How To Build a Winning Wellness Program

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May 30, 2024

Plenty of South Carolina businesses are building healthy workplaces for their employees. BlueCross Blue Shield of South Carolina rewards employers every year who promote health and wellness programs with the LiveLifeBlue awards

The programs these companies create offer excellent opportunities for other business leaders to expand their own wellness efforts. We gathered some ideas from this year’s winners for creating a winning wellness program. 

Use Employee Feedback 

Giant Cement Holding Inc. won for the Charleston area’s Large-Group category. The company conducts annual wellness interest surveys to make employees feel part of the program offerings. 

To encourage participation, the company provides gift cards, reduced health insurance premiums, employee recognition and various prizes.

Create Interest Groups 

The second Large-Group winner in the Charleston area was Sonepar Management US. The company’s employee resource groups stood out because of the effort to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace. The nine different groups support employees of various backgrounds. 

These groups are active in various health promotion campaigns and help plan, moderate, and volunteer to co-lead events. These efforts led to a 35 percent increase in wellness program participation in 2023.  

Bring Care to You

Several of this year’s (and past year’s) winners offer on-site care for employees. This makes it easier for workers to get basic care without leaving the workplace. Carolina Health Centers, the Columbia region mid-market winner, employs a wellness coordinator that visits each site to promote and offer a range of wellness resources. 

They host biometric screenings, flu shots and cancer screenings onsite each year. To support employees in creating a habit of physical activity, gym memberships are subsidized. Support groups have been created for those that wish to exercise during lunch and after work.

Encourage Action 

Getting employees to have biometric screenings is a great first step. But South Carolina Federal Credit Union took it a step further. The Columbia region winner created an eight-week diabetes and cholesterol specific program with a local registered dietitian to support employees with elevated numbers. 

After refreshing its programming, South Carolina Federal Credit Union had nearly triple the number of sign-ups in its wellness offerings in 2023. It became more creative with its incentives and provided everything from new sneakers to fitness watches and often allowed employees to select a "wellness prize of choice" so they can select what means the most to them.

Don’t Forget About Social Well-Being

Greenville-based Elliott Davis LLC, hosts various events throughout the year, including game days, book clubs and bingo parties. These social-focused gatherings complement the more traditional walking, running and bike clubs.  

Get Physical (Space)

A lot of well-being work focuses on creating programs to get employees active. But building a comfortable and healthy work environment can also make a difference. Suminoe Textile of America, a Greenville-area winner, remodeled part of its office space to provide a relaxing area for employees. It added outdoor picnic areas on all sides of the facility.  

Standing workstations and fresh fruit offered throughout the plant make it easier for employees to make healthy choices. To encourage physical activity, Sumino Textile hosts various challenges throughout the year, promotes walking lunches, and has contracted with a personal trainer to assist employees in reaching their physical activity goals.  

Be Creative

This year’s overall winner, the South Carolina Department of Revenue, was strategic in its wellness program. Creative incentive offerings made a difference, including providing employees gift cards, agency swag, casual dress days, extra lunch hour, drawings and participation certificates that employees often use to decorate their cubicle walls. It has decompression pods for its call center staff, walking trails, sit and stand desks, and foot massage machines in all break rooms.

Its efforts saw a shift in participation. It measures and evaluates initiatives by tracking attendance and encouraging employee feedback so it can make sure the offerings are meeting employees needs and expectations.

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