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Starting a wellness program from American Express

Get Your Company Healthy: Tips on How to Start a Wellness Program

Starting a wellness program makes good business sense. You can take care of your company by helping your employees to take care of themselves — and incentivizing participants can help them stay motivated to reach their goals.

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Creating a Wellness Program That Works

Starting a wellness program at your company is not only beneficial to your employees’ health — it can also be valuable for your business’ bottom line. A healthier workforce is often more productive, incurs fewer sick days and can help lower company health care costs. Creating a wellness program from scratch starts with careful thought and planning, demands skillful implementation and depends on active employee participation. An innovative program, along with tangible incentives, can help keep your staff engaged and motivated.

Here are some ideas and suggestions that delineate how to start a wellness program at your company.

Planning

Your wellness program will be more successful if it reflects the needs and interests of your employees. Start with a survey or convene a small committee to determine what kind of programs and activities will appeal to the most people. Make sure management is fully on board and prepared to set an example for the rest of the company. If you’re starting a wellness program, your employees are more likely to participate if your top-level executives take the program seriously as well.

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Implementation

Kick off the program with a company-wide event. Consider catering a healthy lunch or bringing in a fitness expert to conduct the first in a series of weekly (or monthly) seminars and demonstrations. Topics might include healthy snacking at the office, stress management strategies, setting up an ergonomic workspace, or the health benefits of getting enough sleep.

During the kickoff event, have your employees establish personal goals, write them down and put them in places where they will see them every day. Creating a wellness program that appeals to each individual should start with the premise that everyone has their own definition of what wellness actually means to them.

Have everyone assess their progress at regular intervals. The weekly (or monthly) wellness events can be the perfect time for your employees to take stock of where they are and determine what they want to accomplish next in pursuit of their larger goals. And be sure to tell them up front about incentives your company offers to those who participate, such as American Express® Business Gift Cards.

Participation

After you figure out how to start a wellness program, the next challenge involves keeping your employees engaged. The program should be fun; if it starts to feel tedious, or if people lose interest, they’re more likely to abandon their goals. Apathy is contagious — but so is enthusiasm. Creating a wellness program that keeps your employees motivated will be more likely to help them get results.

Reward your employees for their participation and progress. Whether they are taking steps to quit smoking or making strides toward running a marathon, a simple incentive can go a long way. A good wellness program demonstrates that your company is invested in the health of its employees and encourages participants to stay committed to their goals.

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