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corporate wellness programs

Successful Strategies for Corporate Wellness Programs

By Sep Barkhodaee
Published on April 21, 2014

While companies may assume that employees’ weight is a personal issue with which they should not get involved, it’s a concern that many firms are starting to focus on. When staff members are overweight, it can cause additional health problems, which lead to higher absences as well as bills for health insurance coverage. Additionally, those physical problems can greatly hinder productivity. A new CareerBuilder survey revealed that more than half of workers consider themselves overweight. Additionally, 39 percent of participants reported that the figure on their scale has risen since they joined their current job, with 21 percent packing on more than 10 pounds.

It’s no surprise then, that wellness programs are gaining steam. Still, some tactics can prove more successful than others in encouraging employees to watch their weight. Here are a few strategies that employers might want to embrace to expand these efforts.


1. Educate everyone
The fact is that for many people, gaining weight happens due to a lack of knowledge. When employees aren’t educated in the benefits of physical activity or how to adopt a healthy diet, they are unable to make smart choices. Giving them access to information about these subjects can empower them to make better decisions, which can significantly impact their weight. You might even create online courses about nutrition, which is a topic that a lot of individuals are not trained on. Test your staff members’ knowledge after these courses and keep track in the learning management system, offering a reward such as a party with healthy catering for those that score the best. Handing out a pocket booklet about reading nutrition labels or posting the information online will also help them to pack or buy better lunches at work. Your workers may be surprised by how much of a difference bringing their lunch or taking the stairs can make over time – provide statistics to inspire them.


2. Incorporate social
Today, social media plays an important role in your employees’ lives, so why not make use of those channels in your wellness program? MarketWatch reported that Paychex is one business that has seen success with this strategy. Last year, the company teamed up with ShapeUp to launch a number of wellness-focused activities, including a team-based six week challenge, and more than 5,000 staff members registered in a matter of three weeks. Staff members track their physical activity with different devices via a social platform, and can even launch one-on-one challenges with their co-workers. So far, MarketWatch reported that 65 percent of Paychex employees admit their health has improved sine starting the program. If you can’t afford to come up with a customized social platform for these initiatives, even developing a specialized Facebook page for employees to post fitness inspiration or a Pinterest page for healthy recipes can prove helpful.


3. Equip with technology
It goes without saying that fitness trackers are one of the trendiest gadgets today, so it makes sense to leverage the power and popularity of these devices for wellness programs. According to CIO, Appirio just launched their CloudFit program early last year, equipping 250 employees with fitness wristbands to count their steps and calorie burning. Additionally, more than 300 employees began sharing their exercise routines and workout tips on Salesforce Chatter, and a number of staff members crowdsourced to develop and distribute a collection of healthy recipes. Shannon Daly, Appirio vice president of human resources, noted that not only does this promote wellness in the workplace but it also offers a stronger sense of having a tight-knit culture. So it might be worth investing in a few gadgets for your workers to help motivate them in regard to healthy eating choices, exercise and overall well-being.

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