Employee wellness is an expression loosely tossed around these days within the four walls of many companies – or at least by HR departments. By now, many of us have read the studies exploring traditional corporate wellness programs and understand the highs and lows associated with rolling them out to employees.
It’s easy for employers to be overly prescriptive with their wellness programs, telling employees to “complete this health risk assessment” or “participate in this specific program.” But it’s unclear how these tactics benefit both employees and employers – outside of maybe achieving a handful of short-term gains.
Companies have wrongfully narrowed the focus to a nagging “do this, don’t do that” strategy and are overlooking the most important thing: creating a wellness program that jibes with the company culture and actually engages employees and supports them in making healthy behavior changes – rather than telling them how they should act.
Right now, workplace engagement crisis is still a thing. In fact, a staggering 52 percent of Americans admit to being disengaged, and only 18 percent say they’re actively engaged on the job, according to a recent Gallup Poll. So with just 30 percent of employees really tuned in at the workplace, how are we getting anything done? Moreover, how do we fix this?
The new Wellness 2.0 movement starts, first and foremost, with creating a culture-first mentality! That vision creates more productive employees, focusing on their total quality life, from work/life balance to physical and mental health, to social, financial and spiritual well-being. To get the best from employees, employers must care about their employees beyond the corporate walls and support them across all aspects of their lives. Wellness 2.0 means a shift to the Total Quality of Life mentality and hones in on establishing deeper connections across the board, connecting employers and their teams with platforms that enable people to make healthy changes and support each other along the way.
So, how do we develop mindsets geared toward culture-first and Total Quality of Life? By changing the game when it comes to wellness programs, making them what they should be: More engaging, social, fun and part of everyone’s day-to-day.
Health Goes Beyond the Workout
Wellness 2.0 focuses on an all-encompassing definition of health: Physical, mental, family/social and even financial. Connecting employees with a single online platform, linking them with programs that make wellness interactive, fun and rewarding, and driving them to it every day helps address these challenges. The end result? Less time stressing about daily burdens, from workouts to 401Ks, and freeing up more time to do quality work. Wellness, after all, is the balance of stress-free health and accomplishment. First, you must understand your employees and their needs and start building from there.
Mesh With Your Mission
Make your wellness programs align with your company’s overall mission. True Wellness 2.0 programs begin with questions like “What will it take to help my employees make this business succeed? How do I inspire passion and promote energy with my employees?”
This thinking and attitude start at the top with the CEO, who must take on the role of the “Chief Engagement Officer.” This CEO must think of creative ways to help employees meet their personal goals while at work. For instance, implementing a quarterly “do good” day, allowing employees to volunteer during the workday to fulfill their philanthropic needs.
An initiative like this not only makes the employee feel good about achieving personal goals, but it enhances their relationship with the company!
It’s All About Relationships
Wellness 2.0 is effective because it extends beyond the workplace. A recently conducted poll by Wired UK on nearly 10,000 employees showed that seventy percent of them think that wellness programs positively influence the culture at work and 58 percent said their participation in wellness programs has a positive influence on their colleagues, friends, and family.
It may seem silly to worry whether or not your cube neighbor is eating enough veggies, getting eight hours of sleep a night or working out each morning, but it’s important. These things have an impact when it comes to morale and teamwork. We spend most of our waking hours at work, so it’s important to feel a part of the community, especially one that encourages and pushes each other to meet professional and personal goals.
Many companies have taken a social gaming approach to wellness. Each week, employees set personal goals, competing against one another to earn bragging rights, rewards, and points. Some companies organize 5K races to challenge employees to compete internally or achieve personal goals. When people establish stronger relationships with their colleagues, they carry that passion into their work!
Wellness programs must evolve from being force-fed to culture-driven, focusing on a Total Quality of Life approach. Health and wellbeing are motivationally contagious if done right. Don’t get caught up in the humdrum that was Wellness 1.0. Think big, act bigger and get your employees on board to drive higher engagement and productivity in your workplace!!!