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Worksite Wellness Program Best Practices

By Wellsource

What constitutes a good wellness program? This is a question of interest to anyone involved with worksite wellness and is an area of ongoing investigation and research. The ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal reviewed published guidelines on best practices for employee health programs. Researchers studied programs that were successful – that is, they had positive health outcomes and showed improvement in both personal and corporate health goals. Here is a brief list of elements they found to be important for getting good results in worksite wellness:

  1. Strong top management support, including champions at the executive/leadership level. Employees need to see that management supports the program and is visibly involved in it for an organization to experience a high participation and involvement level. Having champions in leadership to promote the program is invaluable.
  2. A worksite health promotion program that is aligned with business objectives. Management and workers both need to see how wellness benefits the goals of their organization. Preventing disease, illness, and injury at the workplace needs to be seen as directly involved with productivity, cost containment, profitability, and the mission of the organization.
  3. A wellness commitment to create a supportive environment and healthy culture in the organization.
  4. Employee ownership and involvement. Employees need to feel a sense of program ownership and involvement in the wellness program offerings. Having a wellness committee (including employees) that gives input and evaluation is very helpful in achieving this goal.
  5. Constant organization-wide communication efforts. Employees need reminding and multiple invitations to get involved in wellness opportunities. Communicate how employees and their families can get involved in wellness activities at work, at home, in the community, online, and in self-study projects. Regular newsletters. This can be an excellent way to reinforce wellness concepts for both employees and spouses. Newsletters can also provide information on coming events at work and in the community, provide reports on programs completed, and direct individuals to sources of further learning.
    • Targeted personalized wellness messages. As much as possible, provide specific information for health needs people have or
      have expressed an interest in.
    • Wellness updates and announcements at staff meetings. Keep wellness in mind and an integral part of the organization's culture.
    • Effective incentive programs. They help people get started and improve participation. Incentives can also make the program more fun.
    • A formalized reporting or tracking program and evaluation of the wellness programs. What programs are employees participating in? What changes or improvements are they making? What works well for them? What other help do they need? What suggestions do they have to improve the program?
    • Multilevel program development. Plan a program mix that reaches all employees. Have program opportunities for those interested in exploring lifestyle changes, programs for those who are already making changes, and programs to help those who have already made changes to maintain their new healthy lifestyles. Have programs for young and old. Consider cultural and gender differences. Have fitness programs for beginners and seasoned exercisers.
    • New programs that are based on sound data (proven effective, sound health principles) and good planning strategies for success. If you are looking for results, use sound strategies that will make positive, measurable health improvements. There are doubtless many other best practices that will emerge as the science of worksite health promotion continues to grow and expand.

Use these proven components to help you design an effective program at your organization. To explore this concept further, compare your worksite wellness program with the HERO Employee Health Management Best Practices Scorecard.

Let Wellsource help you with your wellness program. Contact us today to get started!


  1. Pronk N. Worksite Health Promotion: Aligning Program Support With Interventions for Optimum Impact. ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal®. May/June 2007.


Tags: Wellness Programs, Workplace Health Programs, Workplace Wellness

"Good health is your greatest asset. You will never regret a decision to take better care of your health."

Don Hall, DrPH, CHES, Founder Wellsource