How to Create an Employee Wellness Program with Little to No Budget
You want to help your employees achieve a strong work-life balance. You'd like to see them happier, healthier, and more focused at work. In fact, you'd like to offer an employee wellness program with all the bells and whistles of big companies like Google and Facebook, where employees enjoy on-site medical care, new-parent perks, and, of course, the requisite communal bicycles.
The problem? You simply don't have the budget for all of those goodies.
Don't worry. You can still create an incredible wellness program that directly addresses your employees' needs - all without going over budget. Here's how: Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep
When you first start creating your wellness program, it's a good idea to reach out to employees and ask them what they want. During this process, you may be tempted to brainstorm all sorts of potential perks and program features. Be careful - if you promise expensive off-site memberships or private yoga instruction, your employees will come to expect those things. Then, when you don't have the budget to materialize your dream program, morale will drop and your employees will be soured on the whole thing. Be realistic.Find and Implement Low-Cost Perks
You don't need Google's budget to create a wellness program that offers exactly what your employees need and want.
Designate an empty office as a yoga, stretch, or nap space
Give employees a 15 minute walk break 2x/day
Offer a refund or bonus to employees who pass a health risk appraisal - reach out to your company's insurance provider to see how you can easily implement this strategyStay On Top of Industry Trends
One of the best ways to decrease the cost of your wellness program is simply to stay informed. Create a Google alert for "work life balance" or "wellness program perks." Read articles on LinkedIn and research industry trends. You'll be surprised how many low-cost ideas you can find, simply by spending 10 minutes per day researching online. Hire a Consultant
Having a consultant 'in your pocket' is priceless for companies looking to decrease their wellness budgets. A consultant is also a great idea if you're looking for creative ways to start a low-cost wellness program.
A professional consultant has key relationships with vendors and will be able to connect your company with the services and perks needed to create an outstanding wellness program.
Even if you only reach out to them twice per year, a consultant will help make your dream of an affordable wellness program a reality.
When creating an employee wellness program on a budget, it's crucial to start with a realistic picture. Take stock of what you can afford and what you can't, and survey your employees to find out exactly what they want. Implement low-cost perks like walk breaks and yoga/stretching space at the office. Stay on top of industry trends to find more low-cost perks, and consult a professional to find even more ways to amplify your budget program's effectiveness.
Fran Dean Bishop is an award winning business coach and CEO with 20 years in the health management industry. She founded Aerobodies Fitness Company, (now AFC Management Services), in 1994 as a corporate service provider of health promotion, fitness management and behavior change programs for the private sector and federal agencies. Fran also designed and launched two successful health technology innovations, MyEquilibriumCoach and MECkids.com. To request Fran for a speaking engagement or workshop, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org