A few years ago, headlines in the New York Times screamed that corporate America is encouraging incentivized participation in wellness programs. The perks range from lowered health care premiums to other financial rewards for participation.
That is not all. Some companies went to the extent of penalizing employees for refusing to engage in wellness programs. That’s the worst possible approach towards an employee’s health and wellness. Not only does it alienate them, which is counterproductive, it also comes across as condescending and preachy.
The idea behind corporate wellness programs should be to encourage employees to prioritize their wellbeing, to improve productivity and engagement. This can be done by helping them manage workplace stress, listening to and recognizing contributions, and offering personalized programs rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.
Here are four key steps that will ensure that your wellness program has continuous, long term engagement.
#1 – Offer simple programs
Often, corporates make the mistake of hiring a wellness program partner that tosses Fitbit activity trackers at the workforce and asks them to hop on a treadmill. Remember that large, complicated fitness programs might appear to be effective in theory. But it’s not sustainable for a large workforce with diverse lifestyle habits and preferences. Instead, you should focus on offering smaller, personalized programs, such as mindfulness breaks, or Yoga.
These encourage employees to take timed pauses from their work to reflect on the present and break away from the overwhelming tech that surrounds them. It boosts focus, improves mood and reduces stress. That’s a great start.
Not only does this reduce the barriers of entry making it accessible, but it’s also something that’s universally doable, irrespective of a person’s physical conditioning.
#2 – Limit workplace wellness to the workplace
Employers asking the workforce to wear fitness trackers that can collect and compile data, such as movement and sleep, can be considered an invasion of their privacy. Instead, consider limiting workplace wellbeing programs to the workplace.
For instance, encourage the use of stairs instead of the lift. Suggest scheduled naps in the middle of the day. Happy Melon Corporate Wellness programmes offer personalized yoga, meditation, and pilates classes at the workplace, in-studio, or online, without relying on fancy (invasive) tech. Their programs are tailored to blend with the company culture and take into consideration individual preferences.
This allows employees to exercise right next to their desks, which makes it more likely that they will engage in it. The ‘I don’t have time after work’ excuse doesn’t hold water anymore.
#3 – Ensure leadership participation
There’s nothing more motivating for a workforce than management that practices what it preaches. Top executives in the organization should be actively participating in the program. A lot of business leaders in the United States now schedule their morning workouts at the workplace. This informs the employees that the leadership is an active proponent of the wellness program.
Some businesses also use performance indicators of top executives as a measurement of the effectiveness of wellness programs. This is shared with employees as a motivator.
#4 – Open communication channels
It is completely normal for every corporate wellness program to be met with some amount of skepticism, especially in the early days. That’s why it’s crucial for employers to open up an ongoing communication channel with employees.
Help them understand the objectives of the initiative, encourage a community fitness initiative, and use testimonials from employees who have found success in their personal and professional lives with these programs. Use the feedback to design a progressive wellness program that’s easier to adapt to.