The Strategy of Employee Wellness

Employee wellness is evolving within a rapidly changing work environment. Companies are now understanding that to be effective, wellness needs to be used as a business strategy, which means moving past the traditional concept of health and wellness in the workplace as a mainly physical approach and focusing, instead, on the concept of developing the whole person.  Using corporate wellness as a business strategy not only creates a competitive advantage for your business, but also implements evidence-based corporate wellness programming alongside workforce professional and personal development. At its core, this business strategy looks at what people factors are statistically connected to better business results, rather than focusing solely on the traditional management of risk factors (Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, Nutrition, Physical Activity) and claims of health care reductions.

The three main components of utilizing wellness as a business strategy include to:

  1. Create a Wellness Brand

  2. Develop your People and

  3. Evaluate and Improve

Wellness culture in business

As you create a wellness brand, the focus should be on creating a program that aligns with the overall cultural brand of your organization, while being relevant and meaningful to those in your organization (i.e. your employees and leadership). In the simplest terms, your brand should view your employees as your internal customers and answer this question, “Are they buying what you are selling?”

Your wellness brand should be purpose-driven, clearly defined with the actual values lived out in the organization and a true reflection of your company culture. This step is the foundation of creating wellbeing in your organization as people only support what they help create. And this includes all people; leadership down and back up again.  Branding includes really understanding WHY you have employee wellness at your organization and then being able to more accurately communicate why or why not certain results are being seen.

Once you have created a wellness brand essentially to “sell” to your employees, or internal customers as referenced above, then you are ready to move along to providing them a solution, which becomes your people development strategy. The development of your people needs to be values-first, strength-based approach that is convenient, easy and measurable. Lastly, and very importantly, your wellness brand needs to be a collaborative approach. Collaboration includes your leadership, your employees and your human resources department, including Talent & Acquisition, Benefits and any other department your organization deems a necessity. If you are truly using wellness as a business strategy, then it cannot be siloed as this will result in nothing more than implementing “just a wellness program;” one that does not produce the intended results of wellbeing, engagement, and health within your organization.

Employee engagement in workplace wellness

The last component of implementing an employee wellbeing strategy is to evaluate what you have done and improve upon it. Originally, when employee wellness programs were implemented, the main focus was return on investment. Many organizations asked, what’s the “ROI?” We are now seeing that companies are now interested in finding the “VOI” or value on investment. There are four main areas to evaluate on here:

  1. Programs and Program Participation

  2. Behavior and Habits

  3. Employee Wellbeing and Organizational Health and

  4. Business Results

It’s an exciting time in employee wellness; one of evolution and a rapidly changing workplace and workforce where developing your people is the new face of employee wellness.

Author Bio: Teresa Przetocki is a speaker, leadership coach and Corporate Wellbeing Consultant helping organizations redefine employee wellness to create thriving communities. Follow her on Facebook

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Yours in health,