Employee wellness programs are good for everyone. Companies enjoy health care savings and employees enjoy, well… good health! But if they’re so great, why isn’t everyone on board the wellness train? Why do some employees resist something that’s good for them?
Many reasons prevent participation: privacy, time, inconvenience, apathy, ignorance and personality, to name a few. But while 100% participation may not be feasible, companies can get employees excited about wellness, and therefore tempted to stick their toes in the wellness waters.
One thing companies should not do is force participation. Penalizing employees who fail to fill out HRA’s, like Pennsylvania State University did a few years back, failed to motivate compliance. In fact, workers resisted.
But here’s what businesses can do.
1. Make health convenient and affordable
On-site offerings like fitness centers, educational speakers, smoking cessation support and other amenities not only encourage healthier lifestyles but improve employee engagement. Workers feel that their employer cares, and since it’s right there where you work, they are more likely to engage.
Alternative health resources that focus on renewal and stress-reduction like massages, Tai-Chi, reflexology, reiki, yoga classes and acupuncture drive wellness while appealing to mellower temperaments or beginners hesitant to jump into hyper-aerobic activities. And the more variety of high and low key health options, the larger the draw.
2. Make health a priority
Visible and affordable health tools help. But promoting these tools can widen the participant base. Incorporate health messages and accountability reporting as part of everyday business. These can be implemented into weekly sales meetings, newsletters, text messages or email reminders.
Stocking vending machines with less produced food and more nutritious snacks is one more way to show the company is serious about health. When company leaders show up at the gym to lift weights or generally model fitness enthusiasm and leadership, employees understand health is not mere lip service.
3. Create an inclusive health culture
When employees understand that they work for a healthy company, they’re more likely to try and fit in. Not just peer pressure, but the genuine care communicated by a comprehensive wellness culture- one echoing in every corner of the workplace- inspires participation. When they know their work has benefits beyond the paycheck, employees invest more in themselves as valued human beings.
A health culture thrives where health and safety reign, top players lead the health drive, and, most importantly, workers feel valued and empowered. This means thoughtfully chosen, comprehensive programs with components that support anyone from the couch potato to the triathlete. You need something for everyone, so no one feels left out.
4. Communicate and educate people
There’s no sense in hiring a lifestyle coach for your wellness program if no one knows you have one. Employees need to know what is being offered to them. Regular communication that explains and reinforces wellness opportunities improves program success.
5. Keep it fun, ongoing, and interesting
Making healthy lifestyle changes can be tough, especially for the skeptics. But there are so many options for laughter, relief, silliness and heart-pumping fun. The internet offers a host of ideas for fun wellness ideas. To get started, check out Snack Nation‘s list- there are 121 of them.
Keep them coming back for more. Mix up prize giveaways with long-term, stepped achievement goals that have incentives along the way. Poor health has many causes, and so, there are many behaviors and habits to target, some that take time to resolve or dissolve.
Finally, keep it interesting. Change it up. Throw in surprise gifts, competitions or activities, every so often. Organize healthy cooking classes on Fridays or call a ten-minute meditation/eyes-closed break. An impromptu 24 hour log-in your stairs contest may be a fun way to kick-off the work week.
Health Hero provides smart, multi-channel and integrated health engagement experiences that are powerful and simple to deploy to employees in seconds. Contact us today to learn how we can create a customized plan for you!