November 27, 2019

How To Jump Start Your Employee Wellbeing Program

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Studies show the benefits of wellness programs. From lower healthcare costs to reduced absenteeism and improved culture, the research demonstrates the importance of prioritizing wellbeing for both employers and employees.  These gains have resulted in the widespread adoption of wellness initiatives in companies of all sizes and across multiple business verticals. However, sometimes in the rush to implement an exciting new initiative, companies miss the deep-dive into understanding the structure, administration and technology needed to make their program a success.

If you have ever been involved in a failed attempt to build out a wellness program you know that the end result was lack of employee participation. By identifying and understanding why employees are slow to adopt, you can pinpoint the features your wellness solution must-have.  Here are some of the top reasons why employee adoption can lag, as well as how the right solution can help ensure your employees embrace your new wellbeing program.

It’s Not Engaging
If it is not fun and easy for employees to participate in your wellness program, nothing else you do will be able to boost your engagement numbers.  Being healthy day after day can be hard; a wellbeing program should serve to make it easier. When selecting a wellness platform make certain it is built with the employee experience in mind.

Is your wellness program gamified?  Gamification allows employees to receive recognition for their participation and can earn rewards, all while being inspired by a little friendly competition. Goals and challenges are an important part of this strategy and should include both company-wide initiatives and the ability for employees to set their own personalized targets.

To trim the budget, some companies decide to use Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of participants’ progress. Avoid this at all costs. Not only is this both time-consuming for administrators and employees, but it also sends the message that the company is not truly invested in employee health and wellness, and is instead just ticking a box.

There Are No Incentives 
Incentives serve to engage employees, reinforce healthy behaviour and retain participation over time.  For this, a predetermined rewards strategy is key. It ensures you are working within your incentives budget parameters while rewarding the metrics most important to your company and employees.  Possible reward opportunities include: participating in a challenge; completing a health survey or achieving a wellbeing goal. For example, Sprout’s platform rewards employees for reaching achievements pre-set by you or allows them to take advantage of an integrated rewards solution whereby employees can access in-app purchases based on their participation.

Don’t forget the power of social rewards!  Peer recognition and appreciation should also play a part in your overall strategy, and be integrated in your wellness technology to allow your employees to cheer one another on.  Incentives that tap both intrinsic and extrinsic values will resonate with the varying segments of your work populationWell matched incentives are a sure-fire way to turbocharge adoption and maintain engagement.

No One Knows About it
The mantra “build it, and they will come” applies to few things in life. 

To truly engage employees it is necessary to create a wellness communications strategy.  The stronger and more varied your communications network, the higher your engagement rates will be.  Secondly, communications need to be meaningful, timely and able to speak to the various employee groups within your organization.  A third key communications component is a Wellness Champions group.  These are employees who operate as your voice on the ground, leading by example, and supporting colleagues with participation in your company’s wellbeing initiatives. 

Use the Right Tool for the Job
Designing your wellness program for success is possible when you mitigate the barriers to participation.  Uninspiring, non incentivized and poorly communicated programs are unlikely to succeed. In contrast, investing in the right solution will help your employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. Given the impressive ROI if wellness programs, it’s essential to know you are using the right tool for the job.

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