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Starting a Wellness Program – For Employers

All successful employers know that an effective workforce is comprised of happy, healthy, and committed employees. Wellness programs are designed precisely to establish this kind of workforce. But before beginning to implement a wellness plan it is a good idea to establish a starting point from which to work.

The Partnership For Prevention has released two articles:

The American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine offers additional helpful information in their Health and Productivity Management Center and their HPM Toolkit has many helpful resources.  These articles are full of ideas for where and how to begin a worksite wellness program. You will also find some useful tools such as surveys and questionnaires that can help you determine the needs of your workforce and assess the success of your future wellness plan.


Before you Begin

Learning about the health of your workforce is the first step in establishing a wellness program. This can be done via surveys, health risk appraisals (HRAs) and health care benefit utilization reports.

  • HRAs are questionnaires that assess past and current medical history.
  • Reports generated following completion of an HRA provide useful information on positive health care practices and those areas which need some attention.
  • Aggregate and individual reports will provide initial information as to changes that the person and the organization need.

Conducting this type of assessment provides baseline data on the health of your workforce. Aggregated data provides essential information on the health of your entire population and will provide important information upon which to measure success after implementation of your program. With the information that you obtain from the HRA report(s), you will be able to determine the best areas in which to focus programs and services for maximum benefit.

Assessments may be conducted by your health care provider or another outside resource. The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center is one well-known center that has documented numerous positive results from wellness programs and services for 3+ million people. Their health risk appraisal is one tool that you might choose to utilize within your program to help you better understand the health of the people within your organization. Other assessment available for your use include:


Initiating a Wellness Program

A number of websites exist which provide worksite wellness information. WELCOA (The Wellness Councils of America) offers a step by step process for initiating a wellness program in their Seven Benchmarks of Success.

When initiating a wellness program, deciding if this will be an internally or externally staffed initiative is important. You may have a Human Resources or Benefits employee with prior experience that would be great to involve in the beginning and possibly once the program is implemented. Or, you may decide to rely on outside vendors to plan, implement and evaluate this wellness effort.


Other NetWellness features about Worksite Health:


Hope Through Research – You Can Be Part of the Answer!

Many research studies are underway to help us learn about worksite health. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:


For more information:

Go to the Worksite Health health topic.