How to make the WORKplace become a WELLplace

As a human resource director or a benefits manager, you are in the unique role of influencing the health and wellbeing of your entire workforce…not a small task by any means.  Although traditional human resource responsibilities were geared more towards providing a capable workforce through extensive pre-hiring screenings and maintain the benefits and insurance policies of the workers, today that responsibility also includes enhancing the lives of those workers.

Depending on the training and continued education you as a benefits manager or HR executive have undergone, you have probably been exposed to numerous ways to enrich the wellness of the workforce.  Some companies have taken an aggressive role by providing complete fitness facilities, personal trainers, wellness counselors as well as insurance premium reducing incentive campaigns.  Other companies have elected to provide wellness resources or regular/annual/semi-annual health fairs, wellness expos or wellness days to facilitate their employees finding healthcare opportunities for themselves.  Regardless of the degree of implementation of health enrichment activities your company has undergone, there are literally hundreds of ideas and opportunities to inspire the workforce to take more care in their own health care, rather than rely on emergency or crisis care when things breakdown.

At the beginning of the year 2000 there was a noticeable trend in companies placing more emphasis and budget for health enhancement and enrichment activities for employees.  This shift was supported by companies such as Starbucks who saw that for every dollar they spent on health enhancement, it actually save the company nearly 3x that in healthcare/crisis care costs!  It is an interesting thing to measure as actually taking care of the employee beyond just their job training and proficiency, the company can actually become more profitable and stable, a ‘healthier’ company if you will.

As more health care providers are educated and actually taught in their post-graduate training that putting care in the companies will help the care of the community, many doctors have attempted to answer the call by providing introductory wellness programs to those outside of their practices.  The Doctors for Health and Wellness foundation was borne out of this demand to further that wellness message, as well as standardize a delivery system of pro-active wellness exposure to groups of all sizes, corporate or community alike.  With more time to spend on the employees and their needs, the outsourcing of some of these health enrichment activities frees up the human resources department.  This trend of pro-active wellness is growing a stronger rate today and in the near future we may see even more dynamic changes to the way corporate wellness works, such as functional workspaces and wellness incentives for employees.