Rising Healthcare Costs

The top, forward thinking companies are adopting corporate nutrition and other workplace wellness programs due to the rising cost of healthcare (see chart).

With all of the dollars that can be saved on insurance premiums over the long term as well as the the significant health benefits, there is no wonder as to why.

Congratulations! If you are reading this post, you are probably interested in the health and wellness of your employees.

Successful workplace wellness programs have the power to increase staff retention, improve workplace morale, and decrease absentee days. All the while increasing energy levels, productivity, and even quality of work.

We live the the “uber” age of the workplace. More and more people are working from home or part time so the need to increase team work and unity is at a paramount for employers.

This post is designed to help you implement your own corporate wellness program.

At Signum, we believe, that when it comes to overall health and wellness nutrition plays a huge role.

Numerous studies have been done showing the effects of exercise both with and without a nutrition program.

Data on Exercise with Nutrition

We even see it with our personal training clients that follow our nutrition program as well.

For that reason, we recommend implementing a nutrition program first and foremost.

Why Nutrition as part of your Workplace Wellness Program?

  • Today, one in two Americans have a chronic disease and one in four have multiple chronic diseases.
  • Chronic disease causes seven of ten deaths in the US and accounts for 86% of healthcare expenditures, 91% of prescriptions, and 76% of physician visits (NCCDPHP 2016).
  • It is estimated that spending on chronic disease worldwide will reach $47 trillion by 2030 which is more than the annual GDP of the six largest economies in the world (Duff-Brown 2017).
  • And many of these can be prevented and even cured with implementing proper nutrition habits.
The health benefits of proper nutrition cannot be overstated. Like Dr. Mark Hyman says, “Food as medicine, and it works faster, better, and is cheaper than any drug on the market.”

Nutrition is the single most powerful driver of our health. Unfortunately, dietary advice in the mainstream media can be overwhelming and confusing.

As a result, many people do not know where to find practical advice.

A nutrition component within a successful workplace wellness program is a great way to impart valuable information and help your employees make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Best of all, the benefits are threefold in that employees will be healthier, production will increase, and money will be saved in the long run!

We hope this post can provide you with some insight as you implement a program

Number 1: Successful Workplace Wellness Programs begin with Individual Goal Setting Sessions

Your business is unique. You provide a much different service than your competitors. And you spend much of your time distinguishing your small business as a pinnacle of client service.

Well this sort of customized attention needs to be applied to your workforce as well.

A successful workplace wellness program starts with the individual. Every employee should sit down 1-on-1 with a nutrition coach to discuss their goals and challenges.

For many of your employees, their goals will take longer than just a 6 week or 28 day nutrition challenge. So setting those expectations in the beginning can be a breath of fresh air for them.

During this initial meeting it is helpful to take biometrics. You can choose to use an InBody machine but they can be expensive. There are more affordable options such as an Omron.

The important thing is you are taking objective data.

Many individuals are accustomed to looking at only their weight. However, it is important to know other things such as body fat mass, muscle mass, body fat %, hydration levels, etc.

Many success stories will see a gain in muscle, a reduction in body fat. Just looking at the number on the scale wont tell the full story.

In addition, we advise you to take body measurements such as waist, hips, arms, shoulders, thighs, etc.

We do this in a private setting. The first marker of positive change is usually their clothes will start to fit in a more comfortable way.

Next, participants will start to notice positive changes in their sleep, digestion and energy levels.

Weight is often the last indicator to move.

Number 2: Provide an environment in your workplace wellness program that promotes engagement & teamwork 

This is crucial if you want your employees to stick with it through the whole program. In the beginning of a corporate nutrition challenge, attitudes are positive and people are ready to make necessary changes.

But as time goes by people can “fall off the wagon.”

Therefore having the added accountability with a partner format can help keep people in the game for the long term.

We like to create weekly nutrition challenges worth points so others stay engage. Our corporate nutrition program sets up and administers a private facebook group for participants to create a sense of community and team work.

If you run a nutrition challenge, we recommend you do not base the winner on one factor like body weight.

