News: August 2012

Corporate wellness

As the current economic climate puts staff under increasing levels of stress, businesses have begun to shift their focus to corporate wellness. So, what defines a good corporate wellness programme?

A common characteristic of good wellness programmes is that they are customer driven, meaning that they solicit on-going feedback from the end users (such as your staff) on programme design and operation. In fact, failure to gather employee input places your programme’s success at risk. An important tool for this purpose is the “corporate wellness needs assessment”, which systematically evaluates how the environment (social, work, personal) and worker perceptions affect their ability to practice healthy lifestyles and participate in your initiatives.

The needs assessment reveals how a group believes things currently are against how they want things to be. These beliefs represent reality as the group sees it, usually associated with organisational and/or individual performance.

When conducting a needs assessment, a business owner or manager should survey as broad a cross-section as possible. Following this, it is worthwhile to try and identify wellness needs by major sub-categories within that group, such as male/female, ethnicities, hours, age groups, or departments. For instance, the nutrition challenges of shift workers would require different wellness program elements from day workers.

Be sure to include anyone with a unique perspective about the target audience — insurers, vendors, unions, department heads, senior management, healthcare providers and external customers. Each group can provide important input on their own programme expectations and concerns.

Remember, the most thought-out program in the world will fall flat if the target audience doesn’t perceive it as having value. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what they need and want – ask them. Then incorporate the results into your wellness programme plan.

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