Developing and managing an organizational wellness program is no easy feat. These programs have a significant impact on employee wellbeing and organizational health. They require leadership buy-in and financial backing to prosper. The approach you take when crafting your program is equally important. Your wellness challenge must be inclusive of employees of all fitness levels, ability levels, and body types by offering modifications and alternatives when needed. Your wellness challenge is inclusive when it engages employees at all stages in their wellness journey.

Before rolling out your wellness challenge program, ask yourself these questions:

Am I engaging employees of all ability levels?

Your wellness program could have a significant impact on the health, wellbeing, and morale of your employees. Successful wellness programs focus less on competition, and more on inclusion. Activity challenges that focus specifically on running or walking the most may exclude employees of certain fitness levels or with certain health conditions. For instance, running may not be possible for employees with disabilities or other physical limitations. Yoga, swimming, cycling, elliptical training, or kayaking may be more accessible options.  Inclusive wellness challenges engage employees of all ability levels.

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Walker Tracker software syncs with most step tracking devices and with our challenge builder admins have the option to create a step or activity based challenge (or both). Our sales team is happy to help you build a more inclusive wellness challenge.

Is this wellness challenge ADA compliant?

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, one in four adults in the United States have some type of disability. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment. Reasonable accommodations includes “modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity’s employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities.”

Nearly 14% of all adults have a mobility impairment, so it is incumbent on wellness coordinators and HR leaders to develop wellness programs and activity challenges that are inclusive of employees with disabilities. Wheelchair users face a particularly challenging health issue – sitting for long periods of time. Recent studies have shed light on the dangers of prolonged sitting, but wheelchair users can combat these hazards with exercise. Engaging employees who are wheelchair users, arthritic or have other mobility impairments could have a tremendous impact on their wellbeing, morale, and engagement.

Am I engaging employees of all body types?

Weight management challenges could be of interest and value to certain groups of people, but wellness programs that primarily focus on weight loss and management could exclude employees with low body fat or eating disorders. Some employees may not feel comfortable disclosing their weight. Furthermore, skinny does not always equal healthy. Your wellness challenge should encourage growth, learning, and discovery: what physical activities are appealing to me? How do my habits impact my overall health? How do I feel after eating certain foods? What foods and activities energize me? 

Your program should reflect inclusivity: metrics like sleep, hydration, nutrition, and mindfulness practices can be more helpful wellness goals than weight loss.

Is your communication strategy robust and inclusive? 

One of the keys to success in developing a workplace wellness program is communicating to employees. A robust communication plan leads to higher engagement, and subsequently better outcomes. Develop communications that engage employees who are English language learners. Keep communication consistent by regularly sharing the goals and objectives of your program for organizational alignment. Highlighting successful outcomes can build excitement and enthusiasm.

Inclusive wellness challenges promote a culture of wellbeing while leading to higher employee engagement and morale. Our sales team is happy to help you develop wellness challenges that foster inclusion and belonging.