9 Ways to Kickstart Employee Wellness Goals
Spring is here, and World Health Day is April 7 — two good reasons to set employee wellness goals this month to support and engage healthier habits in your workplace!
Most employees aren’t even aware of the wellness benefits their company offers. According to the Transamerica Center for Health Studies 2017 Consumer and Employer surveys, 62 percent of employers say they provide employee wellness programs — yet only 40 percent of employees say their organizations offer them.
“The survey isn’t the first source to show a disconnect between how employers and workers view their wellness programs,” HR Dive noted. A 2017 Willis Towers Watson survey showed 81 percent of employers said their wellness programs were meeting workers’ needs, but 61 percent of employees disagreed.
“There’s clearly a disconnect between employers and workers over the effects of wellness programs — a real problem in a time when wellness programs can vary so widely,” according to HR Dive.
You could be offering the best medical benefits and wellness perks in your industry, but if no one even knows about them, it’s a major missed opportunity at employee engagement and recognition.
Better communication, more effective tools and targeted rewards are key to making sure employees are not only aware of your workplace wellness program but eager to participate in it. Some companies, in particular hospitals, are even adding a chief wellness officer position to their C-suite to elevate the discussion of employee wellness to the executives’ table. Companies appointing this new position “anticipate not only happier employees but also improved patient experience and outcomes,” according to HR Dive.
If your company is looking to boost its wellness programming, there’s no better time to start than now. Spring brings warmer temps for outdoor fitness activities and more in-season options for healthy eating initiatives.
Plus, several upcoming observances, like World Heath Day on April 7 and Employee Health & Fitness Month in May, are just the boost your workplace may need to rejuvenate employee wellness goals.
9 Ways to Kickstart Employee Wellness Goals
1. Educate employees for World Health Day
The theme of World Health Day this year is increasing access to medical care. (The hashtags for social media are #HealthForAll and #WorldHealthDay.)
Do your employees know all the healthcare benefits available to them? World Health Day is a great excuse to make sure they do! Host a health insurance and benefits information and Q&A session. Entice attendance with a healthy treat like fresh fruit or a small gift.
“You’ve got to make communication a year-round process,” one HR VP tells HR Dive. “There’s a ton of opportunity around the year to engage with people and make them better consumers. You’re going to get more mileage when you do things month-by-month.”
2. Survey employees about wellness preferences
Wellness programming can be a big financial investment — all the more reason to make sure you’re offering benefits and perks that employees will actually find helpful and enjoyable! Circulate a survey in the coming weeks that asks employees what they want and need when it comes to wellbeing. You may discover that the priorities they have don’t always align with current offerings — and that small, simple adjustments could make a big impact on engagement.
3. Look ahead to Global Employee Health & Fitness Month
Global Employee Health & Fitness Month, an initiative of the National Association for Health & Fitness, is next month! Get a head start on planning and scheduling fun fitness and health activities throughout the month of May.
4. Update internal communication for Gen Z employees
The two-hour Powerpoint may not be the best way to reach your youngest employees.
Jeff Corbin, founder and CEO of APPrise Mobile, tells HR Dive, “With Generation Z especially, there’s a need to keep information available in short, digestible bits. … It’s not just about giving them the pamphlets or scheduling the meeting, or having someone come in and lecture at them for an hour. It’s changing the way in which content is contributed.”
He suggests a more comprehensive mobile strategy that includes soundbites and short videos or webinars. Still, don’t forget the power of face time: even digital natives appreciate being able to learn and ask questions in person.
5. Start moving — at least a little
Not all fitness goals need to involve training for a marathon! Instead, set small, doable challenges — like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a 10-minute walk at lunch. Reward employees for their efforts. They’ll feel encouraged to tackle more and take their goal to the next level.
6. Offer meal-planning classes
One of the biggest obstacles to more balanced, healthful eating is lack of time. According to an Active Times’ article on “Healthy Eating Obstacles”:
“Eating healthy does take more time. Time in shopping, time in preparation and time in planning. In our ‘rush, rush’ world sometimes we believe that we just don’t have the time to do these things. So our commitment to a healthy eating diet goes awry.”
But, the article continues, time doesn’t have to be a major obstacle. Planning meals ahead takes some practice, but it can make all the difference in helping your employees eat healthfully at work and at home with their families. Hire a nutritionist to offer a class in meal-planning basics and answer employee questions about planning and grocery-shopping strategies.
7. Get outdoors
Now that spring is here — and along with it sunshine and warmer weather — invite employees to participate in more outdoor activities. Meet outdoors at a picnic table for the daily team meeting, go for outdoor “walk and talks,” or participate in an Arbor Day or Earth Day celebration later this month.
8. Think holistically about ‘wellness’
There’s more to employee wellness than fitness, medical checkups, diet and smoking cessation. It can also cover financial health (as in financial literacy), benefits education, social support, career skills, and even more broadly, “community wellbeing,” according to HR Bartender Sharlyn Lauby. Check out Lauby’s blog post on practical resources for building a wellness program for inspiration and ideas to think more holistically about employee wellness.
9. Say ‘Thank You!’
One reason so many wellness programs go unnoticed? They don’t include consistent, engaging recognition. Just as employees are more likely to stay in a job if they feel appreciated, employees are more likely to participate in wellness programming if there’s a recognition component.
Reward good choices, progress and successes! Grocery gift certificates, gym discounts, regular celebrations and healthy treats are all great, on-message ways to show you care about employee wellness — on a company level and individual level.
Celebrate Employee Wellness! Download Your 2018 Employee Celebration Calendar
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We’ve updated our annual day-to-day appreciation calendar with lots of new topics, new case studies and even more holidays and reasons to celebrate! As in previous years, the gThankYou calendar is jam-packed with insights into the latest HR trends, how-to tutorials for engaging and thanking employees, case studies to inspire you, examples of holidays to celebrate each month, and research statistics to help you make the business case for appreciation.
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