Three keys to introducing a Corporate Wellness Program

Oklahoma faces many challenges in the workplace, but the overall health of its workforce is one significant obstacle. Oklahomans rank 46th in the United States for overall health. And as companies consider solutions to address the issue, it’s not realistic to think that many companies can install a gym onsite or hire a full-time wellness coach. However, there are several components of proven practices for workplace wellness, along with cost-effective ways to implement them. Here’s three things you can implement at your job site to start a Corporate Wellness Program that will have an impact on your employees:

Key No. 1
Establish and model a culture of wellness
Start with your senior leadership to establish a culture that values wellness. To start this, seek to understand the current value of wellness among both your leadership and your employees. Do employees and your company leaders truly value health and overall well-being? If not, encourage your leadership to start having conversations about the importance of health when applicable.

Next create a culture of wellness through sponsored activities that celebrate wellness success. Change vending machines to serve nutritionally dense foods. Organize employee-led teams for 5K events or other fitness activities. If in budget, sponsor wellness events where your company logo can be associated with events that promote wellness.

These efforts will subtlety show your employees that wellness is a priority for your company.

Key No. 2
Develop short- and long-term wellness goals
Without clearly defined goals, any project or program will fail. Involve key decision makers to formalize goals and think through what you are trying to accomplish. Create a wellness committee from people from every department to ensure the entire company understands the goals, objectives and activities of the wellness program. Consider what efforts the company has made in the past and what was successful and what wasn’t so successful. Be sure your committee members have defined roles and responsibilities to ensure the program is successful.

Key No. 3
Develop tangible programs with quantifiable results. Here are two programs to consider that would promote wellness for your committee to consider implementing:

Tobacco Cessation Program
Oklahoma ranks 45th in the United States for tobacco use, and the biggest cost-saving service an employer can offer is a comprehensive tobacco benefit. Providing an on-going smoking cessation program for employees increases overall health and productivity. The CDC reports that men who smoke incur about $16,000 more in lifetime medical expenses and are absent from work four days more per year than men who do not smoke. Women smokers incur about $18,000 more in expenses and are absent two more days than their non-smoking counterparts.

The CDC recommends that insurance providers offer smoking cessation benefits that cover at least four counseling sessions as well as prescription and over-the-counter nicotine replacement medication with no co-pay. And, the State of Oklahoma offers free smoking cessation resources: Check them out here.

Incent Annual Wellness Exam Participation
Almost all corporate health insurance plans include a benefit for an annual wellness exam. However, only 18 percent of Oklahomans receive their annual exam. The major benefit to the exam is to know your numbers, which refers to key markers of heart health like: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference.

Although doctors test most of these numbers at annual check-ups, it’s important that you know your numbers and understand what they mean. By keeping those numbers within a healthy range, you can greatly improve your heart health and reduce your risk for heart disease. Total Wellness will come out to your worksite and provide annual wellness exams for free for all health insurance plans that are fully funded. Self-funded plans receive discounted pricing.

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