In the Know

5 Simple STEPS to a Successful Wellness Program in 2018

01.02.2018 St. Joseph Hoag Health

It’s that time of year again—time to make New Year’s resolutions. For many of us, they will likely be the same resolutions we made last year, particularly if they involve personal fitness goals.

As luck would have it, the top New Year’s fitness resolutions for most people correlate to what you are (or should be) trying to get your employees to do with your organization’s wellness program:

  1. Get in shape
  2. Lose weight
  3. Eat healthier
  4. Manage stress
  5. Stop procrastinating

So, it’s in everybody’s best interest to execute good wellness programs that really work. To help you help your employees sustain their resolve beyond January, we’ve created a handy checklist, based on the easy-to-remember acronym, STEPS.

Simplify

Many employees fail to embrace wellness programs at work due to lack of awareness, lack of time, or lack of easy access. Make it as simple as possible for your employees to adopt and maintain healthy habits. This ranges from healthier food selections on campus and exercise awareness campaigns in high-traffic areas, to more elaborate schemes like providing your workers with fitness monitoring devices. You could negotiate a bulk purchase of devices that would help your employees track their 10,000 daily steps, sleep patterns, heart rates, respiration patterns and so much more. Studies show that active monitoring can motivate people to lead much more active lives—a huge wellness boon.

Team Up!

Teamwork is a powerful motivator for most people. Create friendly competitions between departments or different offices. These can be actual competitive events—like an athletics day with organized sporting events. Or, they can simply be group goals like seeing which team can lose the most aggregate weight in a quarter, or improve their collective blood pressure the most. Whatever you do, try to make the competitions as fun as possible so more people will want to participate. Give prizes to and recognize your wellness champions, which will incentivize others to chase the same reward and recognition by trying harder.

Engage

Starting a wellness program is often the easy part. The more difficult part is finding ways to comprehensively and continually engage your employees—after the New Year’s resolutions have faded. Craft a year-long internal marketing campaign that informs your employees about all your wellness incentives, and tie it to national and international health campaigns like the WHO’s mental health awareness week. Communicate with your employees consistently using “snack-size” messages: drink more water; get some fresh air; breathe deeply; stretch! Utilize everyday messaging channels like computer boot-up screens and elevator graphics to keep workplace wellness top of mind. Most important, ask your employees for input. What are their fitness challenges? What are their wellness goals? What ideas do they have for improving the company wellness program? Reward them for their ideas and implement the best ones.

Prevent

Since an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure, make sure you’ve incorporated robust preventative care incentives into the company health plans. Prioritize awareness and promotional messages that educate your workers about preventative care. Invest in simple measures that deliver outsized return on investment. For example, you can promote good hand hygiene practices by providing every employee with their own personal-size bottle of hand sanitizer, branded with your company logo. Partnering with local providers to host flu vaccination clinics on campus can dramatically reduce the incidence of seasonal flu in your employees, which can be a major drain on their health, wellness, and productivity.

Sing Praises & Set Goals

Before embarking on your New Year’s wellness campaign, take a moment to celebrate 2017. Sing the praises of your wellness champions—those key employees who have embraced the spirit of wellness and are acting as your front line of communication and engagement. Make sure they have the full support of the organization, including all the metrics that demonstrate the success and return on investment from wellness initiatives.

Remind everyone in the organization that there are no quick fixes with health and wellness, but that with persistence and support, everyone can prevail. To that end, empower your wellness champions to work with employees to set personal fitness and wellness goals and to devise strategies for success. Fitness coaches, wellness portals, individual challenges and other resources will help workers maintain their commitment.

Corporate wellness programs help workers develop healthy habits which improve performance, enhance productivity, and ultimately reduce the cost to the employer of providing healthcare. A well-designed wellness program should always take advantage of a new year to stimulate employees’ interest and participation. However, a truly successful, sustainable program learns from the previous year and builds on its success to deliver even better results in the new year.

St. Joseph Hoag Health offers “Lunch & Learn” sessions that educate and engage your employees on timely fitness and wellness topics in an informal, lunchtime setting at your offices. Ask us how we can help you help your employees achieve their 2018 health goals with the best care and most innovative wellness programs in Orange County. Contact us at foremployers@stjoe.org or call (949) 381-4777.

Categories: Worksite Wellness