While there are many pieces of the wellness puzzle, there are some guiding principles behind great wellness programs. Let’s call them the 10 commandments of a wellness practitioner:

  1. you shalt give employees a roadmap of your wellness plan. Tell your employees why you are offering wellness benefits and clearly explain the plan. For example, will they be expected to complete the HRA and screening every year? Will it be an outcomes-based wellness program? Just give them the details and be honest.
     
  2. Thou shalt cultivate a culture that promotes health. The wellness program needs to be part of the organization’s DNA. That includes the physical characteristics such as lighting, noise, air quality and ergonomically correct furniture. It also includes things like healthy cafeteria options, smoke-free polices, flexible work schedules, and opportunities for physical activity. 
     
  3. Thou shalt solicit input from all levels of the organization when designing your wellness program. Rather than imposing workplace wellness as a top-down directive, work with employees so they have a voice in selecting program elements. This will also help ensure that programs are culturally relevant to the workforce.
     
  4. Thou shalt build a strong brand. What do I mean by brand? A brand is the value, the emotion, the connection an employee has with your program. A strong brand helps employees easily identify communication and sends a message that the program is here to stay.
     
  5. Thou shalt not be a bully. You cannot force people into taking better care of themselves. So instead of forcing people to change, facilitate change for those who are ready and want help. 
     
  6. Thou shalt measure success. Utilize a scorecard to share achievements. Include things like health risk status, participation, safety, productivity and organization culture. Also, include testimonials and stories from participants.  
     
  7. Thou shalt partner with other teams. You can add value to your program by collaborating with other teams like corporate communications, EAP, benefits, and safety.
     
  8. Thou shalt use the power of positive messages to drive engagement. Employees get tired of being nagged with doom and gloom messages. Use messages that can have an immediate impact. Things like “Remember to get up and stretch for at least two minutes every hour” or “Have eight ounces of water for a quick energy boost.”
     
  9. Thou shalt not just focus on physical health. Wellness is not just about physical health. Career, financial, spiritual, and community aspects are big contributors to overall well-being.
     
  10. Thou shalt not give up. Let’s be honest, changing health behaviors ingrained over years is tough. There will be days that you want to throw in the towel. Wellness is a long, hard, time consuming endeavor but it is worth the effort.
Company Health & Wellness 10 Commandments

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