What every employee needs in order for you to implement a successful wellness program.
It's no secret that healthy employees are happier ones. In 2018, more companies than ever were utilizing the term wellness to maintain and recruit employees. Some companies work closely with their insurance providers or brokers to receive a stipend and expertise to ensure that dollars are well spent, while smaller companies might visit a local gym and recruit a personal trainer to provide daily classes. Large or small, it is essential to make sure that you are creating a program that works for the entire office and it is most important that you know exactly what your employees want and need.
An EBN survey came back with three suggestions as to what employees would like to see in a wellness program. These include Flexibility; allowing employees to participate when they want, Community focused; connecting all staff with others who share similar health interests, and Personal experience; providing meaningful, realistic advice for employees’ specific situations.
However, with all the employee participation and hard work that companies are putting into the creation of effective programs, there is still an overwhelming amount of employees who do not participate. This is mainly due to the following reasons: The wrong options, a non supportive company culture and privacy concerns*.
Prior to joining FitPros I was an employee for a Fortune 500 company by day and a personal trainer by night. This experience gave me the unique ability to see a wellness program from the inside out and understand why only a handful of the same employees kept showing up for any programs offered. I saw employees completely ignoring anything that had to do with their health due to poor lifestyle choices but mostly because the majority of what was being offered was completely off target.
When it comes to wellness programs, finding out what motivates the masses is key. Employers need to spend more time on determining a programs effectiveness and providing a road map for employees as to why it is so important that they participate. Bottom line is that you cannot just implement a successful wellness program but rather need to first sell the program to your staff.
While working for this company, I was introduced to an onsite corporate wellness program for the first time. Not only were there fitness classes being offered but this company even had a small gym, equipped with showers, lockers and pretty much anything that you would expect from a local gym. Every so often I would receive a mass email reminding staff that there was a fitness class at noon or immediately after work. I thought 'how cool', but would soon realize that this was not money well spent.
I was a part of an in-house sales team that consisted of 10 employees ranging in age from late 30’s to 70 years old. The company employed well over 200 employees, the majority of which fell into this demographic. Coming from a gym environment (as a CPT), I understood why most employees were dealing with health issues that ranged from high blood pressure, cholesterol, weight issues and some who had simply given up.
What a great group to take advantage of a properly constructed wellness program that could have included biometric screenings (used to show employees why they need to participate), quarterly wellness talks (to educate and show your ongoing commitment to their wellbeing) and follow up with programs like Health Fairs, meditation and chair massages that appeal to the masses and are just fun.
The employees I worked with wanted help and I knew this because as I got to know each of them, they would pull me aside to discuss diet, exercise and what worked for me at my age. It was obvious why they were coming to me instead of taking advantage of the company wellness initiatives, due to the fact that what was being offered simply didn’t work for them. However, looking at this a little deeper, it was obvious that they all wanted to be healthy but simply needed something that fit their individual needs. What was being offered was limited in scope and produced no variety, education or solutions except to a handful of employees.
Here is what Nkechi Deanna Njaka a Mindfulness Meditation Instructor with FitPros hears from her students.
Often I hear students say "Thank you so much, I really needed that. We need mediation at the workplace." I've also heard "Can you record meditations for us, this would really help me to fall asleep at night" or "I would love to have access to your teaching other days of the week."
For me, being able to teach mindfulness practices and meditation as a weekly offering is so special. To bring a practice that is grounding and present to employees during their busy and/or stressful environments feels meaningful. As a former neuroscientist, I know the affects of mindfulness and how it mitigates stress. With this practice, I can see it first hand with the employees. They walk out of the doors with a lot more ease, feeling a lot more calm and are more relaxed. Even if I am only there for 30 minutes, it makes a HUGE difference in their day and in their lives.
If you would like some assistance, please don't hesitate to let us know. Just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 818.456.6249 to schedule a complimentary wellness program evaluation.