The Seven C’s for creating effective wellness programs within your company.  (source WELCOA)

1.    Capture senior-level support. Approval from senior management is critical to the success of any employee wellness program. Senior staff must understand the benefits of the program for both the workers and the company and be willing to put funds towards its design, implementation and evaluation. Details of what other corporations are doing for their employee wellness programs and linking health promotion to business goals, values and strategic priorities will help to secure upper level management support. Managers who “practice what they preach” and take part in the initiative will go a long way to driving others to participate as well.

2.    Create an employee wellness team. Employee Wellness Teams should include a wide range of potential initiative participants including workers. Your team should include individuals who will be part of establishing the employee wellness program, implementing the health initiative and evaluating the employee wellness program. This establishes ownership of the health initiative and more innovative ideas. An employee wellness team will help to garner “buy in” from both senior staff and the participants, develop an employee program that is responsive to all potential participant needs, and will be accountable for managing all of the company’s wellness efforts.

3.    Collect data that will drive your employee wellness programs. Once your employee wellness team is established and senior staff is on board, it is time to collect baseline information to help assess worker wellness interests and risks. The results of your data collection will assist you in what kind of health programs to provide. This process may involve a survey of worker interest in various employee wellness programs, health risk assessments, and claims review to determine current worker disease risk.

4.    Craft an annual operating plan. For your employee wellness program to work, you must have a plan. A yearly operating plan should include a mission statement for the employee wellness program along with specific, measurable short-and long-term goals. Your employee wellness program is most likely to be a success when it is linked to one or more of the company’s strategic plans, as it will have an improved chance of maintaining the support of the powers that be throughout the implementation process. A written plan also provides continuity when members of the wellness team change and is important in holding the team accountable to the goals, objectives, and timeline agreed upon.

5.    Selecting the right employee wellness programs. The employee wellness programs that you select should flow naturally from your data (questionnaire, Health Risk Appraisal aggregate report, claims) to objectives. They ought to address prevailing risk factors in your workforce and be in line with what both upper management and workers want from the employee wellness initiative.

6.    Craft a supportive atmosphere. A supportive atmosphere provides workers with encouragement, opportunity, and incentives. A atmosphere of wellness that supports employee wellness programs might have such options as healthy food options in their vending machines, may not allow smoking or tobacco products and flexible work schedules that allow workers to workout. A workplace that appreciates wellness will celebrate and reward employee wellness achievements and have a management team that demonstrates healthy behavior. Most importantly, a atmosphere of wellness involves workers in every aspect of the employee wellness initiative from their design and marketing to their implementation and review.

7.    Consistently evaluate your outcomes. Evaluation involves taking a close look at your goals and determining whether you reached your desired result. Evaluation allows you celebrate goals that have been attained and to stop or change ineffective employee wellness programs.