Over the past few years, the growing importance that we place on creating and maintaining some kind of work-life balance has had a huge influence on corporate hiring and employee retention efforts. In generations past, employees were expected to leave the concerns of their personal lives at the door and to focus all their attention on the demands of their role. Today “perks” such as flex-time, on-site fitness facilities and programs to help employees lose weight, improve physical fitness or quit smoking are increasingly common in the workplace and many employers are making employee wellness a priority in order to increase employee retention, reduce the number of employee sick days, raise morale and boost productivity.
According to Joshua Love, President of Corporate Wellness company, Kinema Fitness, “engagement, motivation, support and strategy are the keys to a successful program.” He has found that “if employees are not involved in the solution, it’s difficult to succeed.” If implementing a workplace wellness program (or improving an existing one) is something that might benefit your employees, here are five things to consider:
On-site wellness programs make it incredibly easy for employees to participate (and much harder for them to come up with reasons not to). Providing on-site programs such as a healthy snacks and lunch hour exercise classes as well as prevention programs such as flu shots and cholesterol screening can be combined with education sessions to increase awareness of health issues and provide actionable solutions.
Creating programs that encourage a sense of team work or camaraderie not only increase participation and success rates, they also boost morale and improve employee relationships. Implementing a program that involves an element of competition, whether it is individual or between departments, can also increase success levels because it provides additional motivation to keep going once the initial enthusiasm has worn off.
Corporate wellness shouldn’t be boring. If you can create dynamic programs that evolve over time you will have the best chance of long term success. Human beings need to be challenged and motivated in different ways to create lasting change. If you can, appoint someone to take the lead on devising and implementing the programs and challenge them to stay up to date on the latest trends in order to reduce the risk that your programs will become stale.
Utilize Social Media
Wellness programs can use the ever increasing popularity of social networks to help get employees on track towards improving their health. Creating social networks, mobile apps and online engagement help motivate employees to participate and keep them motivated. Fitness trackers such as “fitbit” allow employees to set personal goals, track their progress against other people and mark their successes with virtual ribbons and awards. Company intranet sites can also be used to inspire and motivate people through shared information and progress reports and there are a myriad of fitness “apps” that could be utilized for a companywide challenge.
Set an Expectation
Employers facing increasing health care costs have a powerful incentive to increase the health of their employees in order to reduce costs but making health and wellness a part of corporate culture means leading by example. Placing an emphasis on healthy living and then bringing donuts to the team meeting or stepping out several times a day for a smoke break sends a conflicting message to employees. If a company is serious about improving employee health then, in order to be successful, the key influencers need to be serious about it too.