Wellness Program Design Important for Employers

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Wellness program design is important for employers
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Millennials are now the largest, fully employed generation as the baby boomers have started to retire.  With the healthy, active lifestyle that the millennials employ, many companies have put wellness programs in place.  Today’s workplace wellness is not just about smoking cessation and weight loss in order to reduce insurance premiums — employee mental health is now also a focus!

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According to Dr. Steven Aldana of Well Steps, there are five benefits of a Wellness Program that every employer should know:

  1. Improve Employee Health Behavior
  2. Reduce Elevated Health Risks
  3. Reduce Healthcare Costs
  4. Improve Productivity
  5. Decrease Absenteeism
  6. Improve Employee Recruitment and Retention
  7. Build and Sustain High Employee Morale

4 Tips to Boost Wellness Program Utilization

How can you create a unified wellness program that employees actually will use?  When we consider benefit packages, we tend to think of healthcare, retirement plans, maternity leave and paid time off, but do we also envision employee happiness and health?  Of course, not every business can afford to jump into the latest health trend, but here are some ideas employers can implement to improve their workplace wellness.

  • Personalize your wellness program by getting one-on-one coaches, or internal ambassadors, who communicate with your staff to ensure all benefits are being utilized.
  • Make it easy for your employees to exercise by offering to pay for or reimburse gym memberships, or even turning an office space into a small fitness center.
  • Motivate your employees by posting reminders about your health and wellness perks throughout the workplace and encouraging team members to be active.
  • Support mental health by providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and dismissing the stigma that surrounds mental health issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse or addiction. Encourage employees to take time off for themselves.

Participatory vs. Health-Contingent Wellness Programs

Be aware of the final rules for Workplace Wellness Programs under Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act), as there are two main types of workplace wellness programs: Participatory and Health-Contingent.  Health-Contingent wellness programs require participants to perform an activity or achieve a specific outcome in order to receive a reward (such as lower health premiums).  As an employer, you could find yourself in trouble with Health-Contingent programs, due to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and HIPAA rules that govern those programs.

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Participatory programs either do not require participation to meet health standards, or they do not provide a reward to employees as Health-Contingent programs do.   Participatory programs are not considered discriminatory under the new rules, provided that the programs are open to all similarly situated employees, regardless of health status.

If you’re interested in creating a happy and healthy workplace, talk with a Staff One HR Manager today at 1.800.771.7823 or contact the author directly at marissa.corken@staffone.com.