Designing a Workplace Wellness Program Your Employees Will Use
Your bottom line is on the line. Lack of proactive workplace wellness programs impact your organization’s productivity, profitability, and work culture. Most medical expenses are spent on treatment and not prevention, which means a large part of your employee base is considered at-risk. This oversight can have a significant impact on future medical costs. Small to medium-sized businesses carry the biggest burden, as just a small uptick in claims can raise your health care costs as providers are mitigating risk for the future.
The challenge for those designing a workplace wellness program is to determine:
- Programming options
- Collaboration structure
- Communication strategies
- Outside partnerships
While conventional wisdom says that crisis is a powerful motivator for change, in reality, it does not motivate lifestyle changes in most people. Why? The key takeaway from Fast Company’s article "Change or Die"* and recent behavior studies is that change happens mostly by speaking to people's feelings. In highly successful wellness programs for employees, people find methods that influence emotions to help others see problems or solutions, rather than focusing on just thoughts. Thus, you can imagine why emotional engagement is central to a wellness ecosystem’s capacity to drive sustainable behavior changes.
Best Practices for Designing a Workplace Wellness Program
So, how do you go about addressing inactivity in your workplace? Here are four best practices:
- Develop a scalable strategy that’s centered around moving the middle (i.e., focusing on the middle 60-70% of the workforce).
- Ensure you have a means to measure what matters. Engagement metrics and health care premiums are an obvious starting point.
- Embrace pervasive learning. Your workforce needs to understand the what, when, why, and how to establish sustainable behavioral change.
- Sustain emotional engagement to celebrate success at all levels (individual, group, and organizational) and to spotlight that success to demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement.
*Fast Company, Change or Die by Alan Deutschman
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About the AuthorMore Content by Deb Broderson