Winning with Employee Wellness (The Guardian : 09/01/2018)

As we embark on 2018 with our goals and strategies for business success, let us not lose sight of the reality that employee health is a performance driver. A fundamental issue regarding business value of better health is that health impacts work and work impacts health. Because the majority of employees spend most of their time at work, employers are uniquely positioned to build a culture of health in the workplace and be a positive influence on the health of their workers. Implementing a structured workplace wellness program is a win-win for both employers and employees

There is no one-size-fits-all wellness program. When developing a well-designed workplace wellness initiative, consider combining it with career development effort. Wellness goals and career development can be combined to create a more positive work environment and successful employees. This idea of collective well-being will not only help support a healthy workforce but will increase your company’s reputation of caring for your employees. Wellness initiatives can include aspects such as learning and development classes, employee recognition and workplace design. For companies looking to increase recruitment and retention efforts, shifting a focus to include collective well-being will help keep current employees happy as well as attract new talent.

Fundamentals of a Well-Designed Workplace Wellness Program 

When designing a program, employers should rely on evidence-based best practice strategies and tailor interventions to their populations. When developing well-designed workplace wellness initiatives, consider the following components:

Infrastructure: Build an internal foundation to sustain wellness initiatives, including senior leadership support, wellness champions, and teams. A focus on well-being encompasses policy and environmental interventions designed for the workplace.

Data: Collecting baseline data is important to build a targeted workplace wellness program tailored to the population.

Evaluation and Planning: After putting in place the workplace wellness infrastructure and collection of baseline data, evaluate the information collected and then move to craft a customized strategic work plan.

Awareness Programs: A health risk assessment or biometric screening increases participants’ understanding of their own health status and risks of certain health lifestyle behaviors and motivate employees to adopt healthy behavior.

Education Programs: Teach participants about their health, lifestyle behaviors, and risks, as well as how to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors to enlighten participants about their health and well-being.

Interventions: Typically a six to eight-week health behavior change program for sustained action and maintenance – e.g. weight management programs

Success: Measuring, evaluating and monitoring workplace wellness programs on a regular basis lead to success.   Making regular adjustments to the program and the strategic plan helps improve engagement and outcomes.

Employers Win:

Businesses are under continuous pressure to recruit and retain valued employees. In determining efficacy, companies should consider the following: 1) track multiple outcomes to assess impact; 2) Ensure that sufficient time has passed – typically over three years; 3) Deploy a transparent methodology for measurement and evaluation.

Employees Win:

A highly competitive advantage is providing employees with meaningful work and positive relationships with superiors and colleagues. Well-designed wellness programs can also improve employees’ overall well-being and overall life satisfaction. Individuals who are happier achieve improved life outcomes, success, emotional health, meaningful relationships, effective coping skills, improved physical health, and longevity.


Reply back to or call +255 754 694 643 with your feedback. We welcome your suggestions for corporate wellness tips you’d like to see covered in our future columns.

Bhakti Shah, MPH is the Founder and Managing Director of ImpactAfya Ltd, collaborating with Workplace Options and Mayo Clinic, USA to provide Corporate Wellness and EAP Solutions in East Africa. Bhakti is also the Advisor for the Africa Business Portal and the Past President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Tanzania.


Website: | Facebook, Instagram & Twitter: @impactafya