Creating a Corporate Wellness Program

Creating a Corporate Wellness Program

Take a look at all those high-profile companies who are successful, and among all the common denominators that make them great, you’ll see wellness programs. And it’s not just those innovative tech companies—Google, LinkedIn, Airbnb, etc.—but the more traditional companies like General Mills and Aetna also have them.

Developing a wellness program is not only the right thing to do, but it comes with a bevy of benefits. In addition to holding down health insurance costs and producing a healthier workforce, a wellness program can lead to greater productivity and help you retain your best workers. All this adds up to a stronger bottom line.

You might be convinced that such a program could be right for your business, but you’re not sure how to get started. Here are a few suggestions to help you launch your corporate wellness program:

Take your time

Get started planning right away, but don’t rush the details. Make sure your program centers on the needs of your employees by surveying them. Give them a half dozen or so wellness ideas and see which ones resonate with them. The survey will help you determine their needs and concerns–for some, it could be lifestyle issues, and others might simply want to become more active.

With this information, you can make up a strategic plan that has measurable goals and focuses on the specific objectives you and your workers have chosen.

Look at the big picture

Your wellness program should be more than a project or an initiative. If its only intent is to decrease health care costs, you’ll be missing the bigger picture. You need to realize that the program will usefully impact the business with increased productivity and lower turnover rates, and it will play a significant role in defining your company’s culture. That’s why it’s so important to get as many workers, departments, and management people as possible to participate.


Communicate the benefits of the program upfront to ensure maximum participation and enthusiasm. After the program is in place, it’s important to keep communicating consistently and often. Don’t leave anyone to wonder how the program is working. You could try running regular reports to assess how the program is improving employee health and share the results with them.

Publish the wellness program guidelines, and include them in your employee handbook. Hang posters around the workplace that educate employees about your wellness program.

Be patient

Don’t expect your wellness program to save you millions of dollars in the first six months. The success of the program depends on behavior changes from your workers, and that takes time. Wellness programs typically show a positive ROI around 18 months, so be patient.

The good news is that a recent Harvard University study on 36 corporate wellness programs revealed that for every dollar spent on wellness, employers saved $3.27 on healthcare and $2.73 on costs related to lost productivity and absenteeism.

That sound like a good reason to be patient!

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