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This week’s featured HR expert is Rhonda Meadows.
I want to add more value to our employee benefits program, but I don’t have a whole lot of extra money to spend. I already provide medical/dental/vision coverage to my employees, but it doesn’t extend to their families. Instead of spending more on health insurance, what can I offer my employees to add value?
I have a couple great ideas for programs that I’ve used in the past.
The first one has to do with families—your employees’ families. It’s called “Passport to Health,” and it’s a family health fair. All family members need to be aware of their health, and this is one way to show your employees that you’re thinking about their families.
To prepare for this, you would call your broker. You pay your broker a lot of money, so use them! You’d tell them, “We are going to have a health fair to enhance our wellness program, and I would like you to help me arrange for representatives from medical, dental, and vision providers to be at the health fair.” Ask your broker to invite these providers to come and represent their companies, and have your broker ask them to bring along some incentives and giveaways for kids and other family members. Handouts are memorable!
You can brainstorm more ideas with your broker, perhaps inviting more companies associated with wellness. You could invite the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society, for example. One time I had an employer invite a representative to set up a hearing booth to test people’s hearing. You could also invite a nurse from your provider group to come and check people’s blood pressure. Then choose a date, and let your employees know ahead of time to plan on bringing their families.
I call this program “Passport to Health” because we provide “passports” to all participants, including the kids, that they then use to collect a stamp from each booth they visit. The kids especially love to get their passports stamped. Once they’ve collected all their stamps, then they get a little prize. And the prizes would be provided by your broker and/or your healthcare provider. So you really don’t have to spend a lot of money on this type of event.
One thing you can spend a little bit of money on is some healthy food. Add some fun music, too, which will encourage people to stay awhile.
This is a great way to get to know the families in your company, get kids in the room having fun, and just bring people together. It gets your employees to engage with the company, their families, and each other in a common goal towards wellness.
The other idea that I have is really fun. This is employee-only engagement, because it is an ongoing competition at work. I like to call it “Wellness Football.” Ask someone creative who’s good at building things to create a small football field to place in your breakroom or another common area, somewhere people will see it. That way, everyone will see the two teams’ progress on a regular basis, which will keep the competition top-of-mind. And I would suggest doing this in the fall during football season!
To make the football field, start with a piece of plywood, add some outdoor carpet (turf), and mark the yard lines and the end zones. Then purchase two teams of those plastic football players online—they’re very inexpensive. Attach some Velcro to the bottoms of each player. Divide up your workforce into two teams, and line up the plastic players from each team on the end zones facing each other.
Each team can earn 10 yards and move forward one hash mark by meeting certain goals. You can set milestones like walking two miles together as a team, eating a healthy lunch together, drinking eight glasses of water a day. It should take about one month to get a touchdown, and the first team to get a touchdown wins!
This is a great way to engage all of your employees in some friendly competition. People really get into it. They love the competitive spirit, it makes wellness part of your everyday routine at work, and everyone gets excited during football season.
And you could even end the competition with the Super Bowl! Your final push could be a Super Bowl–themed wellness party.
It’s good to do something like this every quarter to keep employees engaged regularly. These are just two ideas for quarterly wellness enhancements, extra things you can do that are easy and inexpensive. The key is to provide some fun opportunities to engage your employees and make them feel like their employer really cares about them and their health. Plus it’s a great way to get everyone together and just have some fun away from their desks!