Simple Cost-Effective Steps to Start a Wellness Culture in Your Company

By Ed Ligonde | Posted: August 16, 2017

Did you know that 2 out of 3 employees are interested in an employer-sponsored wellness campaign?

Many organizations WANT to start a wellness campaign, but as we are all human, we have concerns.  How much is this going to cost?  Where do I start?  What methods are effective? Are the employees even going to appreciate the incentives and take advantage of the program?  These are all valid concerns.  Follow these steps to start on the right foot:

Step 1 – Build a Team: Depending on the size of your company or organization, you can build a wellness team.  Find a few employees of varying lifestyles (athletes, management, and active employees) in order to create an eclectic team.  Schedule time to meet together to discuss some of the company goals with your new wellness initiatives and brainstorm ideas.  By putting together a team, you may find out key health concerns of employees within your company, which may help pinpoint your goals.  Don’t be afraid to put together an employee survey.

Step 2 – Identify Incentives: By putting the carrot in front of the horse, you can attract movement.  Employees can become increasingly more engaged in any employer-sponsored wellness initiative if there are incentives involved.  Remember, the bigger the investment, the bigger the return.  So, try having multiple different incentives.  Find ways to ensure cash incentives are being used for the appropriate ways.  For example, giving away merchandise can spark higher expected participation.  Complementing them with smaller $25 gift cards to healthy places such as Subway, Trader Joes, or Whole Foods will ensure that more than just one person can feel like a winner.  Don’t forget to promote employees reaching out to their medical providers to get their preventive checkups.  This can be a great start to your wellness campaign.  Start a raffle for those employees who can prove they have scheduled and gone on their wellness visits within a competition month.  Also, when the competition ends, let the winner(s) be known!  Research shows that employers have a higher rate of retention when employee praise is exhibited.  Use it to your advantage!

Step 3 – Communicate with Your Employees: HR is the heartbeat of any organization.  Any of these ideas will need to be infused through the HR department.  Start sending monthly (or if you’re ambitious – weekly) wellness tips, reminders or even recipes!  Remember, since this is new, it may take a little time to find some traction, but you will find that if done right and if done in a positive manner, your employees will appreciate the fact their employer is concerned about their employees’ health.

Step 4 – Use Your Resources: Your medical carrier is a database of wellness knowledge.  Use it!  Call us here at Montage or talk to your medical carrier representative to find out which websites are useful.  On these websites, you’ll be able to find multiple marketing materials and statistics.  Take little tidbits from these sources and turn it into your monthly wellness newsletter.  Some medical carriers even have smartphone apps.  For those computer and tech savvy employees, this is an incredible tool to help infuse wellness on the go!

Step 5 – Practice What You Preach: Employees will learn more and find ways to engage themselves if they see that the promoter of the wellness campaign is also engaged and changing their daily habits to healthy behaviors.  If you’re sending reminders to employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator, use the stairs yourself!

Step 6 – Make Changes in the Workplace: What’s inside the vending machine or inside the refrigerator in the break room?  Start by providing an assortment of healthy options for snacks such as yogurt & fruit instead of bagels & cream cheese.  Who orders the food for company lunches?  Look to healthier alternative locations or food to deliver.  Order salads and sandwiches rather than pizzas and pastas.  These foods will also keep the energy level up.  Pin up wellness posters.  Remember, you can obtain many wellness posters and healthy material directly downloaded from your medical carriers’ website.  Not sure how to find it?  Ask your broker or carrier representative.  Did you know that the size of bagels has doubled in the past 20 years?  Believe it or not, it’s more than just double the calories, too!

Step 7 – Promote Emotional Health: Take advantage of your Employee Assistance Program.  Being healthy isn’t all about eating and exercising.  We need to keep our minds and emotions healthy as well.  For example, pin up posters giving employees information about your company Employee Assistance Program.  EAP’s have credit card sized information pieces with contact info that employees can keep in their wallets.  Reinforce these resources as a place for your employees to turn if they have stress issues arising.
Don’t have an EAP?  Believe it or not, it can be free to your company.  Call us at Montage Insurance Solutions to learn about adding an EAP for your next open enrollment.
These are simple cost-effective, yet comprehensive methods to START a wellness culture within your organization.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact an Account Executive at Montage Insurance Solutions 1 (888) 839-2147 to learn how we can help start your wellness initiative and Catch 21 Days of Wellness coming out this month.

Take care.  Be well.

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