HR TIP: WELLNESS PLANS THAT WORK – DESIGN BY INDUSTRY TO FIT EMPLOYEE NEEDS

Wellness was one of the hottest topics at SHRM’s recent annual conference. Not only is the number of companies offering workplace wellness programs increasing, but the scope of the benefits and resources offered as part of the program are expanding as well. SHRM’s recently-released 2015 Employee Benefits Survey reports that 70 percent of employers said they offer wellness programs, up from 62 percent last year.

Of the companies offering wellness programs, the majority offer “routine” wellness programs, including wellness resources and information; flu shots; a 24-hour nurse hotline; smoking cessation programs; health fairs and health screenings; and health and lifestyle coaching.

Some of the more unusual ones that caught my eye on the long list of wellness offerings in the SHRM report included providing a standing desk (25 percent of companies did!); fitness bands and trackers (13 percent); and an on-site vegetable garden (5 percent). And 40 percent of the companies offer rewards or bonuses for completing certain health and wellness programs.

I’ve been reading numerous wellness plan articles lately and one that caught my eye was Dan Cook’s June 15 article in BenefitsPro.com on designing wellness plans by industry. He reports on a study that sheds light on ways to redesign wellness programs to fit the needs of employees in specific industries. Most wellness plans don’t factor in specific occupations. According to the study, employees in agriculture, arts and media, education and tourism and hospital industries were generally active, happy and healthy and thus not in dire need of wellness activities to improve their health. On the other hand, those who could benefit from a wellness program to a great degree and had efficient programs available were in pharmacy, chemicals and auto industries.

However, nine industries including oil and gas, electronics, utilities and telecom had wellness programs available but the plans were not well designed for those workers’ needs. Take a look at the Withings Corporate Wellness 360 Study for a new approach to how you design your wellness programs.

And don’t forget financial wellness in your program. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, there are employees in your workforce – more than you realize – who can benefit from financial education and financial wellness programs.

Happy designing!

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