Interview with Meaghan Jansen

Meaghan Jansen, MSc.

Owner, International Speaker and Corporate Wellness Specialist with Employee Wellness Solutions Network (EWSNetwork)

bh in Brief

Employee Wellness Solutions Network (EWSNetwork), based in London, is Canada’s leading employee and corporate wellness provider. Founded in 2003, EWSNetwork provides onsite wellness solutions to organizations across our country. EWSNetwork’s results-based and award-winning wellness programs are strategic to any organization’s needs. Main health risks and cost drivers are addressed through targeted wellness initiatives resulting in better morale, improved energy and productivity, and less time away from work.

“Strive for a strategy that is Preventive, Proactive and Promotional.” 





1. What is the key to a successful wellness program?

Hands down, the key to a successful wellness program is senior leadership support. If leadership is behind the program, employees know they are cared for. Any organization can have a successful wellness program, but programs often get better traction in smaller organizations where peer to peer engagement and culture shifts are easier. 

2. What is involved in setting up a program?

  • Take base line measurements.

    Understand your starting point. Work with your benefits team to collect and analyze current data and carry out health risk assessments to give employees information about their own health. 


  • Make sure you have the right people.

    Assemble a wellness team of enthusiastic wellness champions. Include representatives from all departments, including any satellite locations. Ensure the team has regular meetings and gets updates from HR. You can organize your program in-house, at least at first, but an external wellness specialist can help sustain your program and keep it fresh.


  • Have a wellness strategy.

    Wellness programs used to take a broad stroke approach where “one size fit all.” Expecting engagement results with this approach can lead to frustration. You need a multi-faceted comprehensive wellness strategy, not “one-off” events. Develop a wellness toolbox with several different approaches. Use the “drip” method and create layers of engagement that will eventually involve many, if not most, of your employees. Spark interest with visual cues like posters and encourage employees to become involved in varied activities such as Wellness Wednesdays, a visit from a nutritionist or a healthy pot-luck. Strive for a strategy that is Preventive, Proactive and Promotional.  

3. How do you motivate employees?

Ensure your program fits the needs and wants of your employees. Extrinsic rewards like free gym memberships or product discounts can lose steam quickly and send the wrong message. Intrinsic rewards, like being less tired or able to move more easily, help people feel the purpose behind the program. When they experience the rewards of a healthier weight, for example, people are more likely to become excited about making changes and adopting a life style that is sustainable for them and their family. And they often share their results with their peers! By focusing on healthy behaviours and providing a variety of wellness initiatives, the “drip effect” eventually takes hold. Even the most reluctant employees become more engaged.

4. How can you measure success? 

 A wellness program is not a “quick fix.” Similarly, there is no quick way to measure success. There are, however, three ways to get a good idea of the effectiveness of your program:

  • ROI – Return on Investment – a well-known metric that uses data, like number of sick days and other health cost drivers. It generally takes about three to five years to provide an accurate ROI.  


  • VOI – Value on Investment – a measure that assesses culture change, morale, rapport or camaraderie. These less tangible effects can be perceived almost immediately in the buzz around the office, the number of times you hear “thank you,” and the excitement in the air.


  • VOC – Value on Caring – having employees feel that employers care.

5. What advice do you have for employers?

Start with something; something is better than nothing. When you put up a poster, bring in a speaker, provide time for stretching breaks, or serve healthy foods at meetings, that’s “wellness.” Build from anywhere but make sure there is a direct connection between your needs assessment, what your employees want, and their engagement in your wellness activities.  Prevention must be part of your message. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), common for years, are reactive and can be costly. A wellness program is preventive. Its cost can be minimal. Your return on wellness is going to be based on what you put into your program. Investing in wellness and health promotion absolutely drives returns in several different ways. It may not be immediately obvious, but you will see a return. bh


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