In this issue: Shape up your wellness program

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Shape up your wellness program

If your organization is like most, it likely has a wellness program in place. In fact, 85 percent of large companies offer some sort of health-improvement program. Wellness programs are now a $6 billion industry, and most employers—71 percent—think they work. So it may come as a surprise to you that, according to recent research from Gallup®, only 60 percent of employees are aware that their company offers a wellness program … and of those, only 40 percent are participating.

So what’s a well-meaning organization to do? Maybe it’s time for a wellness-program makeover. In this e-newsletter, we’ll offer several tips for revamping your wellness program to accommodate the entire organization.

Build it (and promote it) … and they will come

Get the most benefit and buy-in from your wellness program by designing one that covers all aspects of health and wellness. Here are three helpful tips to get started.

  • Take a holistic approach: Often, we think of wellness programs and we think only of physical health—diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle choices and so on. But wellness goes much deeper than that. Does your program consider associates’ financial health? Mental health? Social health? Community health? These are all essential elements to well-being, according to a report from Gallup and Healthways®. So when you’re wondering how to provide your organization with the support it needs to be well, think beyond fitness and nutrition.Hold a lunch-and-learn where you invite a guest speaker to present to your staff—perhaps a financial advisor who speaks about retirement, debt consolidation or investing. Or a social worker who can promote the services offered by your employee assistance program (EAP), if you have one. Provide a light lunch and helpful handouts in a reusable lunch bag imprinted with your wellness program offerings. Be sure to promote the events ahead of time with emails, posters and banners to draw maximum attendance.

Incorporate social health, too. Even the simple things, like after hours get-togethers or birthday celebrations in the lounge with cookies and coffee, can do wonders to boost morale. And don’t forget about the community you serve. Take time to better the area you live and work in by hosting a community clinic day or a day of caring where staff can volunteer their time to make the community a better place.

  • Get employees engaged: Gallup research found a direct link between employee engagement and well-being. In fact, engaged employees eat healthier, exercise more frequently and consume more fruits and vegetables than their disengaged counterparts. What’s more, engaged employees are 28 percent more likely to participate in a wellness program.

Before you jump the gun and start thinking of ways to further engage your staff, find out where your organization falls on the spectrum. Consider conducting an employee-engagement survey as part of your wellness initiative. Identify engagement levels—who’s happy, who isn’t, what factors hinder engagement and so on. Then use this information as an agent for change. Maybe mandatory overtime is causing burnout. Maybe associates are looking for more meaningful work. Maybe there is a toxic team member who is bringing everyone down. Regardless of the problem, identify and fix it. And don’t forget to thank those who took the time to answer your poll. A flexi-bottle, drawcord sportpack or Syringe Flashlight makes a nice token of gratitude.

  • Transform your culture: Is your wellness initiative adopted from the top down? Are you willing to make cultural changes to promote wellness? For instance, are you willing to promote daily exercise by encouraging flex time? Or, are you able to encourage employees to volunteer by offering volunteer hours during the workday? If you truly want to adopt a wellness program that will work, it’s important to put your money where your mouth is and live it from the top down.

Remember, it’s not enough to have a wellness program; you need one that works—one that focuses on all aspects of health—and above all, one that everyone can adopt. Good luck and be well!

O’Boyle, Ed, and Jim Harter. “Why Your Workplace Wellness Program Isn’t Working.” Gallup. N.p., 13 May 2014. Web. Retrieved 15 Jan. 2015.

Frakt, Austin, and Aaron E. Carroll. “Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work? Usually Not.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. Retrieved 15 Jan. 2015.

Yu, Daniela, and Jim Harter. “In U.S., Engaged Employees Exercise More, Eat Healthier.” Gallup. N.p., 16 Jan. 2013. Web. Retrieved 15 Jan. 2015.

Sanders, Dr. Tiffany D. “Engage Employees And Increase Productivity With an Employee Wellness Program.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 May 2014. Web. Retrieved 15 Jan. 2015.

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