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Nonprofit HR’s Blog

Now more than ever, the topic of health and wellness is becoming a popular discussion in our society. Adopting a holistic and healthier lifestyle not only has significance in one’s personal life, but in the workplace as well. As an HR professional, I often receive questions from applicants regarding a prospective employer’s health and wellness program. Based on those experiences, it’s clear that this benefit offering continues to increase in value.

When thinking of the myriad of benefits currently in the market and of the various carriers who offer them, one may think that only larger companies with extra finances to spare are equipped to implement a comprehensive wellness program. Indeed, having more resources can develop dynamic health and wellness programs, but smaller organizations with more limitations (i.e. lower budget and resources) shouldn’t count themselves out of the potential impact they could have on their employees. According to a recent webcast given by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 78% of employees who are in good health are also happy with their jobs. Because employees spend most of their time in the workplace, employers have a unique space to create opportunities for employees to maintain good health.

Realizing the limitations of many organizations, it’s especially important to be mindful of what’s needed to create the best possible programs specific to your organization.

  1. Ask the basic, but relevant question: How are you going to attract participation from your employees? One way to foster participation is to conduct a survey to gauge the interests and needs of your staff. People will be more likely to participate if the programs align with their personal goals and values.
  2. Ensure that senior leaders and managers are on-board to help bring awareness to the programs offered by encouraging their direct reports to participate.
  3. Examine the different demographics within your organization. If you have a multi-generational workforce, recognize that you will need to develop programs to engage not only millennials, but Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, too.
  4. Lastly, identify opportunities that can cultivate your culture and business goals. For instance, conducting an employee engagement survey can be a great tool to promote an organization’s culture; it shows that the organization values employee feedback as meaningful information and it may be used to shape its leaders’ decision-making.

Once you understand the organizational culture and what your employees want, it is time to get creative and build out those ideal programs. A simple benefit to support health and wellness is educating your employees regularly. For example, organize weekly newsletters on helpful tips and relevant research findings that employees can apply towards their daily routine. If your organization thrives on a culture that values employee connectivity, an excellent program would be hosting a monthly Brown Bag Wellness Workshop where employees can come together discuss an array of topics to support healthy living. For mental rejuvenation, ask a community therapist to conduct a seminar to address best practices on stress management, anxiety or depression. Are your employees interested in yoga? Consider morning yoga sessions on Fridays and before you search for teachers externally, check with your staff as someone may very well be a certified yoga instructor and willing to teach classes!

Overall, the buzz around health and wellness in the workplace allows employers to not only show interest in their employees’ wellbeing, but to create programs that build an attractive culture. The programs employers implement are a direct signal to employees that the organization cares about them, which in turn generates trust and increased job satisfaction and also boosts morale.

Outside of the many components to create effective health and wellness programs, a key element is to ensure that programs are holistic and target different aspects of your employee’s life (i.e. eating habits, social opportunities, stress management etc.). The time to create a culture of health is now!

Ergonomics : https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/

SHRM: https://www.shrm.org/learningandcareer/learning/webcasts/pages/0816bamboohr.aspx


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