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10 ways to Include Employees in Wellness Program Design

Written by: Dana Wisniewski, MS | Health Promotion Manager | AdvantageHealth Corporation

How to create an employee wellness program that is "done with and for employees, and not to employees". Learn how to build trust, engagement and excitement while eliminating push-back from employees by including them in the program design.

Including employees in the design of an employee wellness program is a valuable approach as it fosters engagement, ownership, and a sense of shared responsibility. Here are some steps to involve employees in the process:

  1. Communicate the Purpose: Clearly communicate the purpose and benefits of the wellness program to employees. Explain that their input is crucial in tailoring the program to their needs, improving their well-being, and creating a healthier workplace.

  2. Establish a Wellness Committee: Form a wellness committee or a representative group comprising employees from different departments or levels within the organization. This committee will act as a liaison between management and employees, ensuring diverse perspectives are considered. AdvantageHealth can help you create this committee with key stakeholders within your organization.

  3. Conduct Surveys or Focus Groups: Administer surveys or conduct focus groups to gather insights from employees about their wellness needs and preferences. Ask questions about their current health challenges, interests, preferred activities, and suggestions for program components. Ensure anonymity to encourage honest feedback.

  4. Assess Existing Resources: Evaluate any existing wellness initiatives, resources, or facilities already available in the organization. Determine what has been successful in the past and areas for improvement. This assessment will serve as a foundation for designing the program.

  5. Brainstorming Sessions: Organize brainstorming sessions or workshops with the wellness committee and interested employees to generate ideas for the program. Encourage open discussions, creativity, and collaboration. Explore various aspects, such as physical fitness, mental health, nutrition, stress management, and work-life balance.

  6. Prioritize and Refine Ideas: Review the ideas generated in the brainstorming sessions and identify the most feasible, impactful, and relevant ones. Consider the organization's resources, budget, and constraints. Refine and prioritize the ideas based on employee feedback and alignment with program goals.

  7. Collaborative Program Design: Involve the wellness committee and interested employees in the design process. Work together to develop program components, such as fitness challenges, workshops, educational sessions, health screenings, support groups, or wellness incentives. Encourage creativity and input from diverse perspectives.

  8. Pilot Programs: Consider piloting a few wellness program initiatives before fully implementing them. This allows for testing, feedback collection, and necessary adjustments based on employee experiences and preferences.

  9. Communication and Feedback: Maintain open lines of communication throughout the program development and implementation phases. Provide regular updates to employees on the progress and decisions made. Encourage continuous feedback to ensure ongoing improvement and customization.

  10. Evaluation and Adaptation: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the wellness program through metrics, surveys, and employee feedback. Analyze participation rates, health outcomes, and employee satisfaction. Use this data to make informed decisions and adapt the program as needed to meet evolving needs.

By involving employees in the design of the wellness program, you create a sense of ownership, increase engagement, and improve the chances of successful adoption. Remember to celebrate successes and recognize employee contributions throughout the process to maintain motivation and enthusiasm.

AdvantageHealth Offers Program Consulting Services:

Email Kristine Keykal at to get started or call 612.823.4470 (select option “1”) for more information or pricing.

Dana Wisniewski, MS, has worked with AdvantageHealth for 13 years. From designing wellness programs for CO's largest school district with over 12,000 employees to health coaching one-on-one, she specializes in cultivating a healthy, thriving workplace. She holds certifications in yoga teacher training, mediation teacher training, personal training and wellness coaching and has published three books.

Since 2001, Minnesota-based AdvantageHealth has been delivering award-winning employee wellbeing programs and fitness center design & management throughout the U.S.

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