Four Steps to Launching a Successful Wellness Program

In last month’s article, we looked at the benefits of having an employee wellness program in your city. To read that article, visit our Archived News pages by clicking here.

So, how do you develop a wellness program that‘s efficient, smart, scalable and goal-oriented? Let’s take a look at a simple four-step process that a municipality can use to create a culture of employee wellness.

1. Determine the needs of your municipality and the needs of the employees. Begin by asking, what do employees need? And, how do those needs fit with the goals of the municipality? It is essential to understand the desires, mindsets and challenges of your audience before laying out a framework for a wellness program. This includes surveying not only the general employees, but also management. A simple health risk assessment (which your insurance carrier may offer), followed by biometric screens, is a good way to assess problem areas. 

2. Analyze the data and create a plan. Based on the data, determine what elements will work for the existing culture. Is it fitness classes that will motivate the employees, wellness workshops, individual health assessments, or some combination of these? A “best practice” for success is to combine wellness education with physical activity, which will help participants see real benefits and results.

3. Create a communication plan. A culture of wellness doesn’t happen without reinforcement. The communication plan should lay out the program’s framework and the different methods (and times) to communicate the information to employees. The goal is to keep wellness at the forefront.

4. Develop an incentive plan. Research consistently shows that rewarding employees for getting healthy and achieving results encourages the type of change needed to get a program off the ground. It encourages a real shift in employee culture. However, because the required behavioral changes are new, challenging and difficult to sustain, programs must include incentives and rewards throughout the year. This will drive long-term engagement.

It takes time to break old habits and develop new ones. There is no short-term or quick-fix solution. But, getting started is easier than you think. Municipalities that are currently insured through the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust have access to the Hometown Health program. It offers FMIT-insured employees and retirees free onsite biometric screenings (that includes an online health assessment), access to onsite and telephonic health coaching, incentives, wellness seminars and much more! 

For more information on the Hometown Health Program, contact Florida League of Cities wellness coordinators Gwen Knight or Lindsey Fisher at hometownhealth@flcities.com.

Gwen Knight is a wellness coordinator for the Florida League of Cities.