Top 5 Things that A Workplace Wellness Program Needs to Be Successful

Dan Miller health coach

Did you know your employees spend more time with you, at work, during the week, than they do with their own families (excluding sleep of course)?  Wouldn’t this be a great time to help remind them to stay (or get) fit and healthy?

Here are my top five things that your wellness program needs to be a success.
1. It has to start at the very top. 

I’m going to make this one easy for you. As a CEO, You can’t expect your employees to do something that you’re not willing to do with them. Either start getting healthy, fit, and stress-free before you roll out your program or go on the journey beside your employees. Either one works, but you have to practice what you preach.  You’re the boss. They listen to you—with their eyes too.  They’re watching your behavior. If you exude wellness and develop a wellness culture, they will follow.
2. It has to be for everyone. 

Enough of the weight loss challenges. With 74% of our country now faced with a weight problem, how well are these challenges working anyway?  Healthcare costs are still rising. Your employees are still sick more often and missing more days of work than they used to.  Time to get real here. This isn’t about weight loss!  The weight loss should be a side effect of a healthier lifestyle. And your wellness program needs to include everybody, even those that are already well!  Get the fit and healthy employees to act as stewards of your program. Get their buy-in and have them help you keep momentum going. Make sure your program has an educational component as well as individual goal setting. Make sure you’re involving the families too. You don’t want just healthy employees, you want a wellness culture that spills over into the homes and family lives of your employees. This means you must involve the families in the educational, tracking, and goal setting aspects of your program.
3. It must contain disease management and tracking elements.

Speaking of goal setting, have you considered how you will track the effectiveness of your program? The best way to track this is to get the ICD-9 or ICD-10 code spends from your insurer and review them quarterly. This allows you to identify the existing disease states like heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, etc. These
disease states are likely costing you the most, so why not spend time educating these populations on how to better manage them. While you may not see immediate results in the first quarter, or even in the first year, you will be better able to focus your energy where it has the most impact on your bottom line and the lives of your people.
4. The employees must benefit directly.

Rewards! Rewards! Rewards!  They all want a reason to participate, as if a healthier body isn’t enough. Get with your team and put a budget together. Get creative on what to give away and how often. One company I’ve worked with is giving an all expense paid vacation for two as a top prize. The rewards need to be big enough to encourage action and must be for everyone, even the healthy.  Smaller monthly and quarterly awards for meeting individual goals should also be considered.
5. It can’t contradict itself!

You can’t have a wellness program at your facility and still have soda and snack machines selling Carb-age (garbage + carbs)!! I get it, they’ll complain if you take them out.  Too bad!  Let them know why you’re replacing soda with water (NOT juice or sports drinks). Tell them why donuts will no longer be served in the break room. Educate them. Keep them in the loop. Let them know your concern is their long-term health and see how much that caring attitude gets you in increased productivity alone. Remember the educational component?
I’ve included a couple of other ideas for you below. I love you little action figures! It’s time to get serious. Take ACTION! Today!
More ideas:

  • Consider having your next meeting at Skyzone or similar
  • Enroll the leadership team in a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder
  • Bring a chef into your workplace once a month to show employees how to cook healthy
  • Fresh fruit provided weekly in the break room
  • Help your employees purchase exercise equipment for their homes
  • Monthly newsletters that educate the employees and their family. This is best sent to the employees’ home. A monthly quiz on the newsletter will help ensure it gets read; prizes or points for the winners of course.


Dan Miller Health Coach

Guest Contributor
Dan Miller

Dan Miller is an executive wellness consultant, public speaker and author. Need extra help? Contact Dan here.

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