Wellness programs have proven to curb rising insurance costs by encouraging healthy habits—and each year, more companies and organizations sign up for the challenge. According to a 2015 study conducted by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, nearly 80% of employers have committed to providing health improvement initiatives for their populations1. Not only that, they’re spending an average of $693 per worker. That’s up from $594 in 2014 and $430 in 2010.
Employers are clearly on to something. But just because a wellness program is firmly in place doesn’t mean employees know how to make the most of the tools offered to them—or that employers are using the health data they’ve gathered to create tailored initiatives for their employees.
Here’s a quick primer on three crucial steps you can take to ensure your company’s culture of health and wellness is the best it can be:
- Encourage Biometric Screenings
In 2015, nearly 72% of employers offered biometric screenings to their populations. Why? They’re simple and provide a wealth of data by which progress can be measured. These tests can establish body composition (BMI, body fat percentage and more) as well as cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides and blood glucose levels.
Armed with this information, people can gain a clearer understanding of their risks for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Plus, when combined with health education initiatives, biometric screenings can be a concise and quantifiable motivation toward positive lifestyle changes.
- Promote Health Assessments
Nearly 70% of employers offered health assessments to their populations in 2015, showcasing the recognized value for employees and employers alike. Not only are these assessments simple and quick to complete, but the reports give participants a good view on their current health status with results-oriented plans for healthier lives.
- Create Physical Activity Programs
In 2015, only 54% of employers offered incentive-based physical activity programs to their employees. The other 46% clearly missed out on a golden opportunity. Workplace health and wellness programs are one of the most effective ways of keeping productivity levels up while maintaining a healthy (and fun!) atmosphere around the office. And, best of all—they’re easy to implement.
Here are just a few ideas that have proven successful:
- Onsite lunchtime yoga classes with a certified instructor
- After-work softball games or tournaments with other local companies
- Afternoon run sessions in a local park or greenspace
- Incentives to sign up for a 5K marathon sponsored by a local or national non-profit for a good cause
- Discounted memberships to a local or onsite gym or fitness center
If you’ve never been involved with a wellness program before or have been using ours for years, get the full scoop on what employee health assessments can do for you. It’s just one way that WebMD works with you to continually advance health and wellness.