employee wellness goals and objectives
Management & Mindset

Employee Wellness Programs: How to Set Goals and Objectives

When you consider the amount of time employees spend at their jobs compared to their free time, the need for an employer-backed wellness program becomes clearer. 

It can take 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, and if your employees have other commitments outside of work (and they do), the likelihood of them sticking to a newly formed routine are slim.

Adding a wellness program to your company is incredibly beneficial for your employees' happiness and your bottom line. Business professionals will quickly notice a decrease in absenteeism, turnover rate, health care costs, and elevated health risks. 

When your employees are healthy and happy, they’re more productive and efficient. Plus, they’re more likely to stick to new habits, especially when their co-workers participate.

In this article, we’ll examine how organizations can build a wellness program that engages the entire workforce. We’ll also offer suggestions on program inclusions that work well.

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How to set employee wellness program goals and objectives this year

While employee wellness programs are beneficial, they need to be focused to be successful. Here’s how your organization can accomplish its employment wellness goals in 2022.

How do you find your “WHY?”

Setting objectives is an important first step when creating a campaign, program, or goal setting. But sometimes, we get so wrapped up in “doing” that we forget about what we’re trying to accomplish in the first place. You can solve this problem by coming up with your “WHY.”

Ask yourself why you’re creating your wellness program for your employees. Is it to help them reach their fitness goals? To increase productivity in the workplace? Knowing your “WHY” gives you focus, encourages flexibility if you need to change direction, and defines your success.

How do you create SMART goals?

Another way to set clear objectives is by being SMART. SMART goals help you set specific (S), measurable (M) goals that are attainable (A), relevant (R) to you, and can be completed in a timely (T) manner.

Here’s an example of what a SMART goal may look like for your program:

“Introduce a wellness program on October 2nd that includes my company’s values, so my employees understand and complete each objective in line with our organizational culture.”

The more detailed your SMART goals, the better. You can go even further by saying:

“I will introduce a brief introductory period conducted in August, so employees and management are aware of the program and how it works. By the end of July, at least 85% of employees should be setting regular fitness goals, which will lead to a 57% increase in productivity.”

What is important to your employees?

While coming up with goals, you can’t forget about your employees. An employee wellness program needs feedback from the entire organization. Otherwise, it will be difficult for your organization to stick with your wellness program and see any benefits.

 Ask the following questions to understand what’s important to your employees:

  • What does your business need?: If your goal is to increase revenue, you can’t decide to overwork your employees. Not only does this lead to poor health outcomes, but it can actually decrease productivity. Your company goals should line up with your internal goals since your employees are the ones taking the time to execute your plans.
  • What are employees saying?: Pay close attention to what your employees are saying in meetings, emails, reviews, surveys, and job sites. Examine your feedback to determine if there’s a pattern in complaints or repeating problems. Sites like JobSage can help your organization understand how previous employees viewed your culture.
  • Have you built rapport with employees?: Too many employers don’t build rapport with their employees, but communicating with everyone in your organization is essential. By doing so, you can learn how your staff feels about your organization and whether you make them feel valued. To communicate with remote workers, use tools like Trello, Zoom, and Slack.
  • What worked for you in the past?: Did you create a project that was successful in recent years? Why was it a success, and for how long? Examine initiatives you’ve already taken and delivered successfully and add these features to your new program. If something wasn’t successful, can you tweak it to make it better next time?

By knowing your why, how to write your SMART goals, and what your employees expect from you, you’ll have an easier time creating a program that works for everyone. 

Related: Our 3-Step Process for Using OKRs to Drive Performance (+ Free OKR Template)

What is your employee value position (EVP)?

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) includes every aspect of the employee experience, from compensation to company culture. A well-constructed EVP will make your organization an attractive place to work. Here are the key components of a great EVP:

  • Compensation: Salary satisfaction, promotions, raises, evaluation, timeliness, fairness.
  • Benefits: Time off, health insurance, group life insurance, holidays, education, retirement, family, flexibility.
  • Career: Stability, training, Collaborative Learning, development, evaluation, feedback.
  • Work environment: Autonomy, work-life balance, challenges, achievements.
  • Culture: Goal setting, leaders, support, trust, colleagues, collaboration, responsibility.

