Healthy Employees, Healthy Business

Healthy employees lead to a healthy business. That’s what small business owners said in a recent survey. Nearly all rated employee health as “important” to their bottom line. Fifty-four percent said it was “extremely important.” One way to promote better health is to offer a wellness program.

While once offered only in big companies, wellness programs are becoming more common in small businesses. They contribute to better productivity, and they can assist in recruiting and retaining staff.

Here are some tips and resources from and others on starting a wellness program in your small business without breaking the bank:

  • Ask Your Employees – Find out what parts of a wellness program would interest them most. It might be discounts to a fitness center, a monthly health newsletter, healthy cooking demonstrations during lunch or a company incentive program. Asking your staff helps them buy into the program and increases the chance of success.
  • Network to Find Low-Cost Wellness Activities – There are a number of blogs that provide low-cost ideas. The National Federation of Independent Businesses offers several low-cost suggestions. Another source is the Wellness Council of America, which provides information and recognizes small businesses with exemplary programs.
  • Don’t Reinvent the Wheel – You don’t have to do it alone. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers online tools to help you design a wellness program. For example, their LEAN Works program is a free, web-based resource for worksite obesity prevention and control programs. There’s even a cost calculator. It helps you determine what obesity costs your business and how much you can save with a prevention program.
  • Consult Your Healthcare Insurance Provider – Many providers offer tools to help employers develop a wellness program. In some cases, these programs lower healthcare costs. And that can reduce the cost of your health insurance.
  • Use Several Measures to Assess Progress – Small Business Trends reports on a study that looked at several factors used to measure success. These included knowledge about benefits and healthcare, employee satisfaction and morale and employee financial security. Those participating in an employer wellness program scored higher in each of these categories.

Small business owners recognize that there’s a link between their employees’ health and the success of their business. Wellness programs can create a win-win situation. Employees improve their health and workplace productivity increases. That can lead to a better bottom line for the business.

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