Human resource and benefits staff at smaller organizations are facing the challenge of improving their populations’ health while keeping costs down. Managing cost increases, complying with regulations, and improving employee retention and attraction are just a few of the areas on which stretched HR staffs are being asked to deliver. Total Health Management (THM) — the sum total of all the actions an employer can take to support the health, productivity, and wellbeing of its employees — is one way employers are approaching this challenge.
THM may focus on clinical programs such as disease or case management, consumerism strategies, value-based care, or other areas, but wellness is particularly high on many benefits leaders’ radars. Employers of all sizes — not just big corporations — are increasingly implementing wellness programs.
One of the main reasons is that illness is expensive. Chronic diseases like diabetes cost more and more to treat due to rising drug costs. In addition to the absolute costs, these conditions also impact productivity. Luckily, many chronic diseases are preventable. Employers now realize wellness programs can help curtail health conditions that affect people’s ability to be present and productive at work.
Five Tips for Small and Midsize Employers to Achieve a Healthier Workforce
Smaller employers are uniquely equipped to start lean wellness programs that deliver real results. Have you considered taking these five steps?
- Choose a wellness champion. It doesn’t have to be the healthiest person at the office; it just needs to be an enthusiastic social leader who can encourage employees to participate in wellness programs.
- Encourage informal peer groups, such as bicycle or walking groups, that combine social interaction with fitness.
- Engage leadership (the CEO, director, site manager) to lead walking meetings, healthy habit challenges, or other fitness initiatives.
- Partner with your local CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture initiative, to bring in fresh, local produce on a weekly basis, letting people sample unusual fruits and vegetables, and share cooking ideas.
- Consider financial wellness, from credit counseling to budgeting tips (often included with your employee assistance program).
Total Health Management Solutions Leader
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