Updated: Dec 11, 2019
Being the Wellbeing Manager at FitPros, I get asked one question more often than not “what are other companies doing for Wellness?” Meaning, HR Leads, People Operations Specialists and even Property Managers who have been tasked with “Wellness” that will engage their entire population, want to know a baseline, so they are able to be a strong competitor in the race to retain top talent.
Though we could pull a spreadsheet of all the programs FitPros creates for our clients (industry, cadence, frequency, offering types, etc.), this data would not be a sufficient answer to the question “what are our competitors doing?” Why? because as obvious as it may sound, what works for one company almost never works for another, and treating Wellness as a box to tick or as a means to keep your business afloat/competitive, will be VERY obvious to your population and leave them feeling not valued and in turn not connected to their employer/work.
However, the purpose of this article is not to make you feel more lost and hopeless than you were before. Though it would be easy to simply match what “other companies are doing,” what will truly make your business successful is taking the time to understand your human capital and invest in their Wellness accordingly. How? Whether you are rolling out a brand new wellness program or implementing necessary changes to maintain your current Wellness Program, below we share with you: Ways To Ensure Your Wellness Program is up to Industry Standards in 2020.
Before jumping in, it is important to ensure you as a reader have a strong understanding of what Workplace Wellness is. As this industry is emerging and changing, it is becoming harder and harder to define the concept in its entirety, but the following is a start. According to the CDC "Workplace health programs refer to a coordinated and comprehensive set of strategies which include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community designed to meet the health and safety needs of all employees." As a Corporate Wellness Provider, I find it easiest to explain Corporate Wellness as “The benefits that are meant to supplement your standard dental, vision and medical insurance,” to ensure your population has access to holistic health. Unfortunately, I have heard Wellness Benefits oftentimes defined as “Voluntary Benefits.” The word “voluntary” can indicate all too often that they are not as important as one’s medical health. However, we all know this is not the case. Wellness is the idea of being content and settled in your own life (whatever that means to you), and being “well” is more likely to ensure you are a high functioning member of society. Therefore, Corporate Wellness should be helping your employees to feel content and settled in their career, making them a high functioning member of Corporate America. Below will strategically help you to map out ways to make Corporate Wellness a success in your office, and subsequently help your company to remain competitive in 2020.
Remember the end goal - If you know what you are looking to accomplish by implementing Wellness into your workplace, work with your Broker, Corporate Wellness Provider or fellow HR teammates to create a program that addresses this goal. For more information on how to define your goals and create a program that reflects it, I highly encourage viewing “How to Make Your Wellness Program Work.”
Flexibility - There are three types of Wellness programs:
1. The HR throws together something last minute when they have the capacity to do so.
2. The HR team creates a ridged Wellness Calendar with no room for flexibility because the calendar is law and to divert away from the calendar would mean to ruin your companies’ chances for obtaining Wellness.
3. The HR team surveys and gets a strong understanding of what the employees could truly benefit from and what their budget will allow, and they create a plan based off this information, adjusting it accordingly as needs change or feedback comes in.
To have a successful Wellness Program you must be intentional. This means creating a “loose calendar.” This is not a calendar that has no direction or clear programs, this is a calendar that in a perfect world you and your team map out to ensure Wellness is part of your company's culture however, when things change so does the calendar.
Have Purpose - It is easy to let Wellness fall low on the priority list, especially during Open Enrollment. However, there is a difference between engagement activities and Wellness.
Engagement activities are part of a Wellness Program, they are not your entire Wellness Program.
What do I mean? During Open Enrollment FitPros’ most popular offering is a Health Fair. Standard Dental, Vision and Medical carriers are surrounded by vendors who educate and expose your employee demographic to healthy, geographically relevant options. This could be anything from boutique or chain fitness gyms, juice shops, financial coaching, chair massage and more! FitPros even describes these events as a Wellness parties. Fun right? Right! But for these events to be successful you as a company must continue exposing your employees to Wellness. A party is fun, but if you never see the people whom attended with you again, it becomes a blip in your life as opposed to impacting you greatly. I share this in hopes that you will see one-off Wellness events are great, but to really “do wellness” FitPros encourages all of our clients to be strategic, and have their wellness mirror other surrounding programs like the holidays, tax season or end of quarter!
