Employee Wellness Programs on a Shoestring Budget
Do you work in a small to medium sized business and have been given the responsibility of implementing a health and wellness program into your workplace on a very minimal budget? You might be wondering what initiatives you can implement that will give the biggest impact to your organisation. The aim of this article is to give you some tips and hints to help plan and implement a health and wellness program with the biggest impact on a limited budget.
There are many benefits both for an organisation and an employee for implementing a health and wellness program. These include:
For the organisation:
- Higher levels of employee engagement
- Reduced absenteeism
- Improved productivity
- Reduced injuries
- Improved employee morale and retention
- Improved physical fitness
- Improved relationships
- Increased stamina
- Lower levels of stress
- Weight reduction
- Increased well-being, self-image and self-esteem
There are six steps to implementing a health and wellness program into your organisation which are:
Step 1 - Leadership
Your health and wellness program will have a better chance of being successful when you have support from the leadership team to help drive initiatives.
Step 2 - Involvement
Engage your employees in the process to ensure the program is relevant to their needs. Conduct a survey to see what they want.
Ensure your employees know what the benefits are to them and to the organisation. Determine who is responsible for the program and ensure that person has capacity to really make health and wellness a focus within their role. You could even implement a committee to work together on the program.
Step 3 - Goals
Identify clear goals and objectives for your program. Focus on the specific needs and interests of your organisation and employees. For each goal have a SMART objective (Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Timeframe).
Ensure your initiatives meet the needs of your employees as this will have the biggest impact. Determine your budget.
Step 4 - Partners
Support required will depend on your initiatives. Partner with other organisations that may be able to provide resources and support to you such as gyms, weight loss programs and health insurance providers. Free or low cost resources are also available from voluntary organisations, health departments and government agencies.
Step 5 - Promote
Communicate, communicate, communicate – the more you can communicate and promote your program and the benefits to your employees the better success you will have. This will help to maintain continued momentum.
Put your plan into action and commence your program! Continue ongoing promotion and communication.
Step 6 – Evaluate
Continuing to evaluate your program can help with its effectiveness. Evaluate to ensure that it meets the needs of your employees and the organisation. Conduct regular surveys with your employees and find other ways to assess what is working and not.
What are some cost effective initiatives that can be implemented?
Your health and wellness program does not need to break the budget. There is a great amount of free or low cost initiatives that may be implemented. Ideas include:
- Start a walking group;
- Promote stand up or walking meetings;
- Provide regular communication on physical activity, nutrition, healthy recipes and links to relevant articles or websites. The internet is a marvellous tool for free information;
- Set up a pedometer event – 10,000 steps (a government initiative) is a great free resource for this program;
- Promote quit smoking programs;
- Implement policies and procedures that support your health and wellness program eg have a policy that includes the provision of healthy food at meetings. Set a rule of 70% healthy food at meetings;
- Hold a health expo with your health partners with fun, healthy activities;
- Partner with companies to provide corporate discounts, eg health insurance, gym memberships, yoga classes;
- Provide free or subsidised fresh fruit and vegetables at work; and
- Collaborate with voluntary organisations to run information sessions.
We would love to hear your ideas of the no cost or low cost health and wellness initiatives within your organisation.
For assistance with developing your Health and Wellness Program or any other HR Consulting advice please contact Harrison Human Resources on 1300 544 803.
Article written by: Rebecca Stoodley, Human Resources Consultant with Harrison Human Resources.