If you’re reading this, you’re probably struggling to get your employees engaged in your wellness program(s). The bad news? You will (most likely) always face that challenge.
The good news? You can overcome that challenge.
Working in worksite wellness, we at Peerfit have learned something: dedicated wellness directors establish successful wellness programs. The program coordinator’s engagement with the program directly correlates with the employees’ engagement with the program. Another thing we’ve learned? You can’t simply adopt a wellness program and expect the be-all and end-all solution to your wellness woes. You have to give to get.
We work with some pretty dedicated clients who do wellness well and maintain engagement rates of 60% or higher. We’re sharing a few of their learnings here to help you replicate their success within your own wellness program.
Take action on these five tips and watch your participation increase:
Promote, promote, promote!
Before you can increase participation in your wellness program, you have to create awareness. The fewer people that know the program exists, the more of challenge you’ll have on your hands.
- Send informational emails
- Print flyers and posters - and constantly move them to new locations
- Post announcements to your company’s intranet system
- Bake the program into your new hire onboarding
These are merely a few things you can do to begin creating awareness. People are stuck in this rut of thinking that wellness isn’t fun, so don’t be afraid to get creative when promoting your wellness programs.
Incentivize your employees.
As much as we’d like to believe people will take control over their own well-being, the truth is that we just aren’t there yet. The human mind is conditioned to view health and wellness as ‘work’, something that requires effort. How could we blame anyone? Sitting in line at a drive-through is easier, faster, and cheaper than making a nutritious meal at home. Grabbing a soda from the vending machine trumps filling up a water bottle.
Start rewarding your employees for their healthy habits - offer incentives for hydration, packing a healthy lunch, and being active. People want to be healthier. Give them that extra nudge and reward them for taking the plunge.
Designate wellness champions.
Identifying wellness champions is arguably the most important step you’ll take towards increasing participation in your wellness programs. Think of wellness champions as your wellness minions. At the end of the day, you’re in charge of planning and implementing the program on a high level. Your wellness champions will lighten your workload by driving the programs through a grassroots approach.
Motivate your employees with wellness challenges.
Wellness challenges create excitement around the programs you offer. A little friendly competition goes a long way, and, when you’re looking to increase program participation, this is your golden ticket. At Peerfit, we use challenges as tools for our clients to keep their employees active and engaged. If you want to impact program participation, try implementing a four-week challenge - the perfect timeframe for employees to build a habit around using your program.
Leverage your C-Suite.
The C-Suite carries a lot of power, and not just in the office.They’re the cool kids on campus and, whatever they buy into, the rest of the office will buy into as well. Think of C-level executives as the heart of the company. Healthy hearts yield healthy bodies; unhealthy hearts yield unhealthy bodies. To cultivate a healthy company culture (and increase program participation), you must first cultivate a healthy C-Suite, one that embodies your wellness goals.
Set realistic expectations for yourself when establishing a successful wellness program. Know that it takes time and dedication, and that high participation rates won’t happen overnight. As the champion of your program, you have an opportunity to impact your company and inspire positive change in your co-workers. Stick with it. It will be worth it.