Employee wellness programs are more popular than ever. They started out as perks, but as the global wellness economy has trended upward for consumers (becoming a $4.2 trillion dollar market in 2018), employees now expect a consistent experience from their employers.
When done meaningfully, employee wellness programs offer employees incentives, tools, and strategies to adopt and preserve healthy behaviors - programs that instigate long-term behavior change. And the benefit to employers? These healthy behaviors lead to reduced chronic disease and fewer health care costs. A win-win for everyone.
This week we hosted an HR Roundtable discussing the value from investing in employee wellbeing. Not only the benefits of employee wellness, but also diving into what a modern-day wellness program looks like, with best practices shared for how you can create a program that exceeds employee expectations.
This week’s roundtable included a panel of wellness experts: Carolyn Thayer-Azoff, Director of Client Experience at ADURO; Amanda Delaney, Employee Experience at Blend; and Debi Concenti, Manager of Employee Wellness Programs at Motion Picture & Television Fund.
While there is no one way to address employee well-being in the workplace, our three experts shared their best advice on how to personalize an employee wellness culture for your company. Check out the full recording and recap below, and for more great HR Roundtable events, stay in touch via our Resources page.
Why employee wellness matters
Carolyn started the conversation outlining why employee wellness matters. Not only is having an employee wellness program morally a good idea, but there are hard numbers that show how wellness programs can positively affect your business. From reducing medical and prescription claims, decreasing program administration, decreasing employee absenteeism, and increasing employee retention; employee wellness programs have outward effects on your company, and at the end of the day, the potential to save your company a lot of money. When working with Forrester Research, ADURO found that having a good employee wellness program gave companies a 182% increase in program ROI.
Take a step back from fitness initiatives
ADURO surveyed 44,000 people and was surprised when 52% of them said that the area of well-being they preferred to work on was something other than health and fitness. The other areas included personal growth and development, financial wellness, as well as contributions to sustainability.
As a best practice, Carolyn says to keep it personal - allow employees to define what wellness means to them. While some may be fitness-based, others may want to reduce stress and focus on spending more time with family., some may desire personal learning initiatives, etc.
Debi shared that when creating a wellness program, be creative with how you use your resources. Find the people who are passionate about wellness and who might offer their time to host a class or workshop for free or at a discount. You can also be strategic and talk to people who need a certain number of hours in order to get/keep a certificate (especially with nurses), or who might want to use the opportunity to drive more clients to their business (meditation coaches, masseuses).
When making an employee wellness program, ADURO recommends strategizing around these four main characteristics to ensure your program is set up for success:
1) Organizational Support
In order for an employee wellness initiative to work, it needs to flow from the top. It’s important to get company leaders involved. Depending on your company size, that can mean the CEO or other C-suite members and department heads.
When superiors are seen taking a break from work in order to be involved with your employee wellness initiatives, employees are more likely to also take a break and participate. When talking to your CEO about wellness initiatives, be sure to have them engaged in the process from the very beginning. This will help make wellbeing a priority from the top down and might just offer them some personal health benefits along the way.
2) Communications and Marketing
Let your employees know about all of the wellness activities you have planned for them. This can be done through flyers, emails, Slack communities, or adding events across company calendars. Just make sure you tell your employees with plenty of notice that these wellness initiatives are happening, and give them frequent reminders for upcoming events. As your program launches, continue sharing news and updates through internal communication channels to keep employees motivated and engaged.
3) Incentive Strategy
In order for an employee wellness program to be effective, the employee has to be both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to participate. Gift cards or cash bonuses are not enough motivation to effectively change behavior, because they solely link to extrinsic motivators. Read more in this blog post on the difference in motivators and how they affect your recognition strategy. Experiential rewards are a great way to strike a balance across both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.
For those looking for an experiential employee reward program that sparks intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for your employees, be sure to check out our wellness offerings here at Blueboard. We empower companies to send top performers a Blueboard experience, which gives the rewarded employee their choice from our menu of adventures and activities: they might choose e a day in a recording studio, a weekend away at a mediation training, a much-needed massage, or practicing their golf swing.
4) Aligned Strategy
It’s key that you understand why you have a wellbeing initiative. Is it because stress levels are going through the roof? Or is productivity suffering because people are unhappy and stressed out?
Really understand why your company is having an employee wellness program in order to make sure it stays a priority. Once you have determined your program’s ‘why’, make sure that you effectively communicate the objectives and desired goals across key stakeholders. This helps makes sure everyone involved is on the same page and in alignment.
Whether you’re revamping your current wellness program or you’re starting from scratch, we’d love to support your incentive goals as a way to reward those taking positive steps forward towards a more healthy, active lifestyle. To learn more about Blueboard and get in touch with our team, simply reach out via the Request Demo button above ^^.
Stay tuned for more webinars and upcoming events here on our Resources page.