Wellness program. It’s the hot thing to say and do these days. Companies ranging in size from mom-and-pop shops to large enterprises are realizing that a successful wellness program can reduce health insurance premiums.
Unfortunately, most wellness programs today are just fluff and givebacks. Give employees 10 percent off their gym membership. Give them 10 percent off at Whole Foods. Give them free yoga classes at lunch time.
The real giveback of a true wellness program is that you’re adding years to the lives of your employees. In some cases, you’re saving their lives.
Companies like Johnson and Johnson blazed the trail for corporate wellness because they’ve built a wellness culture. The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 but Johnson and Johnson had a corporate wellness program back in the 1980s.
They’ve succeeded because they understand the definitions of health and wellness. That’s the first step to implementing a corporate wellness program.
The World Health Organization got it right when they defined “health” more than half a century ago. Health is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Wellness is a comprehensive approach to obtaining optimal health. More specifically, as the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language says, wellness is the condition of good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise, and habits.
As you begin to develop a corporate wellness program, look at this definition of wellness and ask yourself if this is the goal your program is designed to achieve.
I understand the desire to reduce health insurance premiums. Not only are they bankrupting our healthcare system, but they’re crippling small businesses. However, the primary goal of a corporate wellness program has to be to motivate employees to obtain wellness, which will ultimately help you reduce insurance costs.
This can only be achieved through behavior modification, not discounts at the gym and the grocery store.
If you want your corporate wellness program to work, you need to start by choosing a healthcare educator or wellness professional who inspires through education and serves as the spokesperson for the program. This person should be a wellness professional who can keep the program focused on wellness and rally support for the program among employees.
This is essential because most people don’t realize how sick they are and how poorly they feel, function, think and sleep, and they view wellness programs as something they’re being forced to do. They have to go to the gym. They can’t eat certain things anymore. They have to meet with a doctor and have their blood tested.
When you focus on the Triad of Health, with proper nutrition, proper exercise and a good mental state, you change physically and biochemically. Being healthy and well feels really good. This may seem obvious, but again, most people don’t realize how unhealthy and unwell they are.
“Feel better, function better, live longer” isn’t a phrase I chose for Natural Healthcare Center because it sounds nice. It describes the results of a wellness lifestyle.
Implementing a corporate wellness program begins with understanding what wellness means, building a culture that supports this definition, and choosing the right person to lead your program. In the next post, we’ll discuss the next steps to implementing a wellness program.
This is one of many topics that I cover in my Wellness at Work presentations. If you’d like to learn more or schedule a presentation at your company or organization, call 732-222-2219 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.