7 proactive ways to approach wellness in a workplace


The secret is like the secret to healthy eating—good portion control and biting off only as much as you can chew. Start small and implement a few features or programs. Increase the offerings as the culture begins to change and leaders and employees buy into the idea.

Some organizations begin with programs provided by their insurance carriers, often at little or no additional cost. Some may offer premium discounts as an incentive to starting a program.

No matter how modest the initiative, UBA says a solid strategy and clear goals are essential to give a program the best chance of success. For companies just starting out, here are some beginning steps:

1. Organize a planning group—possibly a subcommittee of your safety committee or a special task force with representatives from all departments and all shifts. This group will be responsible for designing a program, so it needs management support and adequate resources.

2. Identify a wellness champion who has the full support of management and is passionate about employee health.

3. Conduct a survey of employees to get a baseline on attitude and beliefs about what health and wellness and program elements to include.

4. Based on in-house resources, size, and scope, decide if your wellness program can be managed in-house or if you need an outside consultant.

5. Start slowly, even during the planning stage. Swap fresh fruit for donuts at meetings or start an informal walking group to get buy-in for these kinds of changes.

6. Once your program is rolled out, assess it regularly to track such issues including as user satisfaction, participation, health outcomes, behavioral change, cost, and value gained.

7. Consider ways to encourage participation, including incentives. These can range from points that are exchanged for merchandise to discounts on health premiums.