Employee wellness programs received a lot of attention this past year. The increasing healthcare costs, the declining health of the population and a new generation of employees entering the workforce, the millennials, call for a significant change in the work environment.

But what will set your wellness program apart in 2014?

Continue reading, as I thought to make your life easier and pinpoint the five trends you will need to adopt in 2014 to create not only a healthier workforce, but also a business that excels at attracting and keeping the best talent.

1. Transform HRAs into Metrics

Think of HRAs (health risk assessments) as you do about your company’s balance sheet. In business school we learn that the balance sheet is a snapshot of the company’s financial condition at a point in time. HRAs give you your company’s health assessment also at a point in time.

Which means, that you will need to set schedules when you repeat the HRAs to understand the metrics and their evolution. Also you need to define what you need the desired metrics to be for your company in order to improve your staff’s health and control your healthcare costs. Make 2014 the year of the comprehensive and reliable HRAs. Use online tools to be able to accurately and quickly aggregate results. This will allow you to direct funds and efforts to the areas that need the most attention, and also that are working the best.

2. Get Personal

Whether you are in charge of a large or medium corporation, health is a personal and private matter. Hence, in order to truly change unhealthy behaviors, corporate wellness needs to have a personal touch. Lifestyle management coaching is a great way to enable employees to have their questioned answered and cut through the clutter of irrelevant health information. Lunch and learn sessions, or an on-site monthly health coach/dietitian visit are great ways to ensure that wellness is not just a company policy, it’s a true corporate movement.

3. Think Outside the Gym

Wellness in 2014 is more than subsidizing a gym membership. The wellness leaders of 2014 will find interesting ways to include movement into the daily routine of their staff. While you may not be able to create walking desk stations (yet!) you can innovate by having walking meetings or challenging everyone to take the stairs instead of the elevator for a whole month. One company actually had a scheduled 2:15PM 10-minute stretch session hosted by the on-site wellness manager each day. Every minute counts!

4. Make Use of Technology

If your wellness program is not tech-savvy yet, then 2014 is the year when you will want to upgrade. There are numerous platforms that allow employees to make use of their mobile devices and PCs, to engage in community support networks that support healthy behaviors. Apps such as GPS for the Soul can read your stress level from your phone and suggest a 1-minute stress reliever exercise that allows you to get into a calmer state. Fitbit, for instance, offers an interactive and fun way for employees to challenge and compete with each other based on their daily steps count (using various pedometers).

5. Focus on Total Quality of Work-life

Successful wellness programs in 2014 will focus on total quality of life initiatives. Companies will need to walk the talk and creative a supportive environment that helps employees develop healthy habits and keep the workplace fun. Small and consistent steps towards wellness lead to big changes.  Healthy snacks in the corporate kitchen or cafeteria, motivational posters reminding employees to focus on healthy living, lunch and learn seminars teaching financial wellbeing skills, de-stressing exercises and how to read food labels are just a few of the events that successful healthy organizations will host in 2014.

Conclusion

Wellness is a business strategy. It’s an effective way to attract better talent, increase employee engagement and decrease healthcare costs. Successful wellness in 2014 will come from a holistic approach on total quality-of-life programs, from good use of technology and above all, a personal approach.

People will forget what you said But people will never forget how you made them feel.

If you can follow one advice from the list above is this: Make it personal. Don’t tell people what they need to do to be healthy. Help them be part of the solution.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think the wellness trends in 2014 will be in your companies. Leave me your thoughts and questions below.

Wellness Program Call To Action