Part 1 of our HR Challenges series, talked about keeping an aging workforce healthy. Since a significant element of that answer (if not all of it) is with an Employee Wellness program, it makes sense to discuss how to develop and maintain the type of ecosystem required to create, support and sustain wellness within your enterprise.
Why does the ecosystem matter? A “healthy” ecosystem ensures that your participants have the right ecosystem services available to both start them on the road to success and keep them there. While your ecosystem will vary depending upon the size of your organization and the HR challenges you are facing, there are four categories that always need to work together – education, the wellness framework, your partner community and the behavioral incentives.
Without a well-structured, relevant, training program in place, even the most well-intentioned participants will find it difficult to be successful. How do you change eating behaviors if you don’t know how to eat healthy. How do you start exercising more, if you don’t know what type of exercise is right for your goals? Consider, “chunking” your training, into small, easy to consume segments. The longer the training, the less likely that participants will want to take and retake, the training.
The framework is about the elements of the program. What tools, technologies, and structure makes sense for your organization? Should you offer Fitbit types of products to your participants? How can you successfully communicate to participants with diverse needs and in diverse locations? How can you (or should you) recognize the success of your participants? Establishment of this framework will be essential, and will be driven by the needs of your user community.
You can’t do it on your own! The partner community is the delivery mechanism for your ecosystem services. These include your HealthCare providers, local fitness clubs, grocery stores and restaurant chains that your participants can go to and workout, buy healthy foods and enjoy a healthy meal while in a restaurant with their family. Given that the success of a wellness program will mostly occur in the participants non-working hours, these surrounding services are essential.
Last, but clearly not least, are the incentives associated with your wellness program. Your incentives should be another reinforcement of your wellness message. Discounts and rewards continually reinforce behaviors and can help a person strive to reach their goals. Incentives should be aspirational and include a healthy mix of financial and non-financial options.
I’d love to hear what you are doing to address you wellness related HR challenges.
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