Traditionally, we think of health resolutions as commitments made at the beginning of the year as individuals contemplate a new beginning that a new year can bring. We’ve probably all had those moments of determination, vowing that this year will be the year that the resolution sticks and we get fit, for good. Inevitably, every now and again our best intentions fall short. Before we know it our fitness routine is less frequent, and we let our eating habits slip. If you are one of the lucky ones who seems to have a strong willpower, you notice that the gym gets emptier as each week of the year passes. But, if you thought it was too late to set a goal for a more healthy life, think again. June is National Employee Wellness Month. And if you’re tasked with developing a wellness planc there are some best practices to facilitate engagement among your staff.
- Develop a network of program champions. In a white paper featuring best practices from Virgin Pulse the organization stresses the importance of having employees in the organization who can serve as leaders to rally other employees around a wellness program, as well as promote the continued “buzz” about the program.Additionally, ensure that you have full buy-in from senior management; that will help the message stay “top of mind” among employees.
- Develop a culture of health. Organizations seeing the greatest return on investment for wellness programs are those that embed wellness into the corporate mission.
- Gather data and create a communication plan. Josh Love, president of Kinema Fitness included these tips in an article for Forbes, “4 Steps to Implement a Success Employee Wellness Program.” Ask employees what they would like to see in a wellness plan. A combination of assessments, workshops, and education increases the odds of employee engagement and follow through. The communication plan sets forth the framework for the initiatives.
- Force a wellness program on employees. Seek input from employees. Employees don’t want to feel that things are being done “to” them. Rather that want to be heard when it comes to their own ideas. The American Institute for Preventive Medicine ‘s blog, Working Well, acknowledges the importance of each individual’s commitment to the program.
- Make weigh-ins and health assessments mandatory. Advocate for individuals and the assessments that will benefit them personally. These suggestions don’t need to be completely disregarded, but take the lead from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force over a vendor’s recommendations.
Corporations experiencing success with employee wellness programs know that these efforts in the workplace offer the greatest hope for fixing a national health crisis.. If, as health communicators we are able to reframe the message from one of treatment for illness to proactive measures for wellness, employees may benefit from lifestyle changes that will impact their life.