Don’t treat your corporate wellbeing program like a fad diet – or it will fail, too

If you’re running health and wellness programs at work, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Well, at least in the way that most companies do.

Just as eating one salad won’t make you lose weight, engaging in just one wellness class each year won’t really benefit your employees.

The reality is, most businesses decide to run a company health program for three reasons:

  1. There are extra funds in the budget;
  2. Morale is high; or
  3. It’s in response to an incident or event.

This ‘flavour of the month’ approach may get the ball rolling, but as time goes by, the interest fades until the next workplace incident or pep talk occurs. The types of wellness programs that are run this way will and do fail, and they’re a big waste of money. However, when executed correctly, you can get so much out of corporate health and wellbeing programs. Just like committing to a weight loss diet, there are two important things to remember: you have to be in it 100% and it needs to be an ongoing obligation.

Why bother investing in employee wellness?

No company can be successful without paying attention to its people. No matter the size, demographic, location or industry, creating a culture around wellness will benefit all in many ways. The most successful businesses care about the health and wellbeing of each employee. They see all staff members as an asset and not a liability. We’ve mentioned in a previous post how much absenteeism can cost a workplace, and one of the many benefits of employee health and wellness programs is that it significantly reduces absenteeism and injuries, improves productivity, and helps to retain staff.  It also goes without saying that healthier people are happier and work harder[1]. These benefits far outweigh any costs involved with continuous corporate health and wellbeing programs.

If you still need more evidence that a healthy culture around employee wellness is worth the investment, look to progressive conglomerates like Google, Yahoo and Apple. They are just a few of the many companies with ongoing corporate wellness programs[2]. They understand that not only does everyone benefit – from the CEO right down to front-line employees – but it makes good economic sense to invest in prevention to decrease the risks of absenteeism, reduced productivity and workplace injury. Healthy bodies + healthy minds = healthy business. It just goes together like fish and chips.

There’s no cookie cutter approach to workplace health and wellness

So now that we know healthier people work harder, are more efficient, and have job satisfaction, the next question is how do you build a successful wellness culture, without forcing your employees to lead a healthier life?

Here’s how to develop a year-long wellness culture at your organisation and find a program that your employees will want to engage in:[3]

  1. Determine the needs of your team.
    It seems counter-intuitive to pressure your team to engage in wellness programs. So one thing you can do is talk to your employees – ask them what an employer-sponsored health and wellness program they would value most. Do they want practical strategies for healthy living? Do they like exercising? Would they like discounted gym memberships? Understand the mindset of your employees so you can create a framework.
  2. Produce a plan
    Now that you know what your employees want, you can begin looking at programs, workshops and classes that you know will motivate them. You may find that a combination of wellness education seminars and physical activity is the best way to go.
  3. Get the right support
    You can’t execute a program without having reinforcement from all your team leaders. Create a communication plan that will constantly and consistently relay relevant information – such as times, methods, and frameworks – to your employees. This ensures that wellness remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds every day at work.
  4. Put an incentive in place
    We all know the effects of positive reinforcement.[4] Rewarding your employees for getting healthy and achieving results will encourage a shift in workplace wellness culture. Your program should include rewards and incentives that will carry on throughout the year – this will help to drive long-term engagement.

Wellness should be tailored to your employees – not the other way around. This is because there’s no ‘one size fits all’ health program. So what works for your business may not work for another. The important thing to remember is that consistency is key: your employees won’t get much value out of a one-time yoga class.

Workplace health and wellness starts with you

Good health is more than just exercise and diet – it also includes having a good mental attitude. At Bodycare, we don’t believe in the ‘break-fix” approach. We’re all about helping businesses take a proactive approach to injury prevention and injury management. By providing workplace health and wellness programs for your employees, you can enhance employee engagement and workplace culture, and reduce absenteeism while improving productivity.

If you would like to join the many employee wellness companies that are transforming their business from the inside out, talk to Bodycare. We can tailor a program to suit the needs of you and your team. Read more about our health and safety programs.