Setting the foundation

An effective workplace wellness program requires a solid foundation, planning, and often a cultural shift to support employee health and wellness. It is important to understand and assess your workplace environment before planning your wellness program so you have a solid foundation for shifting your workplace culture.

Keys to success

The early stages of developing a workplace wellness program are critical to achieving long-term success. Consider these 4 key areas when starting your wellness program:

Having your senior management team recognize the benefits of workplace wellness and commit to making it work is perhaps the single most important piece to building a sustainable workplace wellness program. Senior management buy-in demonstrates the organization’s commitment to employee health. The business case section explains key selling points to support the case for your wellness program.
To reap the benefits of workplace wellness, see a return on investment, and improve employee health, it is important to establish a long-term commitment to bettering the workplace culture of health and wellness. Change does not happen overnight, and it can take months- or even years- before an organization experiences significant shifts in employee health behaviours and health related costs.
Asking employees what they would like to see in their wellness program provides a sense of ownership and higher rates of participation and engagement. A workplace wellness program should meet the needs of all employees regardless of their current health status. Therefore, it is important to survey your employees to determine their needs and interests. It is also important to assess the current state of your workplace policies and physical environment. Find out more about understanding your workplace and employee needs in our getting started section.
Assess the availability of resources in your workplace. These might include willing and capable staff, physical resources, and budget for events or incentives. Workplace wellness programs do not require an exhaustive list of resources. They should focus on maximizing the utility of existing resources. For instance, you can leverage internal staff time and use it to build and maintain a wellness committee. Employees come with a breadth of skills and resources; they can contribute to the creation of a comprehensive program and to program longevity

These key elements provide the foundation necessary for a successful and long-term wellness program. Workplace wellness initiatives can still happen without these factors, but efforts should be focused on building these keys to success to develop a program that has the intended impact. If you are not ready to develop a comprehensive program and are looking for activity ideas just to get you started, visit our wellness topics pages.

If you have the aforementioned elements already established in your workplace and are ready to take the next steps, visit our starting a program section.