Only measuring the number on the scale does not capture the whole picture and people can make the mistake of implementing FAD  and restrictive diets that dont promote long-term lifestyle changes.

In the end we want our employees to make positive lifestyle changes that will endure. The following are some ideas that we give “bonus points” for:

  1. Ask for weekly uploads or emails of participants’ food logs.
  2. Give bonus points when participants post to social media or the private members page a picture of their healthy shopping cart.
  3. A picture of proper meal prep.
  4. Tracking food in My Fitness pal
  5. Logging +80oz of water per day.
  6. Ask for bonus points for meal prep photos.

Number 3: Host an Awesome Kickoff Event at your Workplace

This is where we find many employers can drop the ball when it comes to implementing a Workplace Wellness program. Especially when it involves a nutrition component.

You want to build a sense of community and team.

If you did individual goal setting (see above) A kickoff event should take no longer than 60-75 minutes. If you have shift workers there may need to be multiple kickoff events.

In a kickoff event, you want to state the purpose of your corporate wellness program as well as set realistic expectations.

For many participants, losing 20-30lbs in 28 days or 6 weeks is unrealistic. So we want to set realistics goals.

The purpose of any great workplace wellness program should be to instill a foundation for positive lifestyle changes that the participants can take with them into the future.

Therefore achieving their goals is a matter of when and not if.

In addition you want to create a sense that everyone is in it together. A kickoff event is fundamental to this process.

Number 4: Educate the participants on the fundamentals of proper nutrition

To build on Tip 3 your nutrition program NEEDS to be educational. There is so much misinformation when it comes to nutrition. And the internet is littered with it.

Education begins in the Kickoff Event. You want to be able to educate your employee on a wide array of topics.

The following are a few topic we touch on in our Corporate Wellness Program:

Number 5: Weekly follow up and guidance for your employees

One of the biggest reasons we fail to reach with our health and fitness goals is a lack of accountability.

You need to be able to educate participants along the way. You will get a lot of questions in the first two weeks. It is vital that someone on your team is the expert.

Having weekly challenges such as meal prep photos, food shopping photos etc that count to their final score as the challenge winner is a great way to increase accountability.

Number 6: Provide midpoint check-ins for your workforce

Mid-point check ins with your employees and nutrition challenge participants is vital to the success of a wellness program.

We conduct InBody scans. It is a great way to show your employees the success they are having after all their hard work.

 An InBody allows you to show participants some of the following data points that a weight scale can not:

  • Body Fat Loss
  • Muscle Gain
  • Hydration Levels
  • Muscle Distribution by body part
  • Body Fat %
  • Basal Metabolic Rate

But it is not just about the numbers. You want to focus on the hollistics such as how are they feeling throughout the day? Are they experiencing more energy? Do their clothes fit better? Are their hormones more balanced? Do they avoid the 3pm crash?

Point out the Bright Spots.

Number 7: Reward Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Increases in muscle along with a reduction in body fat and weight is good but they are not the end result.

Your wellness program should also reward healthy lifestyle changes. These include things such as meal prepping, eating healthy snacks, sleeping and exercising more. The list goes on.

During a challenge we like to reward such lifestyle changes. It is these changes and the process that will get your employees to their health & fitness goals.

Number 8: Offer Ongoing Coaching Options as part of your Wellness Program

Ok so you ran a great nutrition challenge. Your employees saw awesome results and instilled some healthy lifestyle changes.

You are seeing the results in the productivity of your workforce. So what do you do now?

You need Ongoing coaching options. We want to make sure your employees continue to make positive changes.

We are realistic, we know that a 6 week nutrition challenge will not cut your healthcare expenses by a meaningful amount after the 6 weeks.

But if your employees stick with the healthy nutrition changes they have made for 2-3 years then you will see the effect in your bottom line.

The ongoing nutrition coaching options you are considering should continue to educate your workforce on proper nutrition. It should teach them more advanced tactics that “teaches them to fish.”

But most important, many of our clients love ongoing coaching because it provides them that added level of accountability.