If you’re thinking about launching a wellness program at your workplace, you’ll want to think about your company culture first.
This isn’t a simple matter of picking a gym program, introducing a team challenge or changing the cafeteria menu. It’s a matter of making sure that health and wellness are ingrained into the everyday thinking of your organization.
Failing to create the right culture of well-being in the workplace is an invitation to lackluster employee participation and, very likely, resistance. Understand that developing a robust wellness-first mentality means focusing on employees’ total quality of life. That means mental, social, emotional and financial health.
Short-term, random events purporting to be health promotion programs vs. activities that are truly embedded into a comprehensive wellness strategy will more often than not simply fail.
Healthy employees, of course, are typically happy and productive employees. Your company won’t waste money in lost time because of sick days or injury. And when workers feel positive, they interact with each other better and are more engaged with their projects.
Oh, and just in case you were thinking about it, simply ordering your employees to get moving will not work.
Here, then, are six ways to create a wellness culture at your company.
1. The best wellness programs align with your company’s overall mission and values. Ask yourself questions like: What will it take to help my employees make this business succeed? How do I inspire passion and promote energy with my employees? Finding the answers to those questions will help you develop an approach to wellness that’s a better fit for your company.
2. Survey your employees. Do you know what their top wellness concerns are? Everyone’s different, so knowing what they value and what they really want can help you set the right path. Try a simple online survey for a clear picture into what’s important to the team.
3. Invest in wellness. Better-than-average health and welfare benefits will go a long way in making it clear to your employees that well-being is important to the organization. We’re talking about subsidizing health club membership, health screenings, on-site wellness coaching and chronic disease prevention management programs.
4. Make sure you’re an effective role model and advocate for wellness. If you want employees to eat healthier and lose weight, make sure they see you do the same. Have contests among executives to see who can take the most steps in a week. Then stage the same competition among departments as a follow-up. If there’s little or no commitment from leadership at all levels of the organization, you might be better off not starting a wellness program at all.
5. Don’t offer donuts at meetings. Get rid of the soda and candy vending machines in the break room. If you want employees to make good choices, offer them. Don’t take your efforts to extreme levels or make moves too quickly, though. Instead, take the time to educate everyone on the benefits of your wellness initiatives. Doing otherwise raises the risk of a full-blown rebellion.
6. Apathy will be your No. 1 enemy. Once the buzz over the implementation of a wellness program wears off, you’ll want to be sure to set specific wellness goals and consistently remind employees of their individual and organizational wellness objectives and accomplishments. Doing this means wellness plays a continuous role in your employees’ everyday lives. And make sure your team knows wellness is even more important when things get truly hectic. For example, when the pressure is high and everyone’s stressed out, offer free yoga to all.
How has your company incorporated wellness into its culture? I’d love to know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Kennedy, President and COO of CCIG, has more than 30 years of insurance and risk management experience.Back to Resources