Monday, April 30, 2018

3 Ways to Give Your Workplace a Positivity Makeover

We all like working in an environment that radiates positive vibes. 

In addition to making us feel warm and energized, uplifting environments also provide fertile ground for growing engagement and innovation. All keys to remaining competitive in today’s market.

But it can be hard to remain positive, or feel like you can make a difference in the current state of your culture. Luckily, there are simple ways you can contribute to the power of positivity, no matter your position.

Here are three ways to give while helping foster positivity in your organization.

1. Give Energy

When we enter a room or enter a conversation, we either give energy or take energy from those we interact with. Which we choose is something that is totally within our control. 

I prefer to be around people that share their good energy. How about you?

The opposite end of the spectrum is an “energy vampire” who thrives on sucking the energy from others.

So ask yourself: are you a giver of energy or an “energy vampire?” 

Try to be aware of your energy give and take. Find yourself being negative? Take a breath and refocus on the power of good energy.

2. Give Back

In the book Tuesdays with Morrie, Professor Morrie Schwartz shares the following nugget of wisdom with his student Mitch Albom, “Giving is living.”

The premise of the thought is that giving to others makes our life all the richer.

You can transfer this premise to your organization for the same effect.

By rallying around a chartable project you can bring your people together in a spirit of positivity. That positivity will easily transcend the project and create an additional light in your workplace.

Foster a core value of investing time, treasure, and talent to the greater good and watch the refreshing impact it has on your culture.

3. Give Praise

Sadly, leadership guru Dan Rockwell reports that 37% of managers do not share positive feedback with their employees. 

1 in 3 managers are only sharing the negative with their team members! This is troubling.

We can’t expect positivity to rise from environments that are absent of recognition and praise.

In 2013, an article titled The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio was published. Though some of the data behind the study has been questioned over the years, the underlying message remains strong. A ratio that tilts to more positive comments than negative comments is a winner over time.

Assess your ratio with tally marks for a couple days. The findings will help you determine what action you need to take. Shoot for a minimum positive-to-negative ratio of 3-to-1.

Dish more praise and you’ll be naturally ditching negativity in the process.

Each of us can lead a positivity makeover in our homes, community, and workplace – it starts with choosing to give a little.

“Do small things with great love.”
~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Give Energy. Give Back. Give Praise.

Which one will you start with today?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

10 Ways to Celebrate Global Employee Health & Fitness Month

Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is celebrated every May. It’s an international observance of health and fitness in the workplace.

It’s goal? To promote the benefit of a healthy lifestyle to employers and their employees through worksite health promotion activities and the environment. (you can learn more about the observance here.)

To help your organization join in on the movement, we put together a list of ways you can encourage health and fitness during the month of May and beyond.

1. Promote the power of physical activity

Post signs in the breakrooms or email out information on the power of physical activity and what getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can do for your health! (We have an infographic you can use here, or find more great resources from GEHFM here.)

2. Give gift certificates for activity trackers

Activity trackers are a great way to help motivate employees to take control of their health and wellbeing. Help your employees’ reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle by offering a gift certificate through our Wellness Outlet Store. You can provide any dollar amount and the site features already discounted Fitbit and Garmin wearables.

Best yet, the store is free to join! Reach out to our sales team at the following email if you are interested:

3. Encourage healthy habits with this reading list

Healthy behavior change is hard. Encourage employees to learn more about ways they can make healthier choices by sharing this reading list of books on the topic.

4. Have a weekly workout class for the month

Hosting workout classes in the office is a great way to promote new social interactions and let employees try something new. Don’t want to hire an instructor? Just use videos online. We love Fitness Blender. They feature simple, straightforward and effective workouts you can stream for free! Simply search for bodyweight only exercises and get moving.

5. Host a walking challenge

We’re big cheerleaders for walking challenges. They are fun, motivating, build social interactions, bring multiple locations together, tap into employees’ competitive nature and more.

Though we understand budget can restrain you from offering ones that feature real-time leaderboards and integration with the top devices like Garmin, Fitbit and Apple Watch, we still want to promote it as an option to celebrate. You can either join in our fun by offering our newest, affordable, turnkey product, myInertia Select, and be up and running with the platform in as little as 5 days, or offer our DIY option in this blog here (scroll to #11).

6. Find sit/stand areas for employees

If you don’t have the budget to get standing options for each employee, get creative. We dedicated two cubicles to standing options, using an old treadmill at one for a walking option. You could go a step further and provide a second monitor for employees to plug into, along with phone and laptop charging options.

