According to a RAND Corporation study in 2013, 85% of U.S. companies employing 1,000 people or more offer some sort of workplace wellness program. This is fantastic, right? But Gallup research shows that only 60% of U.S. employees are aware that their company offers a wellness program – and only 40% of those who are aware of the program say they actually participate. So that results in only 24% of employees taking advantage of these programs. Not so fantastic, right?
Although wellness is a high priority for employers and employees alike, programs are often under-used. In some cases, it’s a lack of proper marketing. Other times, it’s a program that just kind of sits there and isn’t tied to the culture of the organization.
Here are seven steps to help infuse wellness into the culture of your organization so it permeates throughout the business, increasing its exposure, utilization and success.
Step 1: Assess and acknowledge the culture. There are many ways to assess the culture of your organization. Take surveys, use tools, apply technology and acknowledge what you find.
Developing a culture-first mentality means focusing on employees’ total quality of life — including physical, mental, social, emotional and financial health.
It is not just about convincing employees to join a weight loss program because “everyone is doing it.” It’s about connecting with people in ways that put lifestyle changes within easy reach, and encouraging them to support one another.
Step 2: See what cultural changes need to be made anyway. This is a great opportunity to see what’s broken in the organizational culture and subsequently address what changes can be part of this initiative. There are many ways to make small changes that have big impact.
Step 3: Work closely with executives to get buy in. Culture is modeled behavior. Did you find that people love to compete? Have contests among executives to see who can take the most steps in a week. And then do the same competition among departments as a follow-up. Wearables are so easy to use in the workplace and the benefits are tremendous. And according to Statista, the global wearables market is expected to reach a value of $19 billion in 2018, more than 10 times its value five years prior. People love them!
Step 4: Kick off any wellness program in a way that engages employees. If you don’t start with enthusiasm, you will likely lose people before you even get started. Engagement is consistently addressed as a key element in employee happiness and productivity. This is no exception. Here are a few facts from Limeade:
• When employees feel their employer cares about their well-being, they are 38% more engaged.
• Research shows that engagement predicted well-being above and beyond anything else.
• Companies with higher employee engagement are 78% more profitable, 78% more productive, five times less likely to have an accident.
Step 5: Overtly tie together your unique culture with wellness. Say things like, “We know the high-stress seasons of our business, so free yoga is now offered during these times.” Or “We are a group of tech-loving geeks, so here is a brand new app we can all use to pursue health and wellness together!” OR “We care about the whole you, so enjoy the made-over break room, now focused on your health.”
Step 6: Be consistent in your messaging. This is simply important in any successful initiative. Product launches don’t last one day, nor do wellness programs. Use newsletters, blogs, meetings, social media, app pushes, and whatever other channels work for your important news and say the same things across all platforms (in ways that work for that channel). So figure out your culturally relevant wellness message, put on your marketing hat, share it across platforms, and stick to it.
Step 7: Do periodic evaluations of the culture, because it may very well change based on this program! What if this culture of wellness really does what it’s supposed to? Employees are healthier, morale is high, productivity is up, health costs and missed days are down. If this is a departure from the previous culture, keep it up! But don’t be afraid to see if the wellness messages are still culturally relevant and make changes along the way.
This article was written by Meghan M. Biro from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.