You may or may not have a wellness program at your company. But chances are if you do, the level of participation isn’t very high. The goal of these programs is to help control health care costs by increasing preventive care and in turn, reducing the occurrences of prevalent medical conditions. Unfortunately adding these programs to your health care benefit plan is not effective unless employees are willing to participate. So how do we engage employees in these programs and wellness in general?
Wellness programs classically include the following: smoking cessation and weight loss programs, subsidies for gym memberships, drug and alcohol abuse programs, and stress management/mental health support systems. Frequently there are monetary incentives or point systems to accumulate and purchase merchandise, in order to increase participation. Employees who commonly take part in workplace wellness do so to improve their overall health and maintain it, learn more about their health risks, win incentive prizes, and reduce premiums. Employees who do not participate usually feel that they can make the changes on their own, don’t have enough time, or believe that they are already healthy.
If you do have a wellness program, make sure that someone in your office is all knowing on how to navigate it. Another reason employees may have chosen not to participate, is because it isn’t user friendly. Having a go-to person in the office to help people traverse the wellness website is a great idea to keep those willing employees actively participating. Taking screenshots of the login/sign up process is also helpful for anyone who may not be very technologically savvy.
To improve participation in your wellness program, or just to create a general wellness buzz amongst your employees, you need to learn what motivates them. You could create a short questionnaire, send it in an email and ask all your employees to complete it. Include generalized questions (never personalized) about health and wellness to get a vibe regarding what your employees know and what they relate to the most. After the information is gathered, create some flyers to post in the break room (or send in an email blast) regarding certain popular health topics like quitting smoking, losing weight, heart disease and diabetes, etc. in addition to the incentive information from your health plan wellness program. Your employees may not be aware of these incentives. Breaking the information down into smaller pieces will help generate interest. Oftentimes, having too much information to absorb is a huge demotivation for many people.
Even if you do not have a wellness program and just want to try and encourage your employees to be healthier, informational flyers and emails are still great. Remember that education is motivation. The more your employees know about health, the more aware they will be of their current needs. Inspire your employees to join co-workers with similar goals to motivate and support each other. The information you provide to your employees could be the push someone needs to start their journey to a healthier life.
For additional information on how to get your employees motivated to participate in your company’s wellness plan, please contact New Focus HR.
Written by: Kristen Deutsch, M.B.A., CCP