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How to Build a Well-Being Program that Lasts

Chuck Chapa shares nine simple steps to starting, maintaining, and succeeding with a well-built program for employee well-being.

Well-being programs are an increasingly important benefit for organizations as well as employees. The benefits of a strong well-being program can include improved morale, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, help with employee retention, and much more. Starting a well-being program is an excellent first step, but keeping your program sustainable and successful requires a little bit of prior planning.  Here are nine simple steps on how to start and maintain a well-being program that will help it stand the test of time.

  1. Assess and Set Goals: Before launching ANY well-being program, assess the needs and preferences of your target audience. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews to understand what aspects of well-being are most relevant and desired. Set clear, achievable goals based on your findings. This removes the guesswork from establishing your program focus, and ensures you are offering something that employees will actually want to participate in.

  2. Establish a Wellness Committee: Gain support from key stakeholders and leaders by including them in the planning process! A wellness committee can play a pivotal role in the ongoing effectiveness of your program. When leaders actively promote and participate in the program, it sends a powerful message about its importance within the organization. Additionally, a Wellness Committee can support you in planning, implementing, and promoting your program!

  3. Allocate Resources: Before you launch your program, be sure to plan for adequate resources including budget, time, and personnel to support the program effectively. Programs can be run on a small budget and still be successful, but knowing exactly what resources you have to work with is a crucial step.
  4. Design your Program: One major pitfall of many wellness programs is that they only focus on a singular area of well-being. When you are planning the design of your program, be sure to consider the various dimensions of well-being, such as physical, mental, emotional, financial, and social. Offering a diverse range of activities and resources ensures your program caters to the needs of ALL your employees and their many passions and interests.

  5. Evaluate Continuously: Evaluation is a frequently overlooked aspect of building and implementing a well-being program. As you plan, set up opportunities to measure program effectiveness using metrics such as participation rates, satisfaction surveys, and other health-related outcomes. Looking at what worked, what didn’t work, and what got missed, etc., can really help fine-tune your program to ensure continued success.

  6. Promote and Communicate: In the beginning, promotion and communication are major components of launching your program. As time goes on, promotion and communication strategies may start to take a back seat, but as you plan and continuously evaluate, remember to maintain these efforts to keep the program visible and top-of-mind throughout the entire year.

  7. Cultivate a Supportive Environment: Foster a culture that values well-being and supports individuals in their journey toward better health. Encourage peer support, recognition of achievements, and open dialogue about well-being topics.

  8. Keep it Flexible and Adaptable: Things happen, interests evolve, and environments change. As you plan and evaluate, try to flex and adapt your program to the changing needs and circumstances. Be willing to modify the program based on feedback, emerging trends, or external factors.

  9. Integrate with Organizational Policies: The more you can integrate well-being initiatives into organizational policies and practices, the greater the chance of long-term success. For a good well-being program to be successful, it needs to be an integral part of your culture.

A little bit of planning can go a very long way towards lasting program success. Take the time to build a comprehensive strategy, and as you develop your program, be sure to start small and grow at a pace that is sustainable for both you and your employees.


"Workplace Playbook" by the American Heart Association -

"How to Establish and Design a Wellness Program" by SHRM -

"Wellness Committee Guide -