8 Ways to Take Your Employee Wellness to The Next Level in 2018
Workplace wellness has received significant buzz within the last few years. The trouble is, it’s a daunting task, and in many instances doesn’t result in positive ROI for the employer.
Regardless of whether or not we can prove positive ROI (and we wont in this article), the statistics are staggering.
By 2030, half of all American adults in the U.S. are expected to be obese (Fitness.gov)
Our workforce is clearly headed in a dangerous direction, which will most certainly impact workplace productivity. If you’re considering taking a step in the direction of wellness, this post is designed to give you a place to start.
As with many things, wellness must be done right in order to be effective, and the returns sometimes transcend the balance sheet, with results like increased morale, employee culture improvement, and overall increased sense of loyalty to your organization.
Whatever your motivation for considering employee wellness initiatives, here is a list of 7 ways to take your employee wellness to the next level in 2018.
Aspects of wellness to consider:
Sponsor an Athletic Outing.
Fun runs, 5k’s, walking events for a cause, and even wellness retreats all seem to be growing in popularity year-over-year. These events are perfect for employers, as employees from any background can show up and participate, at whatever level they’re capable of.
Consider offering an employer-sponsored event (or multiple events) to encourage your employees to participate. Some employers even sponsor a “plus one” to enable employees to bring a spouse as well.
Taking this a step further, you can encourage employees to gather during the weeks leading up to the event for training runs, walks, etc., encouraging them to use the event as a benchmark for improving their physical health.
Delegate to a Wellness Champion.
It may be tempting to expect your HR manager to take on the burden of a company wellness program, but this not advisable.
Empowering an employee outside of HR to champion your wellness program will keep HR from becoming burned out by your new wellness initiative. Company wellness programs require organization, employee communication campaigns, and event coordination. These tasks add up to a considerable burden, and allowing an employee ample time to focus on them is the best strategy for long-term success.
Taking this one step further, consider carving out a predetermined number of hours per week or month for your “wellness champion” to focus on all things wellness-related.
Form a Wellness committee.
Do you have employees, board members, or contacts who are passionate about wellness? Many underestimate the time and understanding necessary to implement and maintain a wellness program. Having a wellness committee can help keep things fresh, while also lightening the load on your wellness champion.
Start at the top of the org chart:
Most new initiatives in any organization, whether wellness or otherwise, must start from the top.
Practically speaking, leading your wellness from the top could include sending out communications from your C-suite to your employees with a personal message or wellness-related story. A video, for example, from your CEO, kicking off your new program, and explaining the reasons for offering it sends a powerful message to each employee, and encourages participation.
Consider Financial Incentives
Some employers implement wellness programs that are completely voluntary: Perks of a voluntary program could still include certain discounts or free events, but no money is transferred to the employee’s pocket book. On the other hand, you may determine that a financial reward is worthwhile to encourage employees to get involved. Financial reward examples could include offering employees a reduced premium on their health plan cost if they engage in “x” wellness activities per month, or even just a monthly drawing for a gift card each month to those employees meeting minimum wellness involvement benchmarks.
In either case, incentivizing participation, when done right, is sure to drive increased involvement.
Just Ask your Employees
What areas of wellness would be most powerful and effective for your employees?
While you may think you already know, our intuition always falls short of information.
Consider issuing an employee survey to your staff, asking what their areas of need may be, and what they’d like to work on. It might be overall physical health, time management, personal finance management, etc…
Always Consider Your Company Culture
Take time to consider the demographics of your employees and their interests. Not only can your wellness program be impacted by your company culture: It can actually steer it in a very positive direction. Before making great strides, however, you must meet your employees where they’re at, and progress from there.
Measure, Adjust, Repeat.
After you’ve gone through the effort to put wellness activities and strategies in place, you’ll want to know how effective these efforts are, and to what extent they contribute to increased employee health, wellness, and productivity. Knowing how you’d like to evaluate your wellness program before it starts will enable you to prepare accordingly.
For example: If overall physical health is a priority, you could consider incentivizing a biometric screening before the program begins, and once yearly thereafter, allowing progress to be tracked.