Four Steps to Building a Successful Workplace Wellness Program

Four Steps to Building a Successful Workplace Wellness Program

This October, it’s time to celebrate all things small business.

While we recognize small businesses for their contributions to their communities and the economy, it’s also a good time to reflect on the health of your business and your employees.

October is Healthy Workplace Month and a good time to think about how the health and well-being of your employees contributes to the health of your business. Workplaces that implement a workplace wellness program often experience increased morale and productivity, as well as while decreasing absenteeism and costs associated with sick and disability leave. Wellness programs can also help recruit, engage and retain top talent. But what exactly does a successful workplace wellness program look like?

Programs that are a success generally follow the following practices:

  • Get Senior Management Buy-in. Perhaps the single most important element in building and sustaining a wellness program is having the buy-in of your senior management. Within any organization, senior management’s commitment is a key factor for success. When they recognize the benefits of a healthy workplace to both the organization and employees, they are more likely to commit the time and resources required to support and implement the program. Many successful programs are led by senior management for a reason – employees often model the behaviour of their boss. Typically, employee participation increases when management visibly supports and participates in the programs.
  • Create a Workplace Wellness Committee. Designate a wellness leader of champion in your organization. A champion can be someone who has responsibility for workplace wellness as part of their job description or an employee interested in workplace wellness. The ideal person is someone who has a mandate to carry this out and is personally interested. In many cases, the champion can make or break the program’s success.
  • Determine Available Resources. Wellness programs don’t need to be costly. With a little creativity, a few resources can go a long way. What kinds of resources do you have available for wellness activities? Some low-cost incentives or prizes will help encourage employees to participate and keep them engaged in the program. Additionally, look for ways you can incorporate wellness information and activities into your current organizational communications and activities. For example, if you have a company newsletter, consider including some health information or tips. If you hold staff events or social activities, consider incorporating some physical activity and healthy food choices into these events.
  • Determine the Needs and Interests of Your Employees and Assess Your Business. A workplace wellness program should meet the needs of all employees, regardless of their current level of health. Asking employees what they’d like to see in their wellness program provides them with a sense of ownership and is more likely to lead to good participation and engagement.

If you are interested in starting up a wellness program, but are not sure how to get started, help is here! To celebrate Small Business Month and Healthy Workplace month, Small Business BC and WellnessFits are launching a FREE seminar series to help you a your own workplace wellness program

The seminars, available via webinar and at Small Business BC, provide a step-by-step guide to designing, planning and implementing your small business wellness program.

Follow the links below to register for all three seminars:

October 8: Workplace Wellness: The Benefits, Components and Barriers
November 5: Workplace Wellness: Creating an Engaging Action Plan
December 2: Workplace Wellness: Tools for Implementation and Continued Growth

Stay healthy!


About WellnessFits

WellnessFits was a program delivered by the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, in partnership with HealthyFamilies BC. It provided businesses with the tools and personalized support to improve employee health and reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. To learn more about a relevant current program visit: