Managing Employee Health Programs November 3rd, 2010, by Ken Buckley

We often talk about the importance of maximising participation in corporate health programs, and one very necessary element for gainful levels of participation is involvement and support from upper management.

Senior staff and managers have an important role to play in the delivery of employee health programs, not only in managing the programs but also as role models communicating the wellness message of the company. So let’s go over some of the key aspects of managing a successful health and wellness program.

Role Modelling and the Wellness Message

When it comes to sending employees a message to take responsibility for their health, it’s really crucial for senior management to show they are practicing what they preach.

This doesn’t mean all of the senior staff members have to become marathon runners, but if we are to encourage employees to value their health and wellbeing and practice some basic health habits then it helps if the CEO and managers show that they are embracing the program.

Participating in program initiatives such as the annual health expo and HRA (Health Risk Appraisal) sends a strong message that health is valued and a priority within the organisation and encourages employees to do the same.

Allocating Resources and Responsibilities

You often hear the phrase ‘You get what you put in’. It’s true when it comes to health and it’s true when it comes to the success of corporate health programs.

Studies have shown that in order to see a meaningful ROI on programs, a substantial investment in required. Management need to allocate not only funding for health programmers but also space, staff and time.

Certain staff members should be delegated formal responsibilities. Larger companies may choose to form a ‘wellness team’ made up of senior staff, middle management and front line employees to help organise and communicate the goals of the programs at all levels.

While each member of the team should have clearly set responsibilities, it’s also a good idea for certain tasks to be shared so that when business or personal issues take a team member away, another member can step in and take over.

Goals, Planning and Marketing

Once sufficient data has been collected to identify the needs of the company, upper management should be responsible for setting the goals and objectives of the program and developing a mission statement.

An operating plan should be developed in conjunction with health programmers that is aligned with the organisation’s goals. Timelines should be established, including an initial program launch, and a highly visible marketing campaign should be devised to ensure all staff are aware of the program and excited.

This is a time for the CEO of the company to send a strong, positive message of support to employees. Consider sending out a letter to each member of staff highlighting the importance of good health and wishing them well in their efforts to make the most of the program.

Keep messages positive and encouraging, and employees will appreciate the support in helping to better their wellbeing and be much more likely to take the necessary steps towards improvement.

For more information on Employee Health and Corporate Health, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post718” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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