If you're like everyone else, you are racing to attract talent. And a very big part of that race is corporate wellness programs.
But right now healthier snacks and a gym reimbursement aren't differentiators anymore, so companies are looking for more creative ways to bring health into the workplace.
And by thinking outside the box and implementing some fresh corporate wellness program ideas, you can attract better talent while improving health in the process.
Unique Wellness Program Ideas
Before we dig in to our list, I want to share my favorite example of a creative health program from a Silicon Valley tech start-up I interviewed years ago. Though the company's headquarters were pretty impressive by themselves, I wasn't prepared for what I'd see on the final stop on the office tour.
We rounded the corner and my guide introduced, with a degree of pride on his face, The Dance Dance Revolution Room.
If you're unfamiliar with it, the game is fairly simple—you dance in rhythm to music and choreography mapped out on screen, tapping large buttons with your feet. The more accurate you are, the higher your score. In addition to being a lot of fun, DDR (as the professionals call it) makes you work up quite a sweat.
This company's DDR room was full of consoles. And as my guide explained, the company took its DDR tournaments very seriously. The funny thing is that to this day out of all the perks, benefits, and salary offered by that company, what made me want to work there most was that DDR room.
Consider this: Employers spent an average $220 per worker on wellness incentive awards last year, up 35% from $163 in 2009, according to a survey of more than 1,200 employers from Buck Consultants, a benefits-consulting group based in New York. About 11% spent more than $500 per employee last year.
Considering those costs, wouldn't you want your company's wellness program to stand out from the crowd?
If you’re looking to meld creativity with health, you’re onto something that can set your company apart. And if you’re looking for some ideas, I’ve listed a few here.
1. Dental Wellness Programs
And I mean that literally. Dental plans are a nice perk, but they don’t really set your company apart. Not to mention -- who wants to take time off from work for a trip to the dentist? If you’re looking to make a big splash, consider bringing in an in-house dentist occasionally to provide check-ups and cleanings.
2. Onsite Corporate Medical Care
Like dentists, doctors are starting to show up more frequently in the office. A general practitioner who can handle common illnesses, offer one-on-one consultations, and prescribe medicine takes a load off of your employees’ to-do lists and makes the workplace really convenient—and healthier.
3. Train Your Fitness Freaks into Wellness Program Masters
From the yoga guru to the Zumba enthusiast, every organization has a group of employees passionate about fitness. You can harness that passion and create a healthier workforce by making those employees an offer they can’t refuse.
Here’s how it works: send them to teacher certification classes. You pay for their training, they get certified. The catch? Those employees hold classes during occasional lunch hours. It’s a win-win. <--TWEET THIS
4. Creative Wellness Program Ideas: Ultimate Stair Challenge
This is one of my all-time favorite corporate wellness ideas. My friend’s company offered a brand new car to the employee who climbed the most stairs over the course of the year. Located on the 14th floor, you can imagine how intense this got.
Employees took it beyond seriously.
And even though the competition got heated at times, the results spoke for themselves. The winner lost 50 pounds climbing stairs. You don’t have to gift a car—the idea is to get creative on how you increase healthy competition in your office.
5. Let Employees Nap at Work
Controversial? Maybe. But an increasing number of companies are starting to take the benefits of napping seriously. They’re offering napping rooms available to employees throughout the day.
Maybe the craziest part about this (to me at least) is that employees are taking advantage of it. Napping rooms are a great way to let workers catch up on their sleep, but I recommend keeping them clean and well stocked or people won’t end up using them.
6. Vendor Partnerships Promote Wellness
One way to turn heads when trying to attract talent is through partnerships.
Offering your employees bikes at cost through a local dealer or national reseller, for example, is a nice perk, and it’s also an incentive to get your workers riding their bikes to the office. Subsidized lunches at healthy restaurants is another way to promote health through partnerships. And it creates an added bonus of possible cross-marketing for your business.
7. Make Wellness Programs FUN!
Just like my DDR experience, it’s a good idea to start thinking about health initiatives outside of the box. In other words, it doesn’t have to be all about buckets of sweat and doctor appointments.
Bringing in ping pong tables, Nintendo Wiis, treadmill desks, and punching bags is a great way to help your employees relieve some stress, get in shape, and interact with each other on a regular basis.
8. Plant a Company Garden
If you think I’m joking here, you should check with Google first. The tech giant started a company garden that their employees work in during the day, and it was a huge success. Not only does it get people up and moving away from their desks while encouraging them to eat healthier, it turned out to be a great way for them to interact and share some of their home-grown food.
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