Promoting wellness among employees has taken on new urgency in the wake of the COVID pandemic. So much so that having a company wellness program has become THE priority among many companies that previously didn’t give it much thought. Yet being late to the game has left many of these companies trying to figure out what constitutes an ideal wellness program.

The ideal company wellness program is not one with a specific basket of benefits. It is not one that offers health insurance plus a dozen other things. Employers and their employees are different. Needs vary from one employer to the next.

If your company is looking to establish a wellness program, focus on characteristics rather than components. The various components can be switched in and out depending on demand. It is the characteristics of a wellness program that ultimately determine its usefulness and success.

Check out these five all-important characteristics:

1. Convenience

The most important characteristic of an ideal wellness program is convenience. If the programs and benefits are inconvenient to use, employees have no incentive to use them.

Do you want to work with your health insurance carrier to offer free or reduced-cost telemedicine for employees? Great. Consider opening an on-site clinic featuring telemedicine kiosks where employees can seek primary care without ever leaving the office.

2. Efficiency

The ideal company wellness program is efficient in its operation. It provides employees with the benefits they want without requiring a ton of extra work by lower or middle management. Likewise, employees can access their benefits without a lot of extra effort.

A good example of efficiency is offering an online portal through which employees can manage their wellness benefits. They can use the portal to schedule mental health visits, sign up for the gym membership, etc.

3. Minimal Administrative Effort

The ideal company wellness program is minimal in terms of its administrative burden. A well-designed program set up properly should not require the HR department or management to put an excess amount of time into administration. The program should take care of itself for the most part. Any necessary administration should mostly be handled by the company’s benefits broker or agent. That is exactly what they are there for.

4. Cost-Effectiveness

As with anything business does, a wellness program needs to be cost-effective. There is no point in paying more than necessary to supply employees with a nice range of wellness benefits. This is where having a reliable broker or agent comes in handy. It is the broker’s job to shop around to find the lowest prices and highest value possible. Shop around for wellness benefits the same way you would healthcare kiosks.

5. High ROI

Finally, an ideal wellness program offers a high return on investment (ROI). The tricky thing here is measuring ROI. What does management feel constitutes the return on a wellness program? Is it overall productivity? How about the number of man-hours missed due to illness and injury?

ROI can be measured in many ways. In terms of wellness programs, ROI is often a combination of higher productivity and lower healthcare costs. The two combined will generally lead to better revenues and profits.

The ideal corporate wellness program does include benefits that employees genuinely want and need. They are benefits that will actually be used. But the specific benefits are less important to program success than the characteristics of that program.

If your company is thinking of starting a wellness program, focus on achieving the five characteristics described in this post. As for the individual benefits, they can be swapped in and out as the employee needs demand.