Healthy employees are good for business. A healthy employee is better at completing tasks, staying focused, takes fewer sick days, is more productive, and reduces the employer's spend on health insurance. Keeping the success of your business in mind, you can quickly see the advantages of investing in a good wellness program.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average human spends more than one-third of their day at work. A survey published in 2017 shows that 46% of employers in the United States offer specific health and wellbeing programs to employees. Employers have also increased their investment in workplace wellness programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This shows that wellness programs are continually being used to improve employee health and wellness and also indirectly improve business outcomes.

A good workplace wellness program is one that supports your employees with changing times. If you have tried to research wellness programs for your employees, you will soon be faced with the “problem of plenty”. Most programs have a similar offering, yet there are so many options to choose from - it’s overwhelming. Which wellness program do you choose then? Simply put, you want to use a program that considers the needs of your employees in a cost-effective manner. Here, we will look into some definite must-haves in a wellness program. In our opinion, these are what differentiates a good wellness program from a great wellness program.

Quick note: There are several amazing wellness programs available in the market today - but look for something that does a little bit extra - something that is truly for your employee’s wellbeing and not just implemented because of the employer’s duty of care, for example.

  1. A good employee wellness program is user-friendly. A great program is intuitive and customizable.

    This may be somewhat obvious, but if the wellness program that you offer to your employees is user-friendly, only then will the use and engagement around the program be optimal. For example, if the program that you choose is digitally accessible, but not entirely intuitive, users will be quick to abandon the program as the configuration is time-consuming and requires work from the party that is hoping to get help.

    As a general rule of thumb, the employee should be able to quickly ascertain where certain information will be. That’s user-friendly. Take this a notch further to make the program intuitive and customizable, and you’re golden. For example, the dashboard should provide the main information that the employee is hoping to target and should be customizable depending on what the focus for the employee is - is it diet? Exercise? Building resilience against stress? Widgets relating to these goals should be at the forefront of the wellness program, too.

  2. A good employee wellness program is based on habit-forming. A great program is effective at creating lasting change because it leverages behavioral science.

    Creating lasting change requires creating a new habit. It takes time and perseverance but is achievable. A good wellness program can encourage habit-forming, however, a great wellness program will be backed by behavioral science to really help target change. A wellness program backed by behavioral science looks to leverage habitual thinking (or mindset), targets emotions (such as insecurity), and also changes behavior (so you actually do the thing you set out to do).

    A program based on behavioral science uses a systemic approach to discovering the underlying mechanisms behind the change. Zillion’s wellness program leverages information relating to how and why people sustain healthy change in the long run. This knowledge provides a blueprint for effective interventions that are lasting - interventions that Zillion provides your staff members. A survey reports that 90% of Zillion program users were able to maintain and reduce stress levels long-term.

  3. A good employee wellness program has trustworthy content. A great program personalizes the content for the user.

    The internet is full of misconceptions and myths around health and wellness. For this reason, a program that provides trustworthy content, vetted by an expert is always welcomed into the market. This general offering is covered by a good employee wellness program. A great wellness program, on the other hand, takes this a step further and personalizes the content for the user so the user keeps coming back.

    Personalized content keeps bringing the user back to the platform - much like how social media keeps works. For example, if the user engages more with video content than with blog posts, the customer experience will be changed to mirror this. Similarly, if the user is looking to target their diet and lifestyle, the content will be more specific to these goals instead of providing generic content batches to target smoking cessation. In other words, a great wellness program provides a personalized, customized experience. Thanks to this strategy, Zillion’s RestoreResilience program has highly engaging statistics - a whopping 82% for enrolled members.

  4. A good employee wellness program is accessible - anytime, anywhere! A great program provides a health coach/support in real-time - anytime, anywhere!

    Another self-explanatory point, but a good wellness program is one that is accessible anytime, anywhere! Usually, this means that the program will be available to use via desktop or as a mobile phone application, at a time that is most convenient to the user.

    A great program has the same offering but is topped up with a health coach that is available 24/7, whatever your needs. This takes into consideration the humanized experience of change, providing support when it is needed. For example, a smoker may require extra help for smoking cessation outside of office hours. At this point, speaking to someone is perhaps incredibly helpful for the overall goal of leaving the cigarette behind for good.

  5. A good employee wellness program has a practical emphasis on disease management. A great program provides early detection initiatives and preventive screenings.

    Good employee programs help employees to manage their health concerns. This includes the management of common chronic conditions such as diabetes, anxiety, and depression, and cardiovascular diseases, for example. A great program supports early detection of these conditions and provides information and practical advice on how to prevent these conditions. If an employee is then diagnosed with a chronic condition, the program will continue to provide more information for disease management.

As you can probably tell from the above, there is a huge difference between a good and a great employee wellness program. In any case, though, a great employee wellness program on its own may not necessarily help all employees. It is therefore worth thinking about ways in which an employer can provide better support. This includes a real emphasis on work/life balance, flexibility in work hours, work-from-home options, and more.

You may also consider creating a truly cohesive and supportive environment, perhaps including some online yoga classes and sending fruit baskets to employees so they feel important, especially in response to the increased work hours and disruption in work-life balance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

For a free consultation on how you can best help your employees with a wellness program that suits them, consider speaking to our team at Zillion by calling (877) 399-6540 or contacting us at zillion.com/lets-talk. Remember, a healthy employee is a productive employee!