written by
Dr. Damodar Rai

Why Wellness Programs are Integral to Effective Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement Personal Effectiveness Change Management Learning & Development 4 min read

The question “Why wellness programs are integral to an Effective Employee Engagement?” is the most pertinent one as its answer stresses the urgent need of wellness initiatives to be taken for enhancing employee engagement.

Meaning of Wellness

However, before we dwell in detail, on the above topic, let us understand what we mean by “wellness.”

Oxford Dictionary defines the wellness, as the state of being in good health especially as an actively pursued goal.

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of, and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness. It is a dynamic process of change and growth; a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Also, there is need to understand the difference between health and wellness. As per nebi.nim.nih.gov,"health is a state of being, whereas wellness is the state of living healthy lifestyle. Health refers to physical, mental and social well-being. Wellness aims to enhance well-being. It can affect physical, mental and social well-being.

Dimensions of Wellness

Lot of literature is available on the multi-faceted dimensions of wellness.

As per uwsp.edu [University of Visconsin, Stevens Point], wellness is multi-dimensional, including the following 7 facets:

  1. Spiritual wellness
  2. Physical wellness
  3. Emotional wellness
  4. Career wellness
  5. Intellectual wellness
  6. Environmental wellness
  7. Social wellness

Wellness is, thus, a total integration of all the above 7 facets.

Effort must be made to pursue all the above for a continuous growth in each of the above facets.

It is true that all the seven dimensions may be difficult to tackle simultaneously. Hence, an appropriate time-based strategy is advised, to redress the pressing ones first and then pursue the remaining ones as per the need of the organization. However, as per “shcs.ucdavis.edu”, wellness has 8th component of finance. Their ranking is also different from “uwsp.edu”, and is as given below:

  1. Emotional
  2. Environmental
  3. Financial
  4. Intellectual
  5. Occupational
  6. Physical
  7. Social
  8. Spiritual

    The reference cpr.bu.edu(Center for Psychiatry and Rehabilitation also endorses that there is a need to include "Finance" as the eighth component.

Wellness Dimension Priorities : My Perspective

It is not known whether categorization by other authors is as per prioritization or it is listed randomly. However, the author is of the opinion that the correct listing should be in the following order:

  1. Physical
  2. Social
  3. Emotional
  4. Occupational
  5. Financial
  6. Intellectual
  7. Environmental
  8. Spiritual

    In fact, the organizations must fix a particular dimension, which may be addressed first, depending upon the prevailing work-culture in organizations.

Influence of Wellness Programs on Employee Engagement

Corporate wellness programs have been conducted by organizations to improve employee engagement to a great extent.

The organization “healthifyme.com” reported that the following benefits accrued on account of wellness programs conducted.

  • Reduction in medical cost by 17%
  • Improvement in employee engagement by 5.9%
  • Increase in physical activity by 60%
  • Average weight reduction in employees by 4 kg

Alan Kohil of Forbes.com, suggested in his article “Your employee engagement strategy needs more wellness”, a new strategy for this. He has enumerated the following distinct advantages of an appropriately designed wellness program.

-It works as morale booster

-Improves mental well-being

-Leads to less stress at workplace

-Healthier behaviour

-A strong work relationship

The strategy adopted by Alan Kohil, consisted of the following, to achieve an effective employee engagement:

  • Invest holistically

Employee engagement will improve only, when the issue is addressed holistically including health, financial aspects, mental well-being, social well-being and stress management at workplace. Addressing only one or two dimensions of wellness will prove to be futile.

  • Align goals

There maybe two types of goals in an organization, productivity goals and wellness goals. It is to be noted here that if wellness goals are achieved, productivity goals will be easily met.

  • Develop a culture of wellness to provide healthy habits.

This may consist of the following:

-Encourage healthy habits

- Adopt healthy food options

- Adopt stress relieving activities

- Provide regular breaks to exercises, etc

Similarly, lot of research papers are available on how to improve employee engagement through wellness programs.The readers may refer to one such article “Here is how to improve engagement through wellness”, by Seth Serxner of hrexecutive.com.

10 ways to increase employee engagement with corporate wellness are also suggested in the reference quantumworkplace.com.

How to Design Wellness Programs

Employee  Engagement through wellness programs
Photographer: Kelly Sikkema | Source: Unsplash

Wellness programs must be designed, keeping in view the specific situation prevailing in an organization. Following modus operandi is suggested to design the wellness program to enhance employee engagement in your organization. Though, it is not possible in one blog alone to elucidate the salient points of “How to design the wellness program in your organization", yet a brief mention is made. Seven steps of doing this are:

1. Conduct a wellness program survey
To know the status in your organization, on what needs to be done

2. Discuss with all the stakeholders
This will enable you to know what is their point of view on wellness programs.

3. Evolve your own wellness program
Please remember that it is small tip, which may work, rather than concentrating on big things and expensive solutions, including the external consultants.

4. Select vendor/resources

5. Implement

6. Review and resort to regular feedback

7. Modify the earlier wellness program
To do away with faultiness and strengthen the sound aspects.

Employee engagement is often the responsibility of HR Generalists in an organization.One way to prepare for the role of an HR Generalist is to invest in the CHRMP Certification in the domain of HR.

CHRMP is a globally recognized certification in HR which helps you develop skills in key domains of HR. CHRMP includes in-depth classroom training in a few select cities and high quality online training in different domains of HR. These sessions will be followed by a certification exam that can be taken in more than 5600 PearsonVUE test centers located in 190 countries.

To get certified, visit www.chrmp.com