Wellness programs are increasing in popularity with employers. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 98% of large companies and 73% of small companies offered at least one wellness program this year. Many employers know they need to implement a wellness program but are unsure about where to start.
HPS was in a similar situation as we jump-started our internal wellness program this past year. However, since our first wellness event in March, we’ve seen high levels of participation from our team, stronger morale, and increased enthusiasm for personal health & wellness. Based on our experiences, we’d like to share some things we learned as we implemented our wellness program, and we hope these will benefit your company as you create yours.
Make Sure There’s Variety
Because people have different tastes and interests, it’s important to offer different wellness options that would appeal to various people. HPS started its wellness program by having company walks outside of work in locations such as public parks, scenic areas, and other fun outdoor places. We also had these walks on various days and times to accommodate different schedules. So far, we’ve had 15 wellness events this year, and there are more on the calendar before the winter holidays. What we found is that the more variety offered in terms of wellness activities, locations, and times, the more likely people were to find one that worked best for them and participate.
Add Some Competition
An easy way to boost participation and to make wellness fun is by creating wellness competitions. HPS hosted a 2 week competition to see which department could walk the most laps around our office building during breaks. Using our wellness competition portal, teams could track their laps, see which team was in the lead, and post comments about the competition in general. Making wellness a competition built morale and comradery among teams, made people active during their breaks, boosted productivity, and also created a fun atmosphere at the office. However, the competition also generated a lot of participation and interest in other company wellness activities.
Take Advantage of Existing Wellness Programs
When implementing your wellness program, don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel – take advantage of programs and events that are already available. Besides organizing our own wellness walks, we also encouraged our team to participate in local 5ks or other nationwide wellness initiatives. This allowed employees to participate in causes they cared about such as Breast Cancer Awareness, Guide Dogs for the Blind, or Smoking Cessation. However, it also saved us time and effort of having to come up with our own program internally.
Offer Some Incentives
We all need extra motivation to make a healthy choice, and adding incentives to your wellness program can definitely encourage participation. For HPS, every time a team member participates in a local, national, or company-organized wellness event, they earn wellness points. Once they accumulate a certain number of points, they can redeem them for prizes such as time off, gift cards, t-shirts, wearable fitness devices, and more. We found that these incentives not only encouraged the team to get involved, but also to stay involved and set personal wellness goals too.
Wellness programs are important for employers to use in creating a culture of health and helping employees become healthier. However, implementing a wellness program doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming, and there are many out-of-the box tools that can be used to get your wellness program up and running.
To learn more about HPS’ wellness initiative and the online programs and tools we used, contact us.