Encourage Everyday Employee Health and Wellness with Training

Employee health and wellness has never been as important and top-of-mind as it is now ⁠— is your organization on the right track?

A doctor touches a diagram labeled "wellness."

What can a health and wellness program deliver for your employees?

Ensuring the health of workers should be a management focus at all times. Lately, as businesses around the world have struggled to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, this need to put health and wellness first has become clearer than ever. If your business does not have any programs designed to keep employees healthy and happy at the office, developing such strategies should be an immediate priority.

Health and wellness plans can take many forms, from encouraging exercise and proper diet to delivering targeted information about avoiding diseases and keeping workplaces and communities safe from infection. One constant, linking all the types of programs, is the availability of training materials to drive home the resulting lessons and ensure employees take maximum advantage of the company’s offerings.

Health and Wellness Programs on the Rise

Even before COVID-19 made businesses think more than ever about how the health of their teams, the idea of organized wellness programs had momentum behind it. The Robert Half Employee Health and Wellness Checkup survey found 66% of human resources managers said their organizations had focused more on these programs over the past five years, compared to 20% who decreased their offerings. Individual employees felt even more positive about wellness than their HR directors, with 89% stating their employers supported their health.

The Robert Half study focused heavily on helping employees eat healthy. Training in proper dieting and mindful meal preparation can be very influential on employees — more than half of workers bring their own lunches, according to the survey’s data, so giving these individuals a clearer view of nutrition can influence their meal choices heavily.

Of course, a comprehensive approach to health and wellness will go beyond everyday factors such as diet and exercise to take in areas including the prevention of disease transmission. Companies that successfully launch these training and awareness efforts may reap the long-term benefits of having employees fit enough to complete their work more effectively than ever before.

A diagram titled Health and wellness programs are one way to keep workers healthier.

Components of a Successful Health and Wellness Effort

What subjects should you build your office’s health and wellness program around? This is an important question to ask early in the development process, and the exact details will differ by workplace. The Society for Human Resource Management recommended starting with assessments. Data collection on how employees feel about their present health, and what they might prefer, will help you figure out what matters most.

Beyond measuring preferences and priorities, you can delve into targeted health assessments dealing with the current state of the team’s wellness. SHRM did note you have to design health risk assessments with equal opportunity employment laws in mind, and after speaking with legal counsel. There are some aspects of workplace health that have been used to discriminate against individuals, which has led to carefully worded regulations.

Once you’ve made careful assessments of employees’ present health, their goals and also the potential for risk factors in your facilities, it’s time to get upper management’s sign-off on the new project and establish an internal committee to guide its development. Next, it’s time to set goals for the plan and determine what specific programs to implement, as well as to potentially set reward structures for workers who follow through and take advantage of the offerings.

Perhaps clinics to vaccinate employees against common diseases, such as annual flu shot sessions, will prove popular and helpful for your team. Maybe professional screenings for health conditions or individual risk assessments will be the most advantageous option. Stress reduction, nutrition education, exercise programs and more may also prove transformative, depending on the most pressing issues within your own workforce.

Once the actual components of the plan, such as employee education courses have begun, you should follow up with assessments to track the progress of the program. Are your employees missing fewer days due to illnesses and injuries? Do they feel better on a day-to-day basis? Do they approve of the effect the new strategy has had on their lifestyle?

Training Courses to Help Workers Thrive

Education is one of the most pivotal parts of health and wellness. Teaching your employees how to practice a healthy lifestyle is a potentially impactful way to impart good habits and make a real change in how those workers perform and feel day to day. Training exists for every part of the health and wellness spectrum, from dieting suggestions relevant across industries to managing fatigue for odd-hour shift workers.

Training content creators have already produced infectious disease avoidance courses that take COVID-19 into consideration, meaning you don’t have to wait to add this particular element to your health and wellness training regimen. These can go alongside timeless subjects such as preventing fatigue and good exercise practices. Your organization can use a tailored selection of health and wellness training materials to achieve its unique goals.

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