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Table of Contents
Take care of your people and protect your business
What Is a Wellness Committee?
A wellness committee is a group of employees in charge of planning, creating initiatives, and implementing a company’s wellness program. Wellness committees can be made up of employees from all departments, not just human resources. The wellness committee focuses on the wellbeing of a company’s employees and strives to increase participation with wellness incentives.
Why Are Wellness Committees Helpful for HR?
- Increase retention. When a wellness committee focuses on meeting the needs and interests of an organization’s employees, this can increase retention. Wellness committee members drive engagement and show employees that they take wellness seriously, which can result in a competitive advantage. Having a well thought out and executed wellness plan can also be an effective recruiting tool for attracting and retaining talent.
- Cut down on healthcare costs. Did you know it could cost your company more to insure employees with risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and diabetes than pay for health care with employees with fewer risks? Not only would your company save money, but your employees would also be able to save by improving their health. This could potentially mean employees will live a healthier lifestyle along with taking fewer trips to the doctor.
- Increase healthy behavior. A wellness committee should focus on challenging employees’ perceptions about health and wellness while increasing their knowledge and influencing them to change unhealthy behavior. The committee should help employees practice proactive behaviors that help create positive lifestyle changes. Studies show that healthy behaviors don’t only impact employees, but also their families. This means employees may miss less work if they are preparing healthy meals for their households and exercising, leading to fewer sick days caring for themselves or their family members.
The Duties of a Wellness Committee
The duties of an effective wellness committee are organizing and creating a wellness plan, encouraging plan participation, and assessing the overall effectiveness of the plan.
Phase 1: Organize and Create a Company Wellness Plan
Decide what wellness challenges, activities or initiatives your company will focus on. It’s important to create a well-structured plan by seeking feedback on ideas from leadership regarding the overall goals of the plan. Committee members should consider meeting regularly to check in with each other on the progress of the plan and initiatives. Meetings could be weekly or monthly.
Phase 2: Encourage Wellness Plan Participation
Build a strategy to execute the wellness plan by creating promotional methods to communicate plan initiatives. Focus on recruiting other employees and encouraging them to stay engaged throughout challenges and activities. Provide wellness materials to educate your workforce. Keep in mind that participation in a wellness program should always be voluntary.
Phase 3: Assess the Wellness Plan
Now that you’ve organized a plan and have encouraged participation in your workforce, don’t forget to assess and track the progress of your plan! Will you gather data regarding employee engagement through surveys? How will you track the progress of wellness activities? Once your committee gets a good handle on the answers to these questions, you can begin to evaluate further needs of your wellness plan.
How to Form a Wellness Committee
After you’ve outlined the duties of your wellness committee, you can start seeking support from leadership, recruiting and assigning duties, and creating a strategy along with initiatives.
Step 1: Seek Support From Leadership
If your company leadership is on board with the vision of your wellness committee, it will be more likely to succeed. Present a plan for what the committee expects to accomplish and how this benefits the company.
Step 2: Recruit and Assign Duties
The size of your company may determine how many committee members you should recruit. You don’t want to have too many because you’ll likely meet during work hours. You also don’t want too few members. Members should be a good representation of their peers and should be able to motivate others. It’s a good idea to check in with members’ supervisors to ensure they can devote adequate time to the committee. Consider having a secretary for note taking, a chairperson, and committee group members. Remember to be inclusive and recruit for diverse perspectives.
Step 3: Create a Strategy and Initiatives
It will be far easier for your committee to follow up every week (or month) if you first outline your wellness strategy and initiatives. What will you focus on and how will your committee contribute to the effectiveness of your company wellness program? Plan out your long and short-term wellness goals. Goals for activities could involve vaccination clinics, health risk assessments, weight loss programs or even smoking cessation programs. It’s also a good idea to report on feedback you receive or any other analytics you gain from surveys.
Tips for Running a Successful Wellness Committee
Maximize the time that committee members contribute by having a clear outline of meeting goals and following up on initiative success. It’s also very important to keep leadership informed to continue having buy-in as well as determine the incentives you choose to motivate employees.
Tip 1: Follow Up
Are your wellness activities getting adequate participation? How are employees reacting to initiatives? It’s important to outline what your key indicators of success will be and follow up. For example, if your initiative is to increase participation in your preventive care benefit, you might track how many employees received a wellness checkup compared to last quarter (remember to keep personal health identification confidential). If the numbers indicate high participation, keep doing it. If not, reevaluate and try something new.
Tip 2: Keep Leadership Informed
The data and analytics you obtain from plan participation numbers, surveys, and other feedback is a great way to keep company leadership in the loop. These details can also provide valuable insights to help your committee continue to improve.
Tip 3: Motivate Through Incentives
Bring out the best out from your wellness program by creating a rewards plan to motivate employees and influence positive wellness behaviors. A prize could be an extra day of PTO, healthy gift cards, or even monetary rewards. Whatever the rewards are, be sure to check if incentives could be limited by state and federal regulations.
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James has worked in the HR field going on 5+ years and currently serves in the role of HR Manager. His areas of expertise are in managing recruiting, onboarding, HR metrics, performance and engagement, employee relations and development. He has earned a masters degree in HR along with the nationally recognized certification of SHRM-CP.