reward. For example, not smoking or being in a healthy blood pressure range. 

Components of a Successful Program 

With all of the different options for a wellness program, where do you start when creating or evaluating your own? The Harvard Business Review has established six different pillars of a successful wellness plan: 

  1. Multilevel Leadership: When trying to implement a wellness plan, employees are more likely to take part if they see company leadership participating too. If the CEO makes time for health and wellness, employees will not feel guilty joining in on the fun! 
  2. Alignment: Wellness plans should align with the rest of the company's culture and goals. Intentionality behind wellness plans can increase employee participation. 
  3. Scope, Relevance, and Quality: Wellness plans should include a variety of options to help employees find something that works best for them. While some employees may seek resources for physical health, others may request mental health programming. 
  4. Accessibility: Opportunities to engage in wellness plans should be accessible to employees of all abilities, including physical and financial. 
  5. Partnerships: Both internal and external partnerships can increase the quality and credibility of the care provided by a workplace wellness plan. Inviting health professionals is helpful to employee education and promoting local recreation opportunities encourages employee community engagement. 
  6. Communications: A diversity of media channels to spread wellness messaging can help engage all employees to participate in wellness programs. Communication methods can be anything from typical channels, like emails or videos, to more subtle environmental suggestions, like bike racks outside the office or appealing staircases throughout the building.

Getting Started

Implementing a wellness plan for your company can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be! When deciding the best way to kick off your company's wellness plan, consult executives and follow HIPAA guidelines. Create a wellness plan best suited for your workplace environment, and continually evaluate the process to keep your plan relevant. 

Any questions about revising your workplace wellness programs? Contact the Mulling team for a free Employee Benefits Review. We’ll review your strategy and help identify areas to help make sure you are keeping your employees healthy and happy.


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