Thursday, December 04, 2008

ARTICLE - Extending your Corporate Wellness Program

More and more often our corporate wellness clients are asking us how they can extend the benefits of their employee wellness programs to their employee's dependants.

If you understand the great return on investment employers get from wellness programs, it makes perfect sense to extend these benefits to others who are covered by the companies insurance program and are therefore affecting the cost.

There are some challenges to extending the wellness program beyond the employees. Firstly wellness programs offered at work are often utilized due to their convenience. Family members are typically not physically at the workplace to participate in on-site initiatives. This can be overcome by offering wellness education with take-away items that could be passed on to family members. Also, offer a number of off-site events outside of business hours such as a company sports/games day where employees can bring their families along to participate.

The key thing though is to get the employees engaged in the programs and then lead by example. Inactive parents almost always lead to inactive kids. If your employees are adopting healthy habits, the children often follow.

Incentives almost always work too. Reward the employees and their families for participation and do not focus on results like weight loss. If they participate, they will get healthier. The key is to reward them for activity and healthy habits, not just for signing up.

The single biggest success factor is promotion of the program. If everyone else is doing it, there is a huge incentive for those less likely to take part and these are often the people in the more at-risk group.

If you have any questions about setting up a wellness program at your site, email them to