4 Key Phases of Successful Employee Wellness Programs

4 Key Phases of Successful Employee Wellness Programs


More and more, businesses are offering incentives to their employees to get their health in order—and employees are starting to expect it!

Not only can an effective and engaging wellness program benefit your employees, it can benefit your entire business. Wellness programs have been shown to potentially lower organizations’ overall health care costs, reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and improve employee morale.

With all of these potential advantages, wellness programs seem like a wise investment for many businesses. But, how can you ensure your wellness program will be profitable for both your business and your team?

Below we outline four main phases of successful employee wellness programs to help you craft an effective strategy that will benefit your employees and your bottom line.

If you’re interested in learning more about fostering a culture of wellness in your organization, consider participating in our free, educational seminar titled, “How to Change Your Culture from Wellness to Wholeness.” Click here to contact us for more information.

4 Key Phases of Successful Employee Wellness Programs

What is a wellness program?

Traditional wellness programs tend to focus on areas such as health assessments, biometrics, lifestyle management, and disease management.

Improving these areas have value both to employees and businesses; however, many have found that limiting wellness to traditional programming is not as effective as they hope.

Unfortunately, employees can easily feel like wellness programs are punitive—meaning they feel like something is being done to them instead of for them. Programs also tend to target those who are already leading a healthy lifestyle and are frequently driven by reducing costs for the business.

So, what can you do to ensure your wellness program is as impactful as possible for both your employees and your business?

Developing Successful Initiatives

A simple but important distinction is to approach wellness as an initiative, rather than a program.

The word program tends to insinuate an action for a specific period of time. However, you don’t want your employees or your business to only benefit from wellness efforts for a limited amount of time.

Well-being initiatives communicate a desire to increase employee engagement, workforce effectiveness, and organizational health indefinitely.

Once you’ve committed to developing your well-being initiatives, there are four main phases you can follow to implement them for your organization.

1. Preparation

It’s crucial to start your well-being initiatives off with accurate preparation, so that you can be confident your efforts are in line with your employees’ needs and desires.

Analyze the needs of your employees by conducting surveys, interviews, and observations. Then, set clear objectives for your initiatives.

Once you have the data and objectives you need, identify potential leaders who would be good wellness ambassadors. Managers are invaluable as wellness leaders since they have the most face-to-face time with employees.

2. Involvement

Next, introduce your new well-being culture to your team and enable employees to create individual goals for their wellness growth.

To ensure all levels of your organization are on the same page, begin by introducing the new wellness vision to your leadership team, then work your way down until you’ve presented the plan to all of your employees.

Remember to be transparent as you explain why wellness matters at your company and how each individual employee contributes to the overall success of the initiatives.

3. Integration

Integrating your new wellness initiatives will take time and patience. Be sure to emphasize peer support as your team works to understand and adjust to new policies, procedures, and programs.

Work to create an environment where the focus is on the group’s overall well-being and improvement, and a sense of pride and accomplishment is the primary reward.

Examples of integrating wellness initiatives may include weekly meditation opportunities, developing a healthy catering policy, or encouraging 10 minutes of walking at 10 a.m. each day.

4. Sustainability

The fourth and final phase of implementing your new wellness initiatives focuses on creating a sustainable program.

Make sure you take the time to gather data on the success of your initiatives by surveying your employees. Once you’ve measured and evaluated the results, it’s crucial to celebrate where the initiatives have been successful and evaluate pitfalls so you can revise plans for the future.

Communicate your sustainability efforts through activities like pre and post program evaluations, recognizing employees who accomplished their goals, and delivering thank you cards to those who participated in your wellness efforts.

Make Wellness An Easy Choice

It will take time to develop a successful culture of wellness in your organization, but changes will become evident as you strive to make wellness an easy choice for your team. The benefits of investing in wellness reach beyond your business to the lives of your employees and their families, making it well worth the effort it requires.

We hope the overview of these four phases of successful employee wellness programs will help you craft an effective strategy that will benefit both your employees and your bottom line.

If you’re interested in learning more about fostering a culture of wellness in your organization, consider participating in our free, educational seminar titled, “How to Change Your Culture from Wellness to Wholeness.” Click here to contact us for more information.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever.