Nine Ways To Get Your Employees Interested In Your Company’s Wellness Program

A healthy employee is a happy employee, and many companies that understand this go out of their way to support the health and well-being of their employees by offering employee wellness programs. However, even if a company offers an employee wellness program, its benefits can often go unused by employees. In fact, some studies suggest usage of employee assistance programs is as little as 10%.

So how can employers raise participation rates and encourage better health for their team members? Below, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council share nine tips for getting employees interested in your company’s wellness program and their own health and fitness.

1. Make It Part Of Your Culture

First and foremost, if you don’t have a company culture that values ​​wellness and encourages vulnerability, no matter what program you start, it will never be successful. Why would an employee take advantage of programs that would expose their personal sensibilities if they weren’t backed by the team culture? You need to show and not tell by encouraging all levels of management to participate—including the C-suite. If you want your wellness program to be used, incentivize your employees by doing so both socially and culturally and by allowing them to participate during their work hours. You say more with what you do than with what you say, so identify where you can communicate the program’s importance and benefit besides just telling them they should participate. – Nick DeAngelo, We Buy Loans Fast

2. Tailor The Program To Their Needs

Start with the employees in mind. Ask them what they are looking to get from a wellness program and tailor the program to their needs as opposed to the needs you might believe they have. When the needs vary widely, look for a wellness program that offers flexibility and choices for employees so each employee can find something attractive for them. Offering choice and flexibility is essential if you want to create a wellness program that will be utilized by the maximum number of employees. Ultimately, if the wellness program is going unused, it must mean that the program was not designed with the employees first in mind, as it is not solving a problem the employees face. The good thing is that you can very easily ask your employees and solve this quickly and to great effect. – Akshar Bonu, The Custom Movement

3. Make Sure Their Workload Is Manageable

A lot of times, people want to use the wellness programs offered by companies, but they fail to do so because they are overloaded with work. When that happens, it’s not possible for them to leave their desks, let alone attend wellness programs. If you want them to make good use of the wellness program, make sure that you make it accessible for them. Let them have some free time during the day to attend these programs. That way, they will easily attend the programs and benefit from them too. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

4. Raise Awareness

Most employees aren’t even aware of the wellness programs offered to them by their company, let alone the benefits that those programs come with. Educating them on how to make the most of the programs and how they benefit them can encourage them to take part. Employees are usually busy in the hustle and bustle, trying their best to keep up with the deliverables and check tasks off their to-do lists. Most of them are less likely to explore the wellness program’s benefits in detail even if they’ve already heard about it. So, it’s better to educate your employees on the fact that the programs were created for their well-being and explain how they benefit your team. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. Encourage Friendly Competition

One tip to get employees to use wellness programs is to make using them a competition. It’s important not to make it a competition of being the fittest, however, because that would discourage those who aren’t focusing on wellness already. It should be a competition about active involvement. For instance, those who get regular exams get a certain number of points. Those who go to a gym get another point. Contacting a nutritionist gains you more points. The more they do toward wellness, the more points they get. The one with the most points gets a bonus or a gift certificate at the end of the month or quarter. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

6. Create a ‘Wellness Champion Network’

One big tip is to create a Wellness Champion Network, comprising about 1% to 3% of the company’s employees. The ideal Wellness Champions are those who are already passionate about fitness, believe in the company culture and have good communication and leadership attributes. Set clear expectations for the Wellness Champions and empower them not only with verbal support but also with actual dollars (and company time) to plan and execute activities that employees value. Don’t forget to highlight member successes, market the program effectively within the company and obtain C-suite and manager buy-in to the programs that the Champions coordinate. – Lauren Marsicano, Marsicano + Leyva PLLC

7. Make It Into An Optional Social Event

One way to encourage your staff to use your wellness program is to make it an optional social event. For example, one of the health perks we offer is customized gym and home workouts. Team members interested in this aspect of our business meet on Zoom and discuss their progress and long-term goals. I find that giving employees the freedom to enjoy your wellness program with others incentivizes team members to join when they may have otherwise passed on this company benefit. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

8. Encourage Story Swapping

Encourage your staff to share anecdotes with their teammates. Arrange HR sessions, say weekly or biweekly, where employees talk about their experiences when they use a particular wellness benefit. From what we have seen, there are primarily two or three reasons why benefits go unused. Firstly, in most cases, the employees are not aware of the programs in their entirety. In some cases, while they know that a program exists, they don’t know the most effective way to use it or whether it is useful for them. Thirdly, when they actually need it, it suddenly becomes difficult to understand that this particular program will help them with their current situation. Unless we hear real stories of how it has benefitted someone we know, we may not even try it when it is our turn. – Vinay Indresh, Spacejoy

9. Make Employee Well-Being A KPI

During monthly “All Hands” team meetings, we focus on employee happiness and the company’s commitment to happiness as a key performance indicator (KPI). We discuss initiatives that different employees have followed to improve their health and overall well-being. For example, we joined an initiative called “Thrive Together” where all employees were encouraged to exercise and log miles. The employees with the most activity were rewarded by the program, as well as internally. We are constantly looking for similar opportunities to bring to our discussions and openly share the importance of mental and physical health at all times. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

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