Report: Employers should broaden wellness programs beyond fitness and nutrition
- Wellbeing programs should provide health safety and promote health, according to a new Campbell Institute report.
- "A Systems Approach to Worker Health and Wellbeing" found that for employees to get the greatest benefit from wellbeing programs, employers should address such things as stress, flu shots, workplace fatigue, job security and overtime management, alongside program staples like fitness and nutrition. In a statement, the institute's parent organization, the National Safety Council, said employers frequently offer inadequate wellbeing programs, which it says can negatively affect organizational sustainability.
- The institute suggests that employers take a multifaceted approach to their wellbeing programs by using what it calls a "Plan Do Check Act" (PDCA) model. PDCA calls for employers to "plan," or select the best method to improve their wellbeing program; "do," or execute the plan; "check," or gather information that verifies the program's feasibility; and "act," or retain the gains made and correct actions as needed.
Wellness as an employee benefit has taken on a broader meaning. Wellness programs are often called well-being programs in order to reflect a holistic approach to employees' overall happiness and prosperity. As such, the concept of wellness is no longer just about healthy eating, physical fitness, weight control and smoking cessation. It has expanded to include more personalized offerings, such as mental health services, financial education, stress management, diabetes control and back-pain management.
Employers can make their wellbeing programs more personalized by adding benefits that help employees control major stressors in their lives and at work. The Campbell Institute lists overtime management and job security among those offerings. Stress is a particular problem in the workplace, because it statistically raises absenteeism and lowers productivity.
HR departments looking to transform their wellness programs into well-being formats can start by gathering data on what workers need and want. According to a Willis Towers Watson study, 61% of employees say wellness programs don't fit their needs.
- HR Dive 61% of employees say well-being programs don't fit their needs
- The Campbell Institute A Systems Approach to Worker Health and Wellbeing