How to Start or Step Up an On-site Wellness Program
We spend most of our lives at work. Our time is valuable, and so is our health. Let’s nurture it and start a wellness program at work that actually works.
1) Prioritize getting your executive leadership on board with your wellness proposal. “According to a 2016 Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) survey, 85% of CFO’s play a role in benefits decisions.” Conduct a survey or a brief interview with leadership to see how to best create a culture of wellness. Find commonalities between the company’s mission and its wellness beliefs, and then assign top level leaders a role, such as the Director of Wellness, to guide the wellness program. It can be as simple as creating a Google Form with direct questions. Fit Pros can help you come up with the questions, but here are a few ideas:
How do you incorporate wellness in your daily life?
How do you like to workout?
Does your company’s culture embody the Gallup Healthways Well-being 5: Purpose, Social, Financial, Community, and Physical?
2) Survey Employees. Learn what they are interested in and when it’s convenient to participate. Ask them how they define wellness and how their company could touch on the above five elements of well-being.
3) Start slow, but steady. When you start scheduling fitness classes and wellness lectures, be consistent with it. The Wellness Director of OrthoCarolina, Jason Boudrie, recommends creating “a regular, methodical implementation plan” to make it easier for employees to follow.
The same rule of taking “a person at least six times to see a marketing message before they retain it" applies to onsite wellness programs—with that number rising due to the increased distractions of social media. If you want your staff to truly implement habit changes that will keep them healthier (less sick days/ more productive), and happier (dedication to your workplace and their team) then designing a long-term, sustainable wellness education program is imperative.
3) Drive employee engagement with monetary incentives and varied wellness options. For Jason Boudrie’s employees, the employee participation rose from 50% to 80% by including a cash reward system and a more varied wellness approach that targets more than just the physical aspect (stress-awareness, budgeting skills workshops) The best way to not single out competition between employees is to separate them into teams, and to reward the team that wins a wellness challenge. That will maintain a sense of camaraderie and sustain a team-building work ethic.
4) Get Feedback, Tweak, and Repeat through surveys and analytics. Technology has made it easier to measure our fitness parameters and this information can be used anonymously to measure how well the program is doing. Data can be collected through wearable devices, such as Fitbit, and employees can be kept accountable through its company’s online wellness portals. We are always learning new ways to improve upon our own fitness endeavors, and a wellness program should be operated in the same fashion. Success should be obtained through a fluid, progress-based program, and employee involvement in shaping the wellness program will be much appreciated by them, and therefore engender better accountability.
5) Encourage leadership to personalize the wellness program by acting as a friendly resource, not as a gatekeeper. Employees do not like being measured in numbers, nor like being told what to do. Rather, Jason Boudrie asked employees to make health improvements instead of specific biometric goals--allowing employees to measure their own individualized or non-judgmental parameter of wellness.
6) Nominate wellness champions. Another successful concept is to select one person in every department of your company to meet once a month. At this monthly meet-up, the group will brainstorm ways to spread the wellness word and get their colleagues active. Small incentives such as offering complimentary massages or classes at a nearby studio/gym could incite participation. An idea for employee entry is to write a brief explanation about his or her proudest health accomplishment, what they want to achieve, and why they want to be part of the Wellness Ambassador program.
1) “2017's Healthiest Employers: 5 Lessons and Trends.” 2017s-Healthiest-Employers-5-Lessons-Trends_PDF, content.fitbit.com/2017s-Healthiest-Employers-5-Lessons-Trends_PDF.html?utm_source=webinar&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2017-12-Healthiest-Employers.
2) Gallup, Inc. “Why Your Workplace Wellness Program Isn't Working.” Gallup.com, 13 May 2014, news.gallup.com/businessjournal/168995/why-workplace-wellness-program-isn-working.aspx.
3) Fitbit Health Solutions, content.fitbit.com/2017_12-HowtoKickstartYour2018WellnessProgramOrthoCarolina_OnDemandWebinar.html?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTm1NNU1XRm1OVEJrWlRZMSIsInQiOiJTaHk4M3FyMThTaHVZcDRTeVVKc3lYeThOTzc2S0lXZWtcL3FleUtFOEQweHFBY0VXcEUrb0JhSFhNOXk1dTlBMkRDQmJMZkpFU0paQ1wvV2RlOFwvTVhYOW5cL01Pamx0MThxbTRJdWtvSm9mRlhEcDJoYW93ZnNMSDhwM1lrcVhlUG0ifQ%3D%3D. Webinar.