Leadership and the Keys to a Successful Wellness Program
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 65% of adults do not exercise regularly; half of all adults have high cholesterol; 1 out of every 4 has high blood pressure and 30% are obese. Although these statistics are alarming from a wellness perspective, the benefit costs employers incur due to the above-mentioned health issues are just as profound.
Employer-sponsored wellness programs are considered important, because they offer workers and their families choices for pursuing healthier lifestyles andlead to less costly benefits packages. Wellness programs often include a health education and awareness component and, according to some analysts, these programs address issues that increase worker satisfaction and productivity, whichin turn, translates into happier clients.
Employers as a whole are generally consistent in the results they want from any wellness programs they implement:
- Lower health insurance claims
- Reduced workers' compensation injuries
- Improved productivity
- Lower health insurance trend factors
- Improved absenteeism rates
- Enhanced employee satisfaction and engagement
- Corporate culture
Part 1 - LeadershipWhen it comes to implementing effective wellness programs, leaders of many staffing agencies are met with the challenge of proximity. Because employees are typically spread throughout different locations, executive team members must rise to the challenge of promoting the effectiveness of employer-sponsored wellness programs more creatively.
When surveying our clients, one of the most common themes among successful wellness programs was buy-in and communication from senior leadership within the organization. Often times, we hear the phrase, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Studies show that employees are more apt to participate and get involved if the leadership team leads by example, regardless of location. Therefore, taking the opportunity to promote the program through letters from the CEO, email campaigns from other leaders in the organization and most importantly, becoming personally involved in the various wellness initiatives and events is the central component to creating a successful program.
A great way to kick-start a new wellness program or promote an existing one is to do so at a company-wide meeting. Even if its once a year, company meetings are effective avenues for the CEO to promote the initiative at hand. It demonstrates to employees that wellness is important enough to be a line item at an annual meeting.
Additionally, companies under proximity limitations can have leadership members conduct monthly or quarterly video messages. Although it is an email touch, seeing the face ofa leaderas he or she speaksaboutwellness initiativeswill motivate employees to become further involved.
Leadership and their continued involvement is crucial to starting a wellness program and making it successful. Wellness will not work without the backing and participation from the top.
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