New workplace wellness guide available for employers

The guide does not prescribe one specific program but offers steps to help employers identify what type of wellness program is right for them. (Photo: Shutterstock)
The guide does not prescribe one specific program but offers steps to help employers identify what type of wellness program is right for them. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Wellness programs: they sound like a great way to decrease health care costs and improve employee productivity, at least on paper. The reality has proven to be more complicated, with mixed reviews on whether programs are effective or even target the population most in need of assistance, not to mention concerns about privacy and what a program can and can’t do. 

The Transamerica Center for Health Studies, in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces, has created a new resource to help.

Their free employer guide, “Finding Fit: Implementing Workplace Wellness Programs Successfully” designed specifically for small- and medium-sized organizations, does not prescribe one specific program but offers steps to help employers identify what type of wellness program is right for them.

“In this guide, we focused on giving employers the tools to match their workforce and workplace to their wellness program options. Not every wellness program fits every organization,” says Hector De La Torre, executive director of Transamerica Center for Health Studies. “With this approach, employers can promote employee health, increase participation and improve productivity.”

Following a comprehensive review of participation rates and effectiveness of existing wellness, the guide’s creators came up with eight different program options based on the time and resources available, as well as level of employer involvement:

  • Education Programs – pursued by employees at or outside of work

  • Social Community Building by the Employee – engagement in social activities to enhance social relationships

  • Social Community Building by the Organization – employer-led ownership of improving the workforce social community

  • Preventive Care Program (Lite) –- health assessments and preventative screening by the insurance vendor

  • Healthy Habit Development (Lite) – organization-led interventions encouraging healthier personal and work-related habits

  • Healthy Habit Development (Enhanced) – physical worksite environment enhancements facilitating healthier workday habits

  • Preventive Care Program (Enhanced) – partnership between healthcare providers and employer leadership to reduce incidence of serious illness and disease

  • Disease Management – employer investments in on-site medical clinics and/or occupational health programs

The guide’s authors also suggest various ways employers can encourage participation in wellness programs, primarily emphasizing benefits the program will have for the employee.

 

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