As we all set out upon a still fairly new year, it’s around now that the pledges we made on New Year’s Day to be healthier and lose some weight start to fade. If you’re working on implementing an employee health and wellness program, now is a perfect time to develop a strategy to ensure your program endures broken resolutions.
Here are four steps to stabilizing your employee health and wellness program.
1. Gain support from the top.
Any full company initiative should have buy-in at all levels of the company. With a program as complicated and sensitive as a health and wellness initiative can be, it’s even more important that your executive team is on board and publicly supportive of the program. In order for an employee health and wellness program to endure and become part of your culture, it has to be shaped and endorsed by the people who create your company culture.
2. Make the program and communication comprehensive.
Employee health and wellness programs should be comprehensive. They should retain all types of employee engagement, whether it’s an already active employee that’s engaged to get insurance rebates, or someone who has never set foot in a gym but may be ready to make healthier eating choices. The more employees whose interests are addressed by the program, the higher engagement levels across your organization.
As important as the actual program structure and engagement, is the program’s communication strategy. According to Harvard Business Review, 69% of employees who don’t participate in employee health and wellness programs cite lack of awareness. Your program needs to be well publicized to be well utilized. Ensuring that communication is as critical a component to your program planning as the actual program itself will ensure that your employee wellness program will develop staying power within your organization.
3. Integrate Incentives into your program.
Providing incentives in the context of an employee health and wellness program helps boost engagement and provides a material indication of the company’s investment in the program. Small gifts, like gift cards that support a healthy lifestyle, are a great way to prove to employees that not only is the program important, but it will become increasingly important to your organization as it grows and evolves.
Incentives also help employees get through tough days in the program. For example, if an employee is one workout away from earning an incentive reward, even if they aren’t in the mood, they might be more likely to take a walk at work or hit the gym on their way home. Igniting competition (even individual competition) with a little gamification can help your program gain popularity and maintain engagement.
4. Choose a program manager.
Ensuring that your company appoints a quarterback for an employee health and wellness program keeps your program organized. A program manager also identifies a person employees can go to with questions or concerns about the program. It allows employees to gather information on the program to become more engaged, rather than avoiding the program because they aren’t sure about something.
There are many ways to ensure that your employee health and wellness program outlasts the new years resolutions of January. The overall key to success is ensuring a solid foundation. Getting the buy in you need and laying the groundwork for scalable success ensure the return on initial investment will be realized.
What are you doing to keep your health and wellness program going strong?
Tell us in the comments section below!