Employee Wellness Programs come in all shapes and sizes, for example, free gym memberships, healthy food counters, group activities etc. but in reality are these initiatives, succeeding?What are the corporates who are building a fitness-first employee culture doing to make sure that their wellness programs are working? Based on our experience of working with and learning from corporates like Cisco, ABinBev, Optum and more, we have distilled the 5 best practices that go into executing a successful program:
Encourage Physical Activity at Work
Getting up and moving around during the day helps keep individuals focused and any investment they make in their physical wellbeing will be recognized and rewarded. Consider offering app based nudges to break sedentary time, after-work yoga, training stipends, or investing in a program that reward employee wellness. Customers such as CISCO, AB InBev among others set daily step goals and run a number of engaging Step-based-challenges like the Stepathon, Groupathon etc. to literally keep employees on their toes and moving. These fun challenges help employees come close to hitting the target of 10,000 steps a day.
Assemble a Wellness Committee
A wellness committee can handle setting wellness goals, planning, promoting the program, communicating with employees, and program evaluation. The size and composition of the committee will depend on the size of the company and the scope of the program. A committee of at least 4 and no more than 10 should be adequate. The committee should include representatives from various departments and shifts.
Success at Ab InBev, Fidelity, Uber was driven by these dedicated wellness committee’s and officers who played a crucial role in delivering higher employee engagement levels
Recruit “Fitness Leaders”
These are your internal champions who will take the program to the grass-roots and ensure that participation numbers are high. These “Fitness Leaders or Fitness Captains” help provide motivation, information, and support to the program participants. “Fitness Leaders” can create a positive experience and if led from the front by the leadership team, the program will have a significantly larger impact on employee engagement.
“Our partnership with Getactive has helped us improve employee engagement, their health and ultimately their productivity”
– Christian Barros, CISCO, Director – HR, APAC
Education and Awareness
Employee education is critical to program success. The right strategy can build awareness, provide information, and create the right buzz and engagement. These initiatives help move your employees toward behaviour change and help shift the culture in the right direction.
Educational strategies include:
- Branding the event and informing everyone about it
- Email campaigns
- Town Hall presentations
- Informational posters / Standees in the break room, cafeteria and common areas
- Lunch and learn workshops
Examples include UberFit at Uber, MeeFit at Meesho, High on health at AB InBev etc.
Make it Social
Help employees connect with those that share their passions, this brings together employees across silos that work, motivate and help each other reach their fitness goals. Beyond employee relationships, employers can also provide access to employees to specialists such as Nutritionists, Mental Health Specialists and financial experts to help employees tackle work-life stress, family issues, financial concerns, relationship problems, among others.
In summary a successful program ultimately boils down to both employees and management coming together to keep the program dynamic, relevant and engaging. It is a partnership that can yield long term benefits if planned and executed properly.
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