When considering rather or not to begin a corporate wellness program and which company to partner with, it is essential to consider what will make the endeavor successful. The following is a list of 5 of the characteristics that The Harvard Business Review, Fortune Magazine and Forbes agree make the most successful corporate wellness programs.

1. Leadership commitment and support. A successful health promotion program starts with a commitment from company leaders, and its continued success depends on ongoing support at all levels of the organization. In particular, leaders at companies with successful programs establish a healthy work environment by integrating health into the organization’s overall vision and purpose.

2. Building a culture of health. A healthy company culture is built intentionally. It is first and foremost about creating a way of life in the workplace that integrates a total health model into every aspect of business practice, from company policies to everyday work activities. By “total health” we mean a culture that’s supportive of career, emotional, financial, physical and social wellbeing – not just an occasional road race. Examples include offering flexible work schedules, giving workers latitude in decision-making, setting reasonable health goals, providing social support, enforcing health-promoting policies and establishing a healthy physical environment (healthy food offerings, staircases instead of elevators, walking trails in and outside buildings and treadmill workstations).

3. Empowering the group. Boosting engagement in wellness can only be achieved when workers own the program, understand how they and the company benefit, and are given a meaningful voice in its ongoing operation. The most common approach is to conduct regular surveys or focus groups to determine which aspects of health and wellness are important to employees and which initiatives are not good uses of time.

4. Spreading the word. Strategic communication leads to greater engagement in employee wellness programs. This boils down to getting clear messages out to workers: this is what the program entails, here is how it works, here’s what’s in it for you, and here are ways to get involved. This can help overcome some of the top barriers to program participation and success: lack of awareness, lack of interest and suspicions about employers’ motivations

5. Offering smart incentives. Simply paying people to change life-long habits may not work. However, proper incentives drive participation rates, keep employees engaged and motivated to begin efforts to achieve self-determined health goals.

There are many options for corporate wellness but finding a company that sees you as a partner and is willing to help you embody the characteristics above can be daunting. Look for companies that are designed around these strategies and offer support in each area like WYAO Hawaii Corporate Wellness of Honolulu, HI. Be Well!

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