When it comes to running a small business, the issues that company leaders face aren’t any different than their larger competitors. However, the problems they may face can be amplified due to the fact that they have a smaller team or customer base.

Finding a wellness option that fits is no different. Being small but mighty, most small businesses have grit and hustle. It might be difficult to put any sort of emphasis on wellness through the fast pace of startup life, it’s just as important as with any larger organization with established budgets.

Working at a startup, I know this to be extraordinarily true. I’ve outlined how small businesses can make the most out of the wellness options at-hand, so that the decisions made can improve the health and retention of teams in a positive way.   

Take a pulse of your team

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make when rolling out a wellness option is going with a top down approach. For years, employers have told their employees what to do to improve their health and wellness, which has led to a status quo of consistently poor engagement rates. Consumers are now used to customization and being in the driver’s seat, and wellness programs should be no different if you want your employees to participate.

Finding a solution your employees actually want and will use is what companies need to do to help make this happen. Most decisions in organizations are made from the top down. If you have 500+ employees it can certainly be a challenge to find out what your team wants even if you have a way to survey them. If you have a smaller team it’s much easier to take a pulse on what your employees want and will actually engage with. We’ve seen it time and again- situations where wellness programs were not a success because they rolled out a program without understanding if their employees actually found it exciting and easy to consume.

Another benefit to having a smaller team is the ability to protect your company’s culture and implement small changes that lead to big results. We’re big believers that if you can implement a wellness program that fits well within the existing culture, it will allow for the organic growth of a culture that is encompassing of health and wellness. Planning a company outing? Thinking about a new health benefit? Onboarding new employees? Think how you can tactically include wellness initiatives in these everyday operations.

One Peerfit client launched the program to their employees after it was presented to them through our Nominate Your Employer feature. The client, a young technology company with two locations in Florida and California, found that Peerfit integrated seamlessly into their already established, energetic culture. Within the first month, 77% of the client's employees enrolled in the program. After taking a pulse check and listening to what their team wanted, they're able to build on their company culture, through a personalized wellness option that the entire population can enjoy. .


Make your carrier/broker your advocate

While each company has a different combination of insurance carriers and brokers that are ideally there to represent their best interest, it’s important to prioritize your needs to them and ensure they are working on your behalf.

We have many clients that receive wellness dollars through their carriers and are able to apply this towards Peerfit. For years these dollars have gone towards “wellness” initiatives that have in no way positively affected the health of their population and the carriers are taking note. With that being said, it’s important for an employer to ask their broker or carrier for these wellness dollars so they can make a direct spend on their workforce to help in lowering premiums and potentially improve retention.

Another approach is to simply see what your options are. With our insurance carrier at Peerfit, we didn’t prioritize getting wellness dollars because we offer, as you might have guessed, a healthy dose of Peerfit credits to our team to help them stay active and healthy. What we did get were Apple watches, which everyone was a pretty big fan of. As a company that loves sharing fitness socially, we’ve already seen folks from the team creating groups so they can participate in friendly competitions with their activity levels.


Let the wellness champions lead the way

Once you’ve taken a pulse check of what your team wants and what your options are, it’s an important final step to identify your soon-to-be wellness champions. Every office has folks that take their wellness seriously and want to share it with others. We’ve seen firsthand how finding wellness champions to help you implement your wellness program, and let it organically spread across your organization, is a key to success.

While a lot of small businesses may think they are hamstrung with budget constraints or lack of purchasing power, there are, in fact, many paths to a successful program. Take advantage of the agility and personalization that being a small business can provide and find options that work best for your company as a whole.  

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