Achieve Greater Health Change With Employee Wellness Program February 18th, 2011, by Ken Buckley

Many companies have implemented and are currently running employee wellness programs. In the US, 93% of large firms offered at least one wellness program to their staff in 2009.

In Australia, even though workplace health/medical cover schemes don’t exist like in the US, more companies are investing in workplace wellness programs as a way of reducing the negative effects of a number of relatively recent changes in the workplace environment.

With over 60 years of existence in the US and over 40 years in Australia, employee wellness programs have dramatically improved in quality thanks to advances in knowledge and research. However, wellness index, health statistics, and most probably your own experience indicate there is still room for improvement.

The Centre for Health Research of Healthways, global wellbeing company, and major corporate health providers have identified a few areas in corporate health program design that can help you, OH&S, HR and Wellness managers, improve the outcome of your office wellness program.

Address social and emotional needs in addition to physical health
The Gallup-Healthways Wellness Index that has been recording data since January 2008 found strong connections between work environment, physical health and productivity; social support and wellbeing; exercise and level of stress; and BMI and emotional health, financial stress and recognition at work.

So to achieve even greater health changes with your wellness program, include components that not only address physical health but also social and emotional needs such as the ability to cope with stress and the presence of positive recognition for performance at work.

Select multiple modalities to fit all your employees
Depending on each employee’s style, age, level of education, social environment, they will be more receptive to certain information, messages and methods of contacts. Research has shown that different modalities such as online, telephone, face to face, can help achieve success with individual behaviour change. So both the use of multiple modalities and the opportunity to select a preferred one can improve outcomes.

Use the right marketing message for your staff
The way you communicate with your staff will determine how successful your wellness program is. Workplace wellness programs pursue two goals, first to transform employees’ lives by improving their health and second, to impact on companies’ bottom line. So because these programs accomplish two things, the way you communicate is crucial. When you communicate with your staff, think like one and remember that employees don’t really care about how wellness programs will improve on the company’s bottom line. Employees care about what’s in it for them, so tell them how their lives will be better by attending well designed corporate wellness programs.

For more information on Corporate Wellness Programs, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post963” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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