What is the right way to implement a wellness program?
Wellness isn’t only about breaking a sweat. Let’s face it not everybody likes to workout, but if you throw in a health talk, a cooking class, a self defense workshop, chair massage and/or a mid-morning smoothie break, then suddenly you will be appealing to the masses. There is no right or wrong but you do need to take chances to see what sticks. Basically, wellness takes on a different shape at each company but there is one thing that all programs have in common - they take time and consistency to build momentum.
HR Departments who have a pulse on their employee's needs that are not just looking to check a box, want to make a true impact in the lives of others. It's those HR teams who understand that healthy employees are happy and productive employees. Sadly, I’ve worked with many HR managers that don’t understand why only a handful of employees are engaged. Let's dive in.
A healthy lifestyle is an ongoing and everyday commitment. And, if living healthy came without work, then 94 million Americans wouldn't fall into the obese category*. Put yourself in your employees shoes. Just because you provide it, doesn't mean they want to participate. However, try not to justify your employees lack of enthusiasm with excuses like there are no showers or our office doesn't have space. We can make some really unique things happen in awkward places and provide programs that don't require a shower. Instead of immediately slashing your wellness budget, understand that it takes time to build momentum, while adjusting the program as appropriate based on employee feedback.
There are a few actions you can take to expedite the process. First, start by implementing an employee wellness survey. Include your staff in the conversation about how to shape their program. Total Wellness is much more than bringing the gym to your office.
Ask everyone what topics they would like to learn about - i.e. Investing, Nutrition, Mental Health, what Fitness classes have they always wanted to try but were too shy or never got around to the gym. Tabata, meditation, aromatherapy, self defense and now suddenly you will realize that you are in the process of building excitement. We can help you frame up a survey - here's an example.
The best wellness providers to work with are the ones that will take your suggestions and create a program that may be completely out of the box! Fat suit sumo wrestling, Sorbet Socials or a rage room bouncy tent are great ways for employees to release stress and feel good. Remember, wellness is about feeling content and not necessarily working up a sweat.
A second step in expediting in-office wellness is to utilize the Pros. Seriously, just walking down the block to a gym to hire a trainer or having an employees friend teach at a 'good rate' to teach a class is not a well-rounded or holistic program. It's likely that you'll meet the needs of 5-10 people, but again, not everyone will want to do a fitness class in the office. So how do you reach the needs of the entire team?
Now it's time to take a hike, seriously! Perhaps it's just a stroll around the office at first to get the complacent ones away from their desks. Offer a $5 Starbucks gift card in a raffle at the end and make it fun- then you're sure to get almost anybody out of their seats! You can also create a contest, something as simple like Biggest Loser with a great prize for the winners every quarter. The more employees that participate the greater the prize.
We've seen 1 min plank challenges every day for 30 days as well as playing music for a 5 min jam session every afternoon to kindly force them to get out of their seat. Low cost/no cost activities are simple ways to start to build your ongoing, ideally annual wellness program from the ground up. Yes, I did say annual since a major key to success is consistency!
Give the Fitness Fanatics a voice and venue to share. Every company, no matter how big or small, has that group of employees who engage in a healthy lifestyle. Utilize this group and make them your "Wellness Ambassadors". They may be small in numbers, but everyone in the office knows who they are. Use these Ambassadors to respectfully talk to the older demographic to learn what they want on-site, and have them take the complacent employees out for a walking meeting to chat about what will motivate them and how HR can help. Offices with an older demo may experience that this group is the toughest but in the long run the most rewarding. The segment of your population that has families will reap the greatest benefits by taking home what they learn during the talks, cooking class and everything else you provide.
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.