Does Wellness Work? Ask Your Employees.

Lately, the media has been rich with stories about how worksite wellness programs don’t produce enough benefits to make it worth an employer’s investment. Although I agree that many wellness programs I encounter explain why benefits aren’t being produced, I don’t want to lose sight of all the good things that can come from running an effective and engaging wellness program.

One of our programs is a 5K training program for employees to walk, walk/run or run a 5K. I love the program because newbie runners get out and accomplish a goal they never thought was possible. The program personally resonates with me because my first excruciating and embarrassing 5K 15 years ago led me to eventually run 6 marathons and countless half marathons. My running accomplishments wouldn’t have happened without that first scary step into a 5K.

We always ask for feedback on our programs and often a few stories stand out. The following testimonials from participants made me remember that worksite wellness can change the lives of employees.

“I had never done much sports before this year. Once I turned 40, my blood test results grew increasingly, in particular cholesterol and type II diabetes indicators. Putting on weight didn’t help. In February I started running with your 5K program, and completed my first race on May 17th with a 27:18 time. By the end of August I lost 40 pounds and am holding this weight since. My race time keeps improving and I’m now hooked on running…and my blood tests are now perfect. Thanks for motivating me!”

“I am 68 and this was my first 5K….My goal was to walk it under an hour which I did…..I think I was the oldest women there Plus I am a 17 year breast cancer survivor and I had knee surgery in 1991 and can not run or jog….So I ENJOYED”

“This is the first time i been in a 5K, i am an obese person and never thought it will make such a big change in my life. I have plans to do this more often plus i am starting exercise from to day at least Mon-Fri.”

As a wellness professional, this feedback reaffirms my commitment that effective wellness programming can improve the health of employees, boost their confidence and increase their appreciation toward their employer for helping them reach goals they never thought they could accomplish.

If you have an active wellness program, I encourage you to collect testimonials from your employees after you offer a program. These can help you understand what does (and doesn’t) resonate with your employees. Plus, when you are putting energy into wellness programming, positive testimonials make it all worth it.