By Jennifer Baker, Wellness Events, LLC

It’s a new year! What is the first thing everyone does in the new year? They find something about themselves or their living situation they do not like and plan to improve upon it (i.e., a resolution). This could be anything from financial improvement, a reduction in stress, reorganizing your house and the list goes on and on.

The number one resolution for 2017 (and probably several years past) is to lose weight or eat healthier. That is an ambiguous resolution! Where do you begin? How do you go about finding resources to assist in this resolution? In theory, saying out loud you want to lose weight is great – but you need a plan.

People want to live an overall healthier lifestyle. They need assistance on finding resources that are available to them. If they do not get assistance, they will most likely give up on the resolution within a matter of weeks.

Employers are in agreement. They want their employees to live an overall healthy lifestyle. You know the old saying, “Happy employees equals happy customers,” which ultimately means a successful company. More and more businesses are incentivizing employees to be healthy with wellness programs. They can consist of biometric screenings, smoking cessation classes, pedometer programs, lunch and learns, and health fairs. By participating in these programs, employees could earn anything from a financial incentive, a company logo-ed item or even an extra PTO day.

Employers are trying to be creative with how to motivate employees to participate in wellness programs. Some employers have a budget for those efforts, but most have little to no budget. Wellness programs usually fall in the lap of the human resources department to manage. There are several companies out there that can manage a wellness program on behalf of the company. Most companies do charge a fee to manage the program.

So, where do employers begin? Formulate a plan. You will need to make sure you have a roadmap for the program. This will assist you when you are justifying the program to upper management. Even if the program does not cost the company additional funds, you are still using manpower. Start out small and try to find ways to educate and motivate employees. Lunch and learns and health fairs are a great place to start. These are free for the company to host.

When I was a part of corporate America, the budget discussion was always an issue. There is no formula to calculate the return on investment for wellness programs. This is why I created the company Wellness Events, LLC. I figured most companies did not have the budget or employees’ time to coordinate the educational information for employees. Wellness Events offers the management of the company’s lunch and learns and/or health fairs at no cost to the employer. At wellness events, we have a database full of vendors that can assist companies in finding the right types of assistance for their employees.

Our goal is to partner with companies to ensure that their employees have every opportunity to find the resources they need to assist in successfully completing their New Year’s resolutions and beyond. In the end, everyone wins!

Happy 2017!