Workplace wellness programs are more than just testing employees for health risks or creating a running group in the office. These programs help cultivate a supportive and healthy environment where employees can thrive.
U.S. Labor statistics show that benefits cost employers nearly $8 an hour for every employee. Those numbers can add up fast, costing employers thousands of dollars a year if they don’t take stride to take care of their employee’s wellbeing. Many of the expenses are preventable treatments if employees had the right wellness program at their workplace.
Deciding to have a wellness program for your workplace is an important decision, and you’ll need to take the proper steps to ensure success.
What Is The Purpose Of Workplace Wellbeing?
A workplace wellness program aims to reduce employee stress and create a work environment that leads to flourishing for both the employee and the employer. Companies that offer wellness programs can cultivate engagement among workers. It can also reduce sick days and absenteeism and increase performance and productivity. Essentially, workplace wellbeing programs provide employees with the incentives, tools, support, and strategies to build a healthy lifestyle.
However, it’s essential to understand that workplace well-being is not just about employees’ physical activity level but incorporates all facets of a healthy lifestyle, including mental health.
The Difference Between Goals And Objectives For Workplace Wellbeing
Workplace wellness goals are “statements of broad, long-term accomplishments expected from the program.” Objectives are the measurable building blocks that will accomplish the overarching goal if they are met. It’s helpful to adopt the SMART goals framework to determine objectives for your workplace wellness program. The SMART goal framework is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
The takeaway is: each workplace wellness goal should have specific objectives that the program’s success should be measured against.
Examples Of Goals And Objectives For A Workplace Wellness Program
Examples of goals for a workplace wellbeing program include:
- Reducing health care costs
- Reducing absenteeism
- Increasing employee productivity and engagement
- Increasing retention rates
- Improving employee morale
- Attracting new employees
For each of the goals listed above, here are examples of objectives:
Reducing Health Care Costs
Objectives to help an organization reach their goal of reducing healthcare costs that fit into the SMART framework could include:
- Organizing exercise challenges and prizes each month with at least 50% of employees participating
- Reducing the number of employees who smoke by X% each year quarter
- Providing healthy brain foods in the lunchroom twice a week for employees or gift cards to healthy restaurants to remote employees
- Provide vaccination clinics at your workplace
Objectives to help an organization reach their goal of reducing absenteeism that fit into the SMART framework could include:
- Allow employees to work remotely or in-office three days a week
- Survey employees on how to make the workplace a better place to come to
- Consider improvement to the workplace environment, such as more natural light, adding plants or artwork to make it more attractive
- Run health screening clinics to help employees identify health issues early
Increasing Employee Productivity And Engagement
Objectives to help an organization reach its goal of increasing employee productivity and engagement that fit into the SMART framework could include:
- Organizing peer-to-peer learning groups to discuss challenges and find solutions
- Give employees a learning stipend
- Workplace mentorships are an example of a low-cost, high-value employee development program
Increasing Retention Rates
Objectives to help an organization reach its goal of increasing retention rates that fit into the SMART framework could include:
- Connect X% of employees into a mentoring program as it reduces turnover.
- Interview those employees who have decided to leave to narrow down why they weren’t happy.
Improving Employee Morale
Objectives to help an organization reach its goal of improving employee morale that fit into the SMART framework could include:
- Introduce mental health workshops to expand understanding of different conditions and treatment options
- Provide access to professional counselling as part of an employee’s health and benefits package
- Organize a fitness competition between teams or departments in the organization
- Offer financial incentives for employees such as student loan repayment options, pension plans, or life insurance policies
Attracting New Employees
Objectives to help an organization reach its goal of attracting new employees that fit into the SMART framework could include:
- Create an on-site gym
- Promote the use of alternative transportation, such as providing bus passes for employees or bike-sharing programs
- Plan wellness adventures for employees to play a game a local mini-golf or laser tag together
What Makes A Wellness Program Successful?
To be successful, a workplace wellness program needs to have several factors, such as a communication plan, management support, and incentives for involvement.
For a wellness program to be successful in the workplace, it needs to be promoted by managers and company leadership. Ensure that company leaders are informed about various aspects of the wellness program, including what is offered, why it is being offered, and how they can encourage employees to participate. Encourage managers not only to tell employees about the program but to get involved themselves.
A wellness program is great, but it won’t result in anything if employees don’t know about it or understand what is included. It’s important to have a promotion strategy for your wellness program to inform employees at all levels about aspects of the program, planned activities, benefits to them for getting involved, and how to participate.
To oversee your wellness program, create a committee to be responsible for planning activities, promoting activities, educating employees and managers about the program, and evaluating the program. As the program runs, the committed is should evaluate it periodically to see if any changes need to be made. It can help you know what works and what doesn’t, and also when to shift gears.
A healthy lifestyle should be its own reward, but changing habits is hard. Consider offering some incentives to employees to encourage them to get involved. These don’t need to be monetary, but rather something tangible that they can receive. Some examples include a special parking space, extra time off, massage or beauty gift certificates, awards, certificates, etc.
Health costs, absenteeism, high turnover rates can cost your business a significant amount of money. Workplace wellness activities, such as fitness challenges, health screening, education programs, and mentorships, can help reduce employees’ stress and loss of motivation. A successful wellness program at your organization can improve the lives of your employees and the growth of your business.
Workplace Wellness Is Closely Tied To Mentoring Relationships
The topic of mentorship has come up a few times throughout some of the examples listed in this article. That's because the two are closely related.
Employee’s wellbeing is closely tied to the relationships they have with their colleagues and superiors. Employees with mentors are reported to be less likely to leave their current position and be more likely to say they’re well paid and valued for their work.
For that reason, a workplace wellbeing program that incorporates a formal mentoring program is an effective way to build, not only healthy and happy employees, but well connected and fulfilled workplace cultures. To learn more about the benefits of mentoring programs for employees and organizations check out our white paper on the ROI of mentorship: