How to Start a Corporate Wellness Program

My name is Brandon Fish and I’m the Vice
President of Human Resources here at Property Solutions. I’m Cammie Cable, Vice President of Human Resources at Clearlink. I’m Diana Hasslefield and I’m the
nurse practitioner here at Varian Medical Systems. I’m Chad Myler. I’m the
wellness coordinator here at USANA Health Sciences. I’m Randy Rasmussen, Vice
President of Human Resources at Nelson Laboratories. Advice I would give…really
find out what your employees like. We’ve tried lots of different things and we’ve
narrowed them down to just a handful of things that we now do consistently. So my
advice would be to make sure you’re finding activities and clubs or, you know,
gym passes or whatever it is, massages, that are things that the employees will
automatically or naturally enjoy. Then it becomes easier to develop a program and
develop a plan because they’re…they’re activities that your employees enjoy
doing. So i would start small, and then once you realize the things or discover
the activities that your employees like then build on that and come up with, you
know, three or four different wellness initiatives that will be, you know,
popular among the among the organization. So the Wellness Committee is comprised
of most of the people in HR and then we do have volunteers that in different
departments around the company, that it’s important to them, so they volunteered to
be on the committee. So they weren’t appointed they just basically came to us
and volunteer to be on the committee and when we do initiatives or activities
that are coming up and the committee—we involve the committee to make those
decisions and to coordinate all the activities. To someone at an organization who’s
looking to start a wellness program, my first recommendation would be
start small and build it into your culture because it should be part of who
you are not a byproduct of something on the side. We started our wellness
programs just very small. When I first came here in 1996, we didn’t have
anything here and so we started putting a few pieces of equipment exercise
equipment off of the front lobby and we purchased—some of those who were donated pieces of equipment, some of them we bought with our recycling fund money so
that it wouldn’t come out of a major fund. Since then, we have added and added
and we’ve got buy-in of our management staff and now we have a
fitness center that we’re going to expand. The fitness center is funded by
the regular health and safety and wellness budget and it’s going to be
managed by an off-site group eventually, but we just started very very
small. We started having a few exercise classes in the cafeteria after work and
because people were so interested, it grew and grew until we have a real active
wellness program today. Well I would say if you’re trying to start a wellness
program and you haven’t had anything in place, to try and get a few people that
are interested like get a group that likes to go out and walk together at
lunchtime or take the stairs. Start to put up a few little signs that say this
is what we’re doing to stay active or to lose weight or I would recommend that
you start small. Our group in New York has about 50 people there and they
started just having some people donate some pieces of exercise equipment and they
found a room that wasn’t being used, asked management if they could use that. Now
they have a little fitness center and people are utilizing that. They’re
getting Weight Watchers on site. They’re having a walking program at lunch and
it’s just starting to grow just gradually and that’s how you usually
start. First you know make sure you do have leadership buy-in if you don’t. But also find out what the employees want. Like, if they want it go
for it. If anyone’s trying to start a wellness program my advice would be to
first of all, understand your employee population and what incentives will work
best for them and what they will relate to and, and things that are easy for them
to get to buy into and then you need to look at what your company’s tolerances
for a return on investment of a wellness program, because you don’t get an
immediate return on investment. It’s usually three to five years before you
start seeing an improvement. So you have to gauge what the tolerance is for that
return on investment.

3 thoughts on “How to Start a Corporate Wellness Program

  1. Here is an article on Why companies Need Corporate Wellness Programs.

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