7. Dedicate part of your office to a stress-free zone

Do you have an empty area of your office; maybe an office stuffed with an overflow of old computers and dust? Take that area and invest in making it a relaxing area for employees to take a break. Include comfy chairs and lounging options.

8. Hold standing meetings

By now most everyone has heard of walking meetings. While we agree they are great, maybe they aren’t feasible for you and your location, or maybe you need to take notes during the meeting or show a slide deck. When this happens, a great alternative is to encourage those who can, to stand.

9. Take the celebration outside

Last year we put together a great list of activities to try out in spring and summer. The list of 20 includes starting an outdoor garden, joining a volleyball or other sports-related league and more. Check out the full article here. 

10. Host a healthy happy hour

Something we’ve recently implemented in our office for a spring refresh is a weekly happy hour with healthy, non-alcoholic drinks. We’ve had lemonade, cucumber water, tea, coffee, punch, etc. We rotate weekly who brings in the drinks and, if yummy enough, people can share the recipes. It’s a great way to encourage healthy habits, bring employees together and have them try something new!

Any initiative you choose to focus on this month is time well spent. We hope you found a few to inspire action.

What ways will you be celebrating this month? Sound off in the comments if we’ve missed any!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Introducing the New myInertia Wellness Portal

New Look. New Feel. New myInertia Portal.

Motion Connected is excited to officially announce the new look of our myInertia wellness portal. This modern wellness portal features:

  • A mobile-friendly experience – Same great experience whether on computer, tablet, and phone helps to boost motivation, even on the go!

  • Updated dashboard – gives employees an instant snapshot of their standings and progress for ease of use.

  • More on-demand reporting & scheduling - keeps you in the know about your program results. 

  • One-page activity & weight challenge building - means you can engage employees easily and more effectively. 

All these new features equal an engaging wellness program you and your employees will love and the health results your business needs.

Want to learn more about our product offerings and get an inside look at the portal? 

Schedule a demo today >>>

Monday, April 2, 2018

7 Tips for Kick-Starting a Wellness Program for Your Small/Medium Clients

Not surprisingly much of the wellness industry has been developed with larger employers in mind.

However, this often creates challenges for small to medium employers who have limited resources and often find that wellness platforms are over-engineered and over-priced. The typical offerings like biometrics and targeted coaching can quickly consume annual budgets without providing any population impact on healthy behaviors. So what can you, as the Broker, do to help guide these forgotten sectors?

Here are 7 things to recommend when developing a wellness plan for your small to medium clients:

1. Remember the “hidden risk”. 

Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease. – all drive healthcare costs. Not only those who are currently diagnosed, but the hidden suspects. While there are numerous wellness initiatives available, pick one or two with the broadest impact, like physical activity improvement, to focus on in the first year of a new program. This allows the program to be all-inclusive, targeting those currently diagnosed, and the hidden risk.

2. Maximize incentives. 

Make sure that rewards target ongoing actions or behaviors – don’t use them all up on point-in-time HRAs or screenings. If funds won’t stretch to individual rewards, then pool resources and offer “drawings” for anyone who achieves a meaningful level of healthy actions. Winner take all prizes can actually discourage the majority of employees from participating.

3. Use community resources. 

Local organizations (health systems, non-profits) may offer low or no cost programs to employers. Carriers may also offer “wellness dollars” and/or services that are free. In addition, the employer themselves may be doing some things internally. These affordable elements can be integrated into an overall annual plan.

4. Automate when possible. 

Technology such as activity trackers, turn-key points-based incentives and mobile apps allow employees to easily access and participate in programs year-round. They also reduce administrative burden.

5. Collect Independent data. 

Clients should be encouraged to ”own” their wellness data. By being independent of carriers a history can be established without worrying about switching between plans. This independent data can help with both program enhancements and potentially be used to negotiate favorable plan rates.

6. Start a feedback loop. 

Survey participants and non-participants at the end of the program. Find out what they liked and how they would like to see the program improved. Having a multi-year focus will help employers continue to learn and improve.

7. Celebrate success. 

Make sure that leadership highlight individual and group success within the program. These stories will help the program stay relevant and motivate employees to continue to engage with the program.