An employee wellness program would fall into all of these categories but fits best in “culture.” When structuring your EVP, consider what you offer your employees currently and ways you can improve. Speak to your staff or conduct anonymous surveys to involve your staff in the process.

How will you promote physical wellbeing?

Our physical well-being is essential. When our body is in good shape, so are our minds. Sitting at your desk for long periods can actually decrease productivity and negatively affect your mood. If you want to promote better physical health outcomes, encourage or do the following:

  • Avoid sitting
  • Taking screen breaks
  • Spending time outside
  • Flexible commutes
  • Gym membership

If your team is competitive, set up fitness challenges, like monthly steps or daily exercising.

How will you encourage mental wellbeing? 

The stigma surrounding mental health is lifting. Including mental health support in the workplace can make these issues easier to address. It’s also crucial to watch for symptoms of common health issues, so you can identify them. You should also include the following in your program:

  • Healthcare
  • Therapy
  • Self-care incentives
  • Nutritious meals
  • Flexible schedules

Include apps, like Teale, in your organization to help you and your employees understand and track their mental health. With Teale, you can pre-book sessions with 30+ licensed therapists, watch +250 videos and self-care tools, conduct collective mental health workshops, and more.

How will you improve financial wellbeing?

The financial impact of the pandemic coupled with financial illiteracy has made it difficult for employees to save, causing them to experience severe stress. Boosting financial wellbeing with the following initiatives can help your staff members cope with economic hardships.

  • Employee discounts
  • Savings programs
  • Better benefits
  • Financial education programs
  • Rewards and gifts

By supporting your employees with financial matters, you’ll make a difference in their lives.

Workplace wellness programs that promote employee wellness

By adding the following wellness program options, your business will staff engaged employees.

Public transit incentives

Organizations can encourage their employees to take public transit by reimbursing transit passes. A bike-sharing program can help your team exercise and help the environment.

Quitting smoking programs

From more frequent breaks to worse health outcomes, smokers cost more money on average. By offering lifestyle coaching, you can decrease the number of smokers in your company.

On-site paramedical services

On-site paramedical services, like massage therapists, can be utilized by your team during office hours. By decreasing your employees' stress, you’ll increase their physical health.

Gym memberships or on-site gyms

You can comp your employees' gym memberships to encourage fitness. If you can, install an on-site gym with personal trainers and offer cash incentives for program participants.

Yoga and mental health classes

Organizations can use their employee break rooms to provide yoga classes for team members. Yoga and mental health seminars are effective ways to incorporate self-care into work.

Employee assistance programs

Provide access to programs that help with depression, substance abuse, financial assistance, and anxiety. By providing extra support, you encourage your team to do their best.

Healthy food options in the cafeteria

Offering a longer lunch period, healthy options in the cafeteria, and nutritional services will empower your team members to make better lifestyle choices that they can stick to.

Special nap or relaxation rooms

Sometimes taking a nap can help us feel refreshed. While nap rooms don’t count as a “program,” they tell your employees that it’s okay to rest and recharge if they’re tired—for instance, if they’ve got a newborn at home.

Friendly competitive challenges

Monthly fitness challenges, like daily hydration or exercise, effectively promote a healthy lifestyle. It’s also a core part of company culture and motivates teams to reach their goals.

Out-of-office wellness adventures

Hosting once a month optional out-of-office wellness adventures, like laser tag, walking in the park, or golf lessons, will get your employees out of their chairs every once in a while. 

Investing in employee wellness is a necessity

Wellness programs aren’t just a benefit; they’re necessary if businesses want to succeed in the modern workforce. With an impressive EVP, employees will flock to your job postings.

But that’s not all. Wellness programs don’t just attract new hires. They keep them. Employers that pay attention to their employees' physical, mental, and financial wellbeing will see near immediate returns, but only if they set appropriate SMART goals and stick to their program.