Congratulations! You’ve created an employee wellness program that fits you, your business, and the needs of your employees. (If you haven’t yet, click here.) Before sitting back to reap the rewards of healthier, more engaged staff members, you have to ensure your plan is in motion. Sharing a plan and hoping it will be followed by employees isn’t the best way to keep your program going strong. Running an engaged employee wellness program is like keeping up with our New Years’ resolutions. It can be tough to keep our goals when other things seem to take priority. But, by setting an example for your staff and keeping them engaged with content, you can keep employees engaged in the program for the long-term. Everyone would be fit, healthy, and productive if it were easy, so how do you create a program that keeps your employees energized to continue? In other words, how do you make an engaging employee wellness program part of your culture rather than simply a concept that dies on the vine?
According to Rusti Quarles, owner of Rusti Q Health Coaching, the first thing needed is “100% buy-in from all levels of leadership. From the CEO or owner, down to the managers, and everything in-between.
I see it time and time again where a company wants wellness to be a part of their culture, including daily walks, good eating habits, and “quit smoking” posters pinned up everywhere, or even just time allotted to your team to get up from their desk to move. All it takes is one manager who doesn’t buy-in or allow their staff take breaks. Or the same posters that are left up for months or even years at a time. Yoga mats that are propped up in some closet go forgotten about. Things slowly but surely just go back to the way things were. Owners and managers, are no longer engaged, new staff is hired and no one tells them about the wellness programs. This is the typical wellness graveyard that many businesses create.
To make wellness part of the culture, it needs to be driven home daily, kept fresh, and it starts with you and your leadership team to make a wellness stick and part of your culture.”
Make an Employee Wellness Program Part of Your Work Culture
You and your business can make wellness a part of your company culture. It can become something that creates long-term value for your business and your staff.
- Walk the walk – We talked about buy-in, but what does that mean? Managers should not only participate in company wellness, but make it a part of their day-today activities. Go with the team for a walk. Share your new nutrition habits.Encourage everyone to feel comfortable discussing their health and wellness.
- Give permission to your team –People like routine, and if they are used to always sitting at their desk, they’ll need some encouragement to change their habits.Tell them it’s okay (if not required) to get up and go for a walk. Give them permission to leave work for 30-60 minutes to go to the gym and necessary doctor visits and dental appointment. Constantly remind them that it’s okay to take care of themselves.
- Be venerable –Allow yourself and your leadership team to talk about their own challenges and failures when it comes to health and wellness. Be human. Talk about some of the challenges you face that you hope to overcome.
- Give them the tools to be successful –Don’t just hang posters about quitting smoking.Bring in an expert to discuss tactics on how to quit smoking. Don’t just talk about the importance of nutrition. Have fresh fruit brought in on occasion, if not regularly.
- Create a wellness committee – Give members across the company the responsibility of keeping the wellness program active and alive every day. Give them time to meet and discuss new ideas. Give your staff ownership of the program. There’s no what it could grow into.
- Create fun contests and challenges –Ideas like weight loss groups with monthly weigh-ins add a competitive edge to employee wellness. Reward the group with the biggest weight loss, and ensure you repeat the program so others can feel involved.
- Reward your staff for wellness – From discounts on health insurance premiums to gift cards for most miles walked, incentives are a great way to keep people engaged.
- Celebrate every small or large success –Whether it’s one pound lost, one day without a cigarette, or completion of their first 5k run, celebrate every small step along the way. This not only will keep people engaged, but it will keep it fun!
- Build wellness into the hiring and training of new staff –Wellness doesn’t stop with current staff members. Every new team member that joins should be given the same permissions and access that other employees have. Share your wellness activities and successes on social media to spread awareness.
These steps will not only help create a culture of wellness in your organization, but will make a healthier, more productive business. Happier and healthier employees will lead to happier customers. It also makes for a more fun place to work. And that benefits everyone. To learn more about our dental plans for your small business, and healthier and happier employees, click here.