Employee wellness programs continue to grow in popularity, even as many fail to reach their initial projections. Yet enough successful programs exist for us to conclude that wellness initiatives can be highly effective employee engagement, health, leadership, and recruitment tools when implemented tactically. Bombarding employees with disjointed wellness options has proven one of the most common mistakes in recent years, yielding low participation rates and gross inefficiency.
This is in large part because employees have a wide variety of needs and perceptions regarding wellness programs. Some employees have strong misgivings about wellness programs while others are thriving fitness enthusiasts. Implementing a sustainable wellness program that yields high participation rates is challenging because changing behavior is difficult – even when employees have sufficient motivation.
Rather than focusing on one specific aspect of health, employers need to provide programs that encompass the majority of their staff needs. The following are several methods employers can use to foster an holistic approach to employee wellness.
- Offering a variety of different wellness programs is the key to success. A holistic approach means providing more than exercise-based offerings. Take a litmus test of what employees want out of a wellness program. They may value financial advice, exercise and nutrition programs, mental health services, or all of the above. Having several options will appeal to a larger percentage of the workplace, yielding higher participation.
- Offer free health screenings. Employees may have a false perception of their health. If they do not know what ails them, they may not take part in wellness offerings that can prevent health-related illnesses and injuries.
- Provide incentives and health challenges. Employees like to engage in games and friendly competition. By offering a prize to the employee who best achieves their health goals (i.e. 10,000 steps each day or sticking to their budget for the month), employers are more likely to see participation rates soar. Company leadership may think employees should want to improve their health and wellbeing without an incentive, but prizes (monetary or otherwise) always help with engagement.
- Measure the effectiveness. Implementing wellness programs is not enough to improve employees’ health and wellbeing. Businesses need to measure the return on their investment to see what works and what does not. For example, employees may take part in a step challenge to achieve a minimum number of steps each day but neglect company-wide 5K runs. By seeing what employees use and which programs yield results, employers can fine-tune their wellness programs for maximum success.
Wellness programs can be great successes or dismal failures depending on how a company implements them. Effective programs can improve employees’ health and reduce absences. If your business is struggling with employee wellness and absenteeism, Actec can help. Contact us today to learn more.