Do workplace well-being programmes work? It depends.
When done right it works, but do it wrong and of course it won’t work!
So,before you add more programmes, policies, practices and activities, consider these best practices based on research on 812 companies with more than 4.7million employees and from small scale to large scale businesses in the US. Done by Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO).
What can employers do to address low participation in health surveys and biometric screening, poor employee health outcomes, unmet cost reduction targets, and low perceived employee support? The best practices below by HERO will be a good place to start.


1.Demonstrate organisational commitment to employee health and well-being –

The values, culture and business goals of the company as they relate to employee health and well-being determine the actions of leaders. Organisational commitment is demonstrated in both word and actions.

2.Ensure senior leaders understand the link to business results -Please include the middle managers!

Senior leaders are likely to invest and prioritise employee health and well-being when they have understanding of how health and well-being impact business results. There is evidence that companies that invest in culture of health are more financially successful. It is counter-productive when some leaders reject investing in a culture of health by looking at costs only and  ignore the value of the benefits both quantitative and qualitative.
Someother benefits of culture of health include retention, attraction and productivity gains.

3.Walk the talk and actively support employee health and well-being –

Support and participation in wellness activities and programmes by leaders at all levels including middle managers and supervisors will encourage employees to do the same. The activities need to be included during working hours and seen as important by all. Allocating these activities to off-work time sends a wrong signal. Recognition and reward of those who make healthy choices and act to promote health and well-being encourage others. The whole organisation is looking up to leaders to set examples and prioritise well-being.

4.Support mid-level managers and supervisors in promoting employee health and well-being-

Managers and supervisors require training, budgets and resources to support their teams in the most relevant way and manner. They determine what gets done by their teams especially when there are conflicts between goals, e.g.  presenteeism, when workers are ill and need time off to recover.

5.Implementpolicies that support employee well-being

We need to consider employee population, location and diversity and what policies are currently in place and in use and the gaps that exist.
Policies such as  tobacco free office, hybrid policy, health insurance, flexible work arrangements, healthy food in company cafeteria, events and meetings , ergonomically sound working environment, respectful work environment, physical activity , violence prevention and sexual harassment prevention policy.
Allow employees to engage in well-being activities during work time :When  employees spend up to between 3 to 5 hours to commute to and from work, the workplace will be the greatest opportunity for most to engage in well-being activities.
The policies need to be coordinated and support health and well-being from the employee perspectives.


6.Engageemployees at all levels of the organisation

Consider all employees onsite, field or remote as relevant. Employees should have input into programme content, delivery methods and plans for the future needs. Focus group discussions and regular surveys will be useful. Acting on the feed back received is critical to encourage employees to provide information when requested in future. Network of ambassadors and champions at all levels could also act as promoters and to collect continuous feedback in their interactions with their colleagues.  


7.Developa strategic plan with measurable goals and objectives

Development of strategic plan that covers their goals and objectives, reporting plan and how the components will work together to produce measurable goals and objectives.

8.Regularly share programme performance data and information with multiple stakeholder groups

Communicating the performance both what is working and gaps gives people the opportunity toknow progress and know areas that require improvements.

9.Targetcommunication to diverse groups

Communication should reach as all the  diverse groups within the organisation based on race,culture, education, language, communication preference, . It is important to recognize that one model does not fit all and develop strategies to engage all employees for a healthier workplace and company culture.


10.Support employee wellness champions and ambassadors with tools and resources

Employee wellness champions and ambassadors help to drive participation and engagement across the organisation. Their role should be included in their job description and training support provided. The tools and budget required are facilitators of their effectiveness and deliverables.
They should be appreciated, recognised for their contribution and should also be rewarded.








Packing A Punch: Proven Well-being Strategies - Jessica Grossmeier PhD

Workplace Well-being Factors that Predict Employee Participation, Health and Medical Cost Impact and Perceived Support.