Looking for Wellness Program Ideas

(This came to me Anonymously from an HR pro - Steve)

We've been struggling to come up with a proven wellness program for our employees. Most programs seem to be driven by giving discounted health premiums, but we don't see how that addresses the behaviors we see. We're not interested in "punishing" people with higher premiums. We've tried that approach in the past and people continued to pay the higher rates without making any steps towards wellness.

Our goal is to have an educated and informed workforce. We'd love to see options to make people aware of how to address wellness, mindfulness and potential health risks they may be facing.

I'd love to hear what you are seeing in this area and any recommendations of efforts you've seen work.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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    • Rob Florio
    • Health and Nutrition Coaching Business Owner
    • Rob_Florio
    • 5 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Albeit, I am a bit biased, but Profile by Sanford provides a unique and refreshing approach to wellness.

    Profile by Sanford is an evidenced-based, comprehensive behavioral weight management program delivered by health coaches designed to improve nutrition, activity, and lifestyle behaviors. Profile was created by a Clinical and Scientific Advisory board of physicians, researchers, and dietitians at Sanford Health, one of the world’s largest, not-for-profit fully integrated health systems. Profile’s Clinical and Scientific Advisory board continues to oversee and innovate our program with evidence-based protocols.

    Our experience is that the vast majority of people are interested in weight management.  Who doesn't occasionally complain about their weight or express a desire to eat right or lead a healthier lifestyle?  Along these same lines, when you look at it from an HR/benefits standpoint, the ability to provide your employees with sustainable options to manage their weight and make better choices is invaluable.  We all understand the impact obesity or poor lifestyle choices have on claims, absenteeism and productivity.

    Lastly, our employer partners tend to like our no cost, no contract approach! 

    You can learn more by visiting our website: www.profileplan.com/cincinnati or Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/ProfileBySanfordCincinnati/ or just emailing me directly: rob.florio@profileplan.com

    • Ryan Mount
    • Employee Benefits Specialist
    • Ryan_Mount
    • 5 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    When it comes to wellness, possibilities are endless.

    One of our favorite, non-premium dollar programs is Real Appeal. ( https://realappeal.com/ ) We have seen the biggest results in those who were pre-diabetic or concerned with Type 2 Diabetes, It jump starts the process with a special kit that includes a food scale, fitness guide, and more.  It also has built in Ongoing Support and Resources to Keep you motivated.  (This typically comes with another wellness product that is step based and rewards members with non-premium dollars to spend) 

    An outside approach to "wellness" can be on-site exams.  It is a version of concierge service.  This has been done with massive success across our clients.  We schedule 15-30 full on site physical exams for the team.  No more having to take time off to see the doctor.  The doctor can identify any medications they should be taking which cut down on claims and lead to real wellness.  One example, we had one guy walk in who was probably a week away from death.  He went and saw the doctor on site and got him on 2-3 generic medications that were $0 at local pharmacies and his life span went from possibly a week to a full happy life.  If you want to inspire real change internally, this is the way to go.

    However, I do have some other suggestions...

    Attain is another new program that launched that is not tied into premium dollars.  It is tied into Apple Watches.  Since it is tied to your watch, it knows what your current activity level is and then gives each member a tailor made goal for them to hit every month.  If they hit their goals, then they are rewarded either with a free apple watch or gift cards.  And it reevaluates your activity every month to make sustainable steps towards building a healthier more active life style.  (https://www.attainbyaetna.com/)

    And sometimes, it comes down to education.  You can use a traditional premium reducing wellness platform, but skip the premium reduction.  You can create an internal wellness group that is responsible for creating challenges and making the prizes something more than premium dollars.  PTO days, Parking Spots, etc... Find out what motivates your workforce and use that to leverage your wellness plan. 

    I have worked with a company who eliminated vending machines  in break room areas and got fresh fruit delivered and installed water coolers to some mild success.  However, more access to the right choices never hurt anyone.  

    And with mental health being a factor in overall health, are you providing your employees with the right options to address those concerns.  A simple EAP plan or even the more advanced to take care of aging parents and children.  

