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How to Embrace Change With Your Wellness Initiatives

We’ve all heard the phrase, “change is good.” While we can relate to that phrase, it’s not always easy to implement new employee wellbeing initiatives in the workplace, especially when you consider other competing business priorities.

Even if your company is on board, there can also be too much change.

Finding a healthy balance in delivering a wellness plan that fits the dynamic of your workforce is crucial.

Many health and wellbeing programs have tipped the scales in the wrong direction by offering too many programs, or ones that are too complex. Recently, one of our benefits consultants recalled how a client was attempting to implement so many wellness initiatives that employees actually began to disengage completely. With fall fast-approaching, now is a great time to dig into your wellness program design and consider incorporating changes to engage employees and offer fresh programming.

Is it time to mix it up?

Here are three signs that it might be time to refresh your wellness approach:

  1. Employee participation levels are declining
    Remember when you first introduced on-site biometrics, to provide information about risks for certain diseases and medical conditions, and employee participation was through the roof? Now, fewer people are taking part in the program and it’s been a while since you’ve seen any new faces?
  2. Employee morale is low
    Too often, workplace stressors— such as layoffs or decline in business performance—can have a negative impact on wellness program engagement. Increased stress, coupled with fewer volunteers to assist with these programs can lead to the belief that wellbeing is not a core business strategy and as a result it moves lower on the list of operational priorities.
  3. Health and wellbeing benchmarks are stagnant
    Biometric data, engagement in preventive exams and cancer screenings are great methods of measuring progress. If you’ve been tracking your staff’s health improvements and aren’t seeing positive progression, your wellbeing program needs a tune-up.

Time for a wellness refresh? Start here.

When you notice employees “checking out” from workplace wellness programs, beware. This may be an indication of disengagement in other areas of their job. Referred to as presenteeism, this phenomenon is when employees show up but aren’t present and focused on their work. It can often be contributed to stressors such as recent reorganization, increased workload or a personal situation outside of work. Internal changes and initiatives that promote empathy and a greater scope of wellbeing can help reduce presenteeism.

Curious to find out what may resonate with employees? Conduct a survey.

  • Find out why they might not be participating
  • What they want to get out of a program
  • How the company can best support them, and
  • The type of incentive that would motivate them to participate.

Asking the tough questions will help determine the program components that need modification.

Wellbeing programs can be a low cost method of improving morale, especially if employees are facing increased workloads or perceive a less than stable corporate forecast. These programs allow employees to come together and set goals that help them make positive improvements in their life. Healthy employees are happier overall, they’re more resilient and they perform their best at work. Linking your initiatives with a charitable cause or event is another great way to inspire a sense of teamwork that employees will carry back to the office.

Programs that focus on stress reduction, mindfulness, financial advisement or health coaching will allow employees to set personal goals that can result in higher performance at work.

Disengagement or stagnant progress in workplace health can also be a result of too many initiatives or a lack of clarity around the programs that are offered. If your employees don’t understand how to participate, they may lose motivation. Review your plan design and consider including premium incentives or personalized health coaching; these programs set the foundation for a long-term approach to making health improvements. By simplifying your wellness strategy, you can focus your efforts on a unified plan, ultimately bringing about higher engagement.

By definition, employee health and wellbeing programs are about change. However, in addition to supporting healthy behavior changes, the programs themselves need to be flexible enough for course correction when necessary. Thoughtful and purposeful change can reinvigorate an existing program so that your wellness plan design reflects the success and momentum of your overall business strategy.

Curious about your current wellness program strategy? Contact your OneDigital consultant today.