Which brings me to my next point…
Organization - Where to begin? After deciding what your wellness goals are, FitPros recommends calendaring out a Wellness Year. You can find an example annual calendar HERE. However, please note that this calendar is all onsite wellness activities. FitPros understands that you are offering offsite and digital wellness benefits to all your employees as well, and calendaring out your entire year can only improve how these different wellness benefit types work together. For example, during role outs of new benefits (catered lunches and/or summer Fridays) support those activities with a nutrition education workshop or a yoga class on the shorter work days. Strategic and well organized calendars go a long way, and they will be appreciated more than sporadic activities that appear to be attempting to 'tick a box.'
Another way to ensure your wellness calendar does not come across as sporadic or unorganized is to be consistent!
Consistency - is FitPros' Account Managers first advice to every prospect, client or dormant client who is trying to get their wellness program off the ground. What does it mean? Humans by nature love routine and the true way to adopt a certain behavior change is by doing something multiple times. The same can be said for accepting wellness into your life. The first example FitPros gives to our clients is “Wellness Wednesdays.” Whether you are looking to host a Wellness offering once a quarter, month or every day, having it occur on a consistent (there is that word again) day and time, is key for people to begin accepting it into their routine. With that being said, it is not always going to ensure “buy in,” because after trying a wellness program once, if it does not appeal to them they may have a sour taste in their mouth. THAT IS OK. However, to avoid that happening, FitPros recommends strongly understanding your population and their needs.
Know Your Audience - This can be done by the very obvious “survey your employees” answer that I am sure many of you are tired of hearing. However, it is a timeless technique that is a sure way to obtain the data you are looking for. Find FitPros’ recommended survey HERE. Secondly, I often times will recommend to my clients to bring a Wellness committee together, or host a focus group session (that entails free food), to get a pulse on what the community is actually seeking in regards to wellness. Lastly, there is the option to host or have an outsider host a fireside panel chat. Make “wellness” the theme and advise all attendees to come ready to ask your panel (composed of fitness, nutrition, sleep or holistic wellness enthusiasts) questions. Not sure you have those on your staff? You do! The people who are succeeding in their job are high functioning for a specific reason. Hone in on what that reason is, and let them share advice with their colleagues. People helping people is powerful stuff.
Still looking for those wellness champions in your office? Become one!
HR Participation (and leadership) - You would not believe how many FitPros clients (HR leads, Brokers and/or People Operations) I speak with on a daily basis and more often than not when I ask, “have you tried the fitness class? Or what did you think of the cooking demo?” respond with… "oh I couldn’t step away from my desk." You are busy, your leadership team is busy and your employees are busy! The only way to increase participation, is if people feel genuinely supported and encouraged by their HR team and Leadership, which brings me back to my initial point, what is Corporate Wellness? It is what is supposed to be helping people live happier, healthier lives and the point of incorporating it into your office is to improve your bottom line, not take away from it. So make sure any program you are incorporating is something you yourself believe in enough to participate… and while you are at it, grab a C Suite buddy and collect feedback on whether the activity was worthwhile or needed some adjustments.
If it needs adjustments make sure you…
Stay in the Know - This means constantly checking in with your broker or carriers on all that they recommend you to do to increase employee productivity. This means reading books like The Healthy Workplace, Culture Code or Workplace Wellness That Works. FitPros is always available to share valuable insight on new trends such as, sales team activities like Improv and/or Social Responsibility activities. Additionally, join HR community forums such as Culture Amps people geeks slack channel, and keep an eye out for what companies who win Fortune 100s Best Places to Work are doing.
And like anything…
Trust the Process and promote - FitPros has been working closely with companies like Square for four years, and it was only after the first year of multiple fitness classes a week, that the classes truly gained a loyal following. This does not mean if something is an epic fail, continue to provide it to your employees. This means, if at first you don’t succeed, try again! If a few employees give great feedback on a low turnout event, you best believe that this information will spread like wildfire, and the next time around you will see a few more adopters, who will then spread the word to the late bloomers. After a while, you will begin to reach max participation, which will make all your efforts more than worth it. This will only be possible however if you promote the classes heavily. When FitPros coaches our clients through promotion we highly encourage using multiple channels to reach an audience. For example, one flyer circulated by email will NOT do the trick. An emailed flyer, printed posters around the office, slack channel dedicated to wellness, calendar invite and more is basic marketing 101. Meaning, most marketers believe it takes touching an audience in 7 different ways to truly get a message across.
Congratulations are in order, not just for reaching the end of this lengthy article, but also you have taken the first step… thinking about what you need to do to create a competitive 2020 Wellness program, not only shows your commitment to your employees, but also shows true dedication to making a difference in their lives.
Want to make your Wellness Program up to 2020 standards?
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