    My apologies, that is a lot, but could speak to company wellness for hours. Smoking cessation plans are great, but wellness goes way beyond that. If there is any need for a further conversation, please feel free to reach out, rmount@langgroup.com or 513-699-2986. Thank you.

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  • We are part of a large health system in Illinois, and we use Limeaid as our vendor for our wellness program.  It has challenges in many facets of well-being - not just physical health.  Our colleagues benefit by earning points that go toward actual money back on their paychecks - between $15-$25 per check.  We used to offer a discount on insurance to non-smokers, but replaced it with this to focus on more overall health.

  • We've found a lot of success in our wellness program,  which we've branded "The Road to Wellbeing"! We definitely take a unique and exciting approach that speaks to our culture and employee interests. It all starts with truly building a culture of wellness and incorporating programs that focus on providing resources that empower employees to take control of their lives and experience wellbeing, inside and outside of work.

    We use our wellness program not only as a way to impact the bottom line of our benefit costs but also as a retention tool. The programs focus on financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, community wellbeing and, environmental wellbeing. We provide monthly workshops and have an annual wellness event (health fair) that brings in a variety of wellness-related vendors - in addition to the medical providers we bring in a lot of local companies where employees can test different products (i.e. kombucha, aromatherapy, juices, and the list goes on).

    We offer a few wellness incentives - encouraging employees to take their health risk assessment and providing them with a cash incentive for that. We also have a non-tobacco user discount on our medical plans (so, we're not "punishing" employees who smoke but we are rewarding those who do not).  

    In Philadelphia, we have a couple of local wellness companies that we work with. ChallengeRunner is a great (very reasonably priced) app for running steps competition or other activity-related competitions. Our health insurance is with Cigna and they offer a lot of great programs as well.

    I'd be happy to chat more with you about how we built and have grown our program over the past several years. Feel free to email me at lindsey.gardner@revzilla.com :)

    • Rodney Chronister
    • Connector/Help Conveyor - Working to be a by-product of my service to others growth!
    • Rodney_Chronister
    • 4 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    A little late to the conversation but I have some thoughts on the subject.  It does seem as though most replies have focused on the Health of individuals,  I would submit there are many other variations of wellness that could provide additional avenues to improve personal production of employees as well their satisfaction of their work environment and that is Financial Wellness. 

    Often they go hand in hand, meaning if you can improve someones finances and reduce the stress they perceive from their financial challenges you can also improve their overall health and by improving their health they now use medical facilities and the likes less which again improves their finances.   As HR folks you should be aware that every company that offers a qualified retirement plan that the company that sponsors that plan is also required to provide and educational component to that plan. In which in most cases that is a 1-800 number or brief explanation of that plan from a certified rep around open enrollment time.  

    Oddly enough one of the leading causes of overeating is mental disorders and stress and 73% employees in a recent survey admitted to stressing over finances and spending 3 hours/wk at work not working but dealing with their finances.  Now I am not saying you need to give everyone a raise above what is fiscally smart for your organization, but teaching them how to manage what they have is better than teaching them how to eat better and never addressing why they were overeating in the first place.

    (Quick plug for my company)

    If an educational program could be provided to enhance - not replace your current benefits  with the all the value needed to change mindsets, beliefs, and habits, increase competence, focus and ultimately production for a cost most won't, bicker over "FREE".   Would you at least take some time to learn more?  I would love to help!


    • Dorothy Bieller
    • Benefit & Employee Relations Manager
    • Dorothy_Bieller
    • 4 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    We have also increased our financial wellness with our employees by partnering with 5/3 bank as a workplace banking option and Community First, a non-profit agency, as well as multiple lunch-n-learns regarding budgeting, apps, estate planning, social security and medicare.  As part of our wellness program our employees can complete a financial check up with a representative of Community First as one of our options to be eligible for a discounted medical premium.  I would be glad to discuss this further with you if you want to reach out to me.


    Dorothy Bieller

    Ohio National Life Ins Co - 513-794-6388

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