In 1978, Roger Palmer sang that “it takes every kinda people to make the world go round.”
Your company is no different. Its success can be attributed to the variety of employees that keep operations running smoothly thanks to their different skills, strengths, and traits. Some of those people thrive on physical challenges while others prefer the activity of a daily walk. You’ve got early risers and night owls, introverts and extroverts, the logic-focused and the creatives.
With a diversity of personalities, how do you find a health and wellness program that appeals to all? It’s a riddle that the majority of businesses face. A 2019 article from the Harvard Business Review observed that, “corporate wellness offerings may resonate more with already-healthy employees, and even alienate those who are dealing with health issues in the first place, mental or physical.” How can you mitigate this risk in your own wellness program?
The solution doesn’t boil down to any one specific program. Rather, the solution is in how you champion the implementation of the program you choose. Here are 5 ways you can encourage every employee to stay enthusiastically involved as they develop lifelong healthy habits.
1. Involve Employees in the Process
Who better to tell you what people need in a wellness program than those who are using it? Use a grassroots approach to decide what’s most important in your new program by asking employees to participate in the planning process. A committee that constitutes a cross-section of employees in your company, representative of a variety of roles, will provide feedback for shaping an effective and sustainable program that appeals to all.
2. Choose Metrics That Motivate
If you know you won’t be able to achieve a specific goal, are you going to put any effort into trying? Probably not. The same holds true for wellness goals.
People who average 3,000 steps a day aren’t going to suddenly start walking 10,000 a day. Someone who gets 6 hours of sleep on a good night isn’t going to be able to carve out an extra 2 hours all at once. A person at a healthy weight won’t be able to participate in a weight loss challenge.
Rather than focusing on specific numbers, consider challenges that encourage participation and progress. Recognize effort, involvement, and growth.
3. Focus on Inclusivity
Almost half of U.S. employees work at home all or part of the time. If your company employs remote workers, you need a program that can be facilitated and rewarded online for maximum involvement. Even for in-person workplaces, an online program streamlines involvement, and an app makes participation almost irresistible.
A comprehensive wellness program also supports people of skill and ability levels. Activity converters allow you to honor any type of movement and are an integral aspect to the inclusivity of your program and to following ADA requirements.
4. Stay in Communication
A 2012 Gallup poll found that 85% of large US companies offered a corporate wellness program but only 60% of employees in those companies even knew about the programs. To make matters worse, only 40% of those that knew about the programs actually participated.
The end results? Just 24% of people whose employers offer a wellness program actually participate in it.
Maximum buy-in requires maximum communication. Share information regarding—
- why a specific program was chosen for your company.
- how to navigate the program platform (videos go a long way here!).
- informational wellness content related to a current challenge.
- all aspects of health, including physical, mental, and emotional.
5. Provide Reinforcement
Even with the successful launch of a new program or challenge, enthusiasm tends to wane over time. Consistent communication is one way to encourage involvement; however, members will also respond to reinforcement that sparks renewed excitement about healthy habits.
Reinforcement comes in a range of options, and the way you approach this aspect of your wellness program stems directly from what members respond to (think back to your grassroots approach). A few ways to reinvigorate interest are to—
- utilize seasonal and holiday wellness challenges.
- incentivise whole health initiatives, such as paid time off for volunteer work and stipends that are available for counseling or therapy.
- incorporate healthy habits into workplace routines with practices like walking meetings and encouraged break times.
- provide avenues for communicating about wellness goals, whether it’s an additional Slack channel or internal message board.
Creating a workplace culture that emphasizes healthy habits takes time and effort, but the end result is well worth the undertaking.