INTRODUCTION TO STEP UP
The objective of the Step Up program is to promote health and wellness in the workforce. Healthier employees are more productive, take fewer sick days and make fewer hospital visits. Healthier employees also tend to be more energetic and possess a greater ability to focus and remain on task. Establishing a walking wellness competition among your employees may result in higher productivity and could promote more active lifestyles that result in future health benefits.
The aim is for individuals (or teams) to increase the distance they walk every week for the duration of the program. Prizes may be awarded at various points when participants reach significant progress benchmarks. In addition, the individual or team that logs the farthest distance after 10 weeks wins the competition and a grand prize.
Engaging employees in a company-wide competition:
- Encourages socializing among employees
- Creates a dialogue between employer and employees
- Creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages commitment
- Publicly acknowledges employees, which has been shown to increase participation and success
- Fosters a healthy, active workforce
- Shows employees that their employer cares about their well-being
You will have several decisions to make when deciding exactly how to tailor your Step Up program, but the first and most important concerns the program’s administration.
How you structure your program should depend on the size of your company. Ideally, you will designate a Step Up Program Coordinator who will confidentially handle all wellness check-ins and administrative duties. If designating a Program Coordinator is not possible, self-reporting from your employees may be an option.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Wellness programs are an investment in both your employees’ well-being and your organization’s bottom line. To be confident in your wellness programs, you need to be able to measure their success.
Lifestyle modification wellness programs, such as Step Up, support your company’s bottom line. Inactive lifestyles have long been linked to obesity, and a growing body of research suggests that sitting for long periods of time can contribute to a host of health concerns. The sedentary character of an office setting can affect your employees’ health, regardless of their level of conditioning. A small investment in a workplace wellness program like Step Up has the potential to save your company considerable treatment costs for illnesses associated with sedentary lifestyles.
According to Forbes, 75 percent of employers’ health care costs and productivity losses can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyles, and every dollar invested in wellness programs results in saving between $3 and $4 in health care costs.
Advantages of wellness programs:
- Reduced health care costs
- Stronger recruitment and retention
- Decreased number of sick days
- Reduction in workers’ compensation and disability claims
- Better overall work atmosphere and health
Although previous studies show successful returns on investment for other wellness programs, how do you calculate your own organization’s ROI?
Step Up is a measurable program. In addition to tracking step counts, consider tracking statistics like health care expenses, number of sick days and the productivity of participants and non-participants separately. You can break down the results using non-private demographic information. You can also use surveys to ask employees to report on their health, productivity and morale.
Collecting this information can help you evaluate ROI over time and make comparisons between the groups (although some people argue that those who are more health-conscious are more likely to participate). You may also be able to correlate increased employee activity with health care savings and productivity.