How Important is Training in a Wellness Program?

In today’s Advisor, we make the case that training is very important to make your wellness program as effective as possible.

May is National Employee Health and Fitness Month, which may increase participation in the wellness programs your employer offers. But for employees—and the organization—to get the maximum benefits from wellness programs, they need to be educated on how such programs work.

“The education part is big,” says Peggy Cretella, an instructional design manager with Business & Legal Resources. “If you educate people, you empower them to be in charge of their own health” and to make healthier choices.

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Topics typically covered in wellness training include:

  • Back safety,
  • Balancing work and family responsibilities,
  • Financial wellness,
  • Healthy aging,
  • Heart health,
  • Nutrition,
  • Physical fitness,
  • Sleeping habits, and
  • Stress management,

explains Cretella, who developed the content for the online Wellness Library, available as part of the BLR’s TrainingToday. “These are topics that are going to apply to most people.”

She says trainers can help ensure the success of wellness training by getting senior management’s buy-in for it. “Get senior management on board,” Cretella says. Once management backs the wellness program—and associated training—the rest “falls into place.”

In addition to training, Cretella recommends providing wellness information to employees via company newsletters and e-mail. Ongoing communication helps reinforce what was covered in training and provides additional opportunities to educate employees about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

Employers that offer an effective wellness program—and related training—enjoy a significant return on investment (ROI). “Employer-sponsored wellness programs can decrease health insurance costs, increase productivity, and boost employee morale and retention,” says BLR founder Robert L. Brady. “Offering wellness training for employees has a tremendous ROI value for employers. An organization sponsoring a wellness program will see an increase in productivity as the result of a decline in employee absenteeism and an improvement in employee morale as they demonstrate that their organization values the well-being of their employees—both on and off the job.”

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Why It Matters

  • For every $1 that employers spend on a wellness program, they will see a $3 ROI over the long term, Cretella says.
  • That’s certainly a healthy return!
  • And with effective education on your wellness programs, you may even be able to get a higher ROI.