How do you know what employee wellness programs will work and have an impact, motivating employees to engage?
Is there a workplace wellbeing crystal ball? Not to my knowledge! The good news is that there are success strategies and key components that have been shown to improve the engagement of your wellness programs and consequently, the health of your population.
Fresh Perspective: Initiate and Cultivate Cultural Change
Many employers initiate employee wellness programs that begin with addressing health risks and promoting risk reduction programs to benefit employees. While well intentioned, one flaw with this strategy is that it assumes the employee will make the change or can be motivated to change. While this is possible, a more current view of a holistic wellbeing program is to meet employees “where they live.” Here are 4 ways to increase the effectiveness of your corporate wellness strategy:
Understand Your Employees’ Priorities
Find out from your employees what they are concerned with and what they care about. You might feel that they should care about heart disease, BMI, high blood pressure, etc., but if it isn’t a priority for them, your program won’t be successful. Start with what the employee would like to change and when they’re feeling confident they will expand to other health improvements.
Personalize Your Program
There’s a newer phrase circulating in the health and wellbeing industry that promotes employers to “Bring Human Back” to the workplace. Our “crystal ball” of wellness components include areas that assist with personal and specific goal-oriented programming. For example, find out what is causing stress for millennials and generations responsible for millennials. Could it be the financial burden of student loans? One strategy is wellness incentive management. This program is where an employer targets benefit plans and wellbeing rewards to personal needs such as a benefit for student loan repayment, or the opportunity to earn points for health coaching sessions that can translate to dollars towards loan repayment.
Involve Your Employees
To encourage and cultivate a culture of wellbeing, connect employees to the process of how they would like to approach health improvements and topics they care about. Education via webinars, family sessions, self-help materials, individual counseling, internet resources and seminar programs allow the employer to fit programs to employees’ lifestyle, schedule and comfort level.
Document Your Progress
Focus on recording both successes and stumbles. By measuring if, when and how employees made changes (did they use the tools that they learned in a mindfulness seminar, for example), your program is better positioned to garner resources and gain tangible results.
Employees need to believe you’re on their side, in a supportive environment. They want to feel their best and bring their best selves to the job but often don’t know where to start.
It’s not to say you ignore health risks altogether. Instead, emphasize meeting people “where they live” tapping into their motivation and existing goals to move in a positive direction with the right tools at the right time.