How to Gain Leadership Support for Your Wellness Program

Wellness programs have become a great solution for many companies trying to cut business costs. As health-related costs continue to increase, wellness programs offer an effective way of reducing costs by educating employees on developing a healthy lifestyle. Healthier employees result in lower overall absenteeism – a leading cause of decreased company productivity. Surveys world-wide show that leadership buy-in is key in developing and maintaining a successful program. The following steps can ensure any HR professional greater success in selling their wellness strategy to company leaders:

Get senior management involved

Although senior management prefers to streamline and delegate minor business programs, they are concerned about the impact programs will have on the business. Present your wellness mission and goals to them at the initial phase of the program. Encourage them to participate in the program by setting an example to other employees. Studies show management participation increases employee participation and overall program success.

Research and benchmark

Research case studies and benchmark other wellness programs in the industry. Analyse which initiatives were most successful, and which were not. Present your information to management, and be receptive to their goals and concerns. Let them know why you believe implementing a program would address employee productivity and cost concerns for your company. Be prepared to answer questions on ROI, budget, staffing, communication tools, activity planning, and outside resources. Think about your current company culture and analyse how it would be impacted by a wellness program. Let management know how you would assist in and encourage the transition.

Let the numbers do the talking

Present managers with supporting documents. Use absenteeism data to demonstrate any productivity loss. Many HR systems allow you to generate additional reports on workplace injuries and medical costs. These reports can also be beneficial in supporting your program. If you’re working with a wellness program provider, request an ROI analysis to present to management.

Tie in wellness strategy to overall business goals

Become familiar with senior management’s current business goals, and demonstrate how a wellness program can allow them to reach these goals sooner. For example, one company’s goal could be to increase employee morale. A possible solution would be to incorporate stress relief techniques – an activity sponsored by the wellness program – to relieve stress at work. A decreased stress level can instantly increase overall morale.

Describe your wellness program’s strategy and implementation

Develop a preliminary vision and mission statement to present to management. This will give management a clear idea of your overall program goals. Think about important program tasks, including:

  • Conducting employee surveys
  • Researching providers
  • Determining wellness committee members
  • Selecting communication tools
  • Increasing employee participation (i.e. rewards, competitions and goals)

Describe your plan and be receptive to your leaders’ feedback.

The bottom line

Wellness programs are becoming a great asset for many companies hoping to cut business costs and increase productivity. Studies show that leadership buy-in is key in developing and maintaining a successful wellness program. Through benchmarking, goal alignment, and development of program strategy, HR professionals can successfully gain leadership buy-in and maintain program success.

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