At first it was tough trying to convince employers that wellness had value. The game has changed. More employers are seeing the value in a wellness plan – around 75% of companies offer some kind of wellness resources or programs for employees.
Where I’m seeing a lot of hesitation now is in capacity to run these programs. I frequently hear some variation of phrases like “we don’t have the staff to administer any activities” or “we just don’t have time” from many of the leaner human resources (HR) teams I work with. I get it – in my previous role I sat in the HR department running the wellness program and I witnessed firsthand the struggles the staff had keeping up with their many tasks.
In spite of this past experience, I feel strongly that wellness is still within reach for a lean human resources department. It’s simply not worth losing out on wellness when there are so many readily accessible resources. I can think of a few top choices right now:
- Identify employees at various levels and in different departments, to volunteer to join a wellness committee, an underutilized resource by employers. These folks can assist the lean HR staff with leading employee wellness activities.
- Ask if your health insurance carrier can offer free health risk assessments, biometric screenings and flu shots.
- Ask a local hospital, nonprofit or other healthcare organization to provide presentations to your employees on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
- Provide healthier vending machine choices.
- Encourage employees to go outside during lunch or during their breaks for a quick run or walk, or take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
- Use the health plan carriers’ communications to provide educational materials on the benefits of eating well, exercising, not smoking and other healthy lifestyle changes
It’s fine to start with simple activities and lean programs – as long as you start somewhere.