With each ringing in of a New Year, business owners face new and evolving challenges. The one thing that remains constant each year is the fact that you need healthy employees to have a healthy business. Research has repeatedly shown that unhealthy workers are less productive and more likely to get injured, and they have a higher turnover rate. Companies that invest in their employees’ health and wellbeing have happier, more productive workers and a healthier bottom line.
The evolution of workplace wellness
Wellness programs today are about total employee well-being, including physical, emotional, psychological, financial, educational and relational. Instead of the traditional focus on nutrition, activity and avoiding chronic conditions, today’s successful wellness programs focus on improving behaviors and living a healthy overall lifestyle.
How can you help your employees build healthy habits and behaviors, and inspire a spirit of team wellness? Here are five tips:
- Make wellness specific and relevant. The majority of employees who join wellness programs don’t have a clear understanding of their health risks or what behaviors they need to change to live a healthier lifestyle. Well-being programs that teach them about those risks and specific steps they can take will be more effective at building healthy habits than a one-size-fits-all program.
- Keep the process simple. Changing habits and behaviors is hard, so the simpler the process, the better. Give your employees tools that help them set personal goals, establish benchmarks and chart their progress. Wearable technology that monitors such things as physical activity, sleep or calorie intake can shorten the learning curve, make it easy for employees to see their progress, help them identify areas needing improvement and set specific goals.
- Tap their motivation. Motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes can wax and wane. Employers can help employees tap into their motivation with measures such as well-targeted and well-timed communications. For example, mobile technology with push notifications and location-based services can provide goal reminders and encourage employees to check in with their program. By leveraging technology and communication tools, employers can help trigger healthy habits and lifestyle skills.
- Reward and celebrate success. Wellness incentives such as monetary rewards for achieving goals can be powerful motivators to take action for long-term change. But incentives aren’t the only way to reward success. Tap into employees’ inherent motivators such as feelings of accomplishment and social recognition. Celebrating their success can be as simple as a statement of support or public acknowledgement.
- Create a supportive environment. For new habits and behaviors to take hold, they have to be repeated over a long period of time. Make sure your employees have the support system to keep them motivated for the long haul. Tools such as well-being technology that connects employees working toward a common goal can give those employees a supportive learning environment where they can test their new skills and learn from their mistakes.