5 Mistakes to Fix ASAP Within Your Corporate Wellness Program

Posted by Seraine Page on Thu, May, 21, 2020

MistakesAre you wondering why your corporate wellness program isn’t working?

It could be a simple fix.

Sometimes, company wellness programs need a makeover with the help of employee feedback. Other times, it could be as simple as getting leadership to approve a budget that supports the wellness programs needed.

A thoughtfully-curated corporate wellness program will reduce healthcare costs, skyrocket employee productivity, and improve employees’ well-being. As with most programs, if you don’t evaluate what’s going well or not-so-well, it can be difficult to upgrade and improve success rates.

This post will take a look at common — yet simple to fix! —mistakes companies make when managing their wellness programs. As you develop or update yours, don’t make these five mistakes.

What is a Corporate Wellness Program?

A corporate wellness program is a company-backed approach focused on improving employee health. It may include a variety of campaigns or events targeted toward specific health goals to increase employee wellness.

Some programs may include campaigns like:

  • Health screenings
  • Educational seminars
  • Weight-loss programs
  • Tobacco-cessation programs

The goal is always to improve employees’ overall health, increase workplace productivity, and lower healthcare costs. Not having a corporate wellness program can be a costly mistake, especially if your employees aren’t invested in maintaining or working on their health on their own.

Mistake #1: No Support From the Top

Remember that old song from school “We’re following the leader?” That same jingle applies to corporate wellness programs, too. If the leadership of a company isn’t promoting healthy behaviors or following through on any, then it’s a hard sell to get employees to follow. Employees watch leadership with a critical eye, especially if a culture is more “do as I say, not as I do.”

The Fix: Employees are more likely to participate if leadership is active in promoting and supporting the company’s wellness culture. Doing so helps keep the initiative from dwindling if the program is held accountable by the top. Have a solid wellness committee to organize campaigns and connect early on with executives for buy-in and for funding.

Mistake #2: No Consistency

Employees are more likely to join in and benefit from regularly planned events. They’ll even come to expect and look forward to them if they are executed well. Having a set schedule and overall plan allows for more effective marketing and budgeting of each wellness campaign.

The Fix: Holding consistently planned events demonstrates a corporate dedication to the corporate wellness program and to the health of the employees.

Mistake #3: No Feedback from Leadership or Employees

There’s no improving any program or campaign if valuable feedback isn’t offered. Any established wellness program is there to serve and support employees and administration; it can’t be run in a vacuum. Give employees the programs they need and want by surveying them and tailoring programs to their responses.

The Fix: Get feedback after events to learn what worked, what didn’t, and what you’re missing. Use something as simple as a comment box in the breakroom or a survey sent out through a free server like SurveyMonkey. For wellness committees that appoint chairpersons or team leaders to run events, host a meeting directly after the campaign to pinpoint easy fixes while it’s fresh in everyone’s minds. Create a document or checklist to refer to for the next event.

Mistake #4: No Solid Goals

Your corporate wellness program should have both short- and long-term goals that make sense for your company and your employees. The wellness program needs to be tied into the organization’s mission and vision in order to create an evergreen and lasting program. Whether you want to reduce employee absenteeism or reduce healthcare costs, having clearly-defined goals will ensure the success of your wellness program.

The Fix: At the start of every new campaign or program your wellness committee develops, set specific and measurable goals. Keep in mind what metrics you measure success by — Healthcare reduction costs? Participation rates? Employee satisfaction?

Mistake #5: No Generational Program Differences 

Recent Gallup research found five interconnected elements of well-being that impact everything from health status to work performance: Career, social, financial, physical, and community well-being.

The research found that one out of 14 people is successful in all five areas.

As you can imagine, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work well for well-being and health concerns. In a workplace where there’s usually a mix of Gen X, Baby Boomers, and Millennials, it may feel challenging to address everyone’s issues.

Well-being is personal to every individual, especially in the above five categories. For example, Millennials may be physically fit, but not so much financially fit. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are edging closer to retirement while also trying to maintain their health to enjoy retirement to the fullest. Cater programs to specific needs for the best results by asking employees about top well-being concerns.

The Fix: When leadership understands that different generations have specific and unique well-being issues that require support, it makes it easier to increase the number of employees thriving. Surveying individual generations and their needs can help leadership better understand what type of programs would work best for each group.

Final Tips on Creating a Successful Corporate Wellness Program

Designing and maintaining a successful corporate wellness program doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes strong leadership buy-in and the dedication of a wellness committee focused on what works best for employees. Like most health goals, a subpar wellness program won’t turn up major results. Consistency is key.

A few final reminders on making your wellness program run well:

  • Work with leadership - Keep leadership as involved as possible to make wellness an integral part of the organization's mission and culture.

  • Align programs with long-term corporate goals - Revise the mission/vision if necessary.

  • Create a responsive wellness committee - Ensure the committee has the right people with access to leadership and employees who are willing to use surveys and listen to both parties to stay on track.

  • Build out an annual plan - A long-term plan makes it easier to set monthly, quarterly, and annual goals for the wellness program. Don’t forget to add costs to the annual budget.

  • Experiment with your marketing efforts - Replicate what works to keep employee engagement high. Try a mix of social media, email blasts, in-person reminders, etc.

  • Survey, research, results, repeat - Collect and evaluate data on your program's progress/results. Use this vital information to tweak for success and to show leadership success for continued support.

Above all, remember that successful wellness campaigns are not “set it and forget it” initiatives. The most fruitful wellness programs are ones that evolve and grow with the organization and participants’ needs.

Ready to plan out a year of wellness campaigns? Check out our free download: The Ultimate 12-Month Planner for Creating Workplace Wellness Campaigns.

Employee Wellness Handbook

Topics: Wellness at Work


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