Employee wellness can be incredibly beneficial for your company. Not only can a wellness program help you save on insurance costs, but it can help improve employee morale, boost productivity and build a resilient workforce.
With all of those benefits on the line, it’s a shame that many managers really aren’t getting the most of their wellness programs. Common, avoidable pitfalls can stand in the way of developing a truly effective wellness program.
In my years in the wellness industry, I’ve seen these ten mistakes lead to lackluster wellness programs that really aren’t worth a company’s time or effort. Take a look at your program. Anything sound familiar? Then it’s time to make a change so you can set your employees up for wellness success.
1. You Use Scare Tactics
If most of your wellness program is focused on risks and unhealthy behaviors, you’re doing it wrong. Statistics are important—and there’s a time and place for them in wellness—but success stories and empowering messages are much more effective.
2. You Incentivize Poorly
There are mixed feelings about wellness incentives. I think that—when done right—incentives can be very useful. If you’re incentivizing effectively, you’re:
• Choosing incentives that further a healthy lifestyle for your employees
• Making incentives accessible to anyone who completes the requirements
• Requiring more than just a simple sign up to earn incentives
Choose wisely when it comes to your incentives and how they work in your program.
3. You Don’t Offer Biometric Screenings
Biometric screenings are a basic preventative health service many companies have adopted to help their employees evaluate their health. Usually a screening consists of a finger stick or blood draw to gather health metrics like cholesterol and blood sugar, and tests for blood pressure, body weight and body mass index (BMI).
These metrics provide a good snapshot for employees and help them to understand their own health. With aggregate reports, they’re also a great tool for measuring the overall health of your workforce, and benchmarking year-to-year.
4. You Only Offer Biometric Screenings
Biometric screenings are a useful core tool of a wellness program, but honestly… they’re not enough. It’s incredibly important to take the information you gather from a screening and use that as a stepping stone to promote health at your company.
If you notice high blood pressure is a common biometric result, stress might be an issue. Consider hosting a lunch-and-learn about stress relief practices. Your screening is a great indicator of the health problems that might persist at your company. It’s the activities you choose to do based on those results, however, that make the biggest difference.
5. You Don’t Consult Experts
It might not be plausible to secure a direct expert consultation. But it’s important to be sure you’re pulling health information from credible sources and staying up to date on the science behind wellness. The entire health industry is unfortunately muddled with fad diets, trends and schemes. That’s not the foundation on which you want your employees to build their healthy lifestyles.
6. You Communicate Poorly, If At All
Communication plays a major role in employee wellness. It’s as important as any other internal communication about benefits or business functions. When it comes to wellness communication, it’s important to be:
• Clear, so your employees know exactly what they need to do to be involved.
• Consistent, so your employees learn to trust and rely on your program as a resource for health.
• Colorful (literally and figuratively), so your employees get excited about health and wellness.
• Constant, so your program stays top of mind.
Clear, consistent, colorful and constant wellness communication helps keep everyone in the loop and ready to take part.
7. You Chose The Wrong Provider
Chances are, you can’t implement your entire wellness program with resources you have in-house. If you can, great! If not, that’s where wellness service providers come in. And not all are created equally. Unfortunately, some just won’t fit with what you’re trying to do. Do some digging, ask questions and pick a quality partner that fits with the culture of your wellness program.
8. You Skip The Employee Feedback
Your wellness program should be built with your employees, not just for them. That little word swap can make all the difference in how effective your program is. That’s because building a program with your employees involves seeking feedback and addressing health issues they value. It’s a proactive way to ensure your program is delivering on the needs of your workforce for years to come.
9. You Force Participation
I’m going to say this one time and one time only. Don’t make your employees participate in your wellness program. Forced participation is not the type of participation you need. It doesn’t lead to the levels of employee engagement that are required for healthy results, and it doesn’t lead to healthy change.
10. You’re Stressing Out
Stress is not healthy. If your wellness program is stress-inducing, it defeats the purpose. You might be inducing stress on a couple different levels. First, you might be stressing your employees out with strict requirements or lack of clarity. Second, you might be stressing yourself out about planning the perfect wellness program.
Neither is good. Both will sabotage any healthy progress you make in your program because not only does stress wreak havoc on a person’s mental health, but it also physically affects your body.
Set yourself and your employees up for success in your wellness program. Your wellness program isn’t sunk if you’re guilty of any of the above. Make some changes, and use your program to become a healthy resource and to help your employees optimize their health and wellbeing.
This article was written by Alan Kohll from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.