While many wellness programs and vendors may be out of the reach of small to medium employers there are still ways for them to engage their employees in healthy behaviors. Using the principles highlighted above will allow you showcase your expertise and gain trust within the small to mid-size industry.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The ONE Initiative You Need for a Behavior Changing Wellness Program

There is often debate on whether or not wellness works. But the truth of the matter is, with no set definition of what wellness is – how can there be a blanket statement about its effectiveness?

We have seen the positive results of a wellness program. What has really worked for engaging employees in healthier choices and providing improved health outcomes?

It boils down to a comprehensive physical activity program.

How did we come to this conclusion? For us it is all about evidence.

First and foremost, scientific evidence. The literature from leading organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, (1, 2) proves that physical activity is extremely effective for treating disease. One of the many supporting studies in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, who found data to support prescribing exercise for 26 different chronic conditions including metabolic diseases, neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases and even psychiatric diseases and cancer. (3) With exercise as powerful as medicine in treating diseases, no wellness program can be effective in improving health outcomes without it.

Second, corporations put a lot of effort into their pharmacy benefits and compliance programs for disease treatment and prevention, but prescriptions only have an effect for the disease that they are indicated for. Exercise can be just as powerful and certainly a more cost-effective way to treat disease than medicines, while also providing a broader improvement in health beyond the diagnosis. In fact, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, from the University in Ontario goes as far as saying: “If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed.” (4)

Third, many wellness programs focus on identifying employees with disease and then managing those disease states, but what about preventing the disease in the first place? Improving the health of a population means more than just treating those with diseases. It also means keeping the healthy people in healthy ranges.

The evidence for the power of prevention with physical activity is no less than it is for exercise as medicine. A large meta-analysis published online in BMJ found that “a structured exercise program may be as good or better than frequently prescribed drugs for common cardiovascular ailments.” With a good physical activity program there is no need to segment your employees into risk categories with expensive biometric testing to know what to initiative to offer – get the population moving and it will help everyone despite risk category.

Beyond disease prevention and treatment, strong data exists for the impact that exercise has on energy levels (5), stress (6), fatigue (7), and can improve mood in as fast as 5 minutes. (8) Furthermore, a study in the British Journal of Health Psychology showed more active people have improved will-power and:

· Saved more money
· Procrastinated less
· Reduced smoking, alcohol, and caffeine intake
· Felt more in control of their emotions
· Ate less junk food
· Watched less tv
· Began eating a healthier diet
· Spent more time studying
· Splurged on impulse purchases less

All this data boils down to one thing: getting physically active can and will positively impact the health of your employees. So for wellness programs to really change behavior, it needs to include methods to improving physical activity.

Has the data have you convinced? Ready to know HOW to implement a successful activity-focused program? 

You can learn more about how to use wearables to achieve population health by watching our on-demand webinar co-hosted with industry leader, Garmin.



Friday, March 9, 2018

Benefit Insights: 4 Reasons You Need to Focus On Healthier Populations in 2018

Benefit Insights blogs are written to help the modern Employee Benefits Adviser navigate the world of benefits and wellness. #healthinsurance #employeebenefitsadviser

As the benefits landscape continues to evolve with narrower networks, higher deductibles and increasing pharma-costs there is one constant that will put companies in a stronger position to slow their potential pace of change – healthier populations. Whether it is avoiding medical visits altogether, negotiating with carriers or reducing the need for drugs, a healthier employee base will put your clients in a more proactive position when it comes to managing future benefit programs. Here are four reasons why working towards a healthier population truly matters in 2018.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

6 Ways to Get Employees to Care About Health in 2018

Getting employees engaged in healthier habits through a wellness program is a great goal for any organization.

The problem is, a wellness program is only as good as the amount of employees using it. And it can often feel like they only capture the attention of the already health focused - leaving the less healthy counterparts disengaged.

So, what can we do differently?

It starts with a few key tactics. You can use the list below to start inspiring your employees to truly care about their health today.

1. Leadership support: walk the talk

This is one of the most important ways to get employees to care more. If you, or others in leadership roles, aren’t interested in putting health first, how do you expect employees to?

Luckily, showing your support is as easy as participating in the wellness initiatives offered and encouraging employees to come along for the ride. If leadership cares, you can bet employees will follow suit.

2. Use incentives: put some skin the game

By providing an incentive, it shows you truly care about employees’ health. It also highlights that you are willing to reward those who take the time to focus on healthier behaviors. HSA dollars or premium discounts are a best practice to engage a population, but other options can work just as well. The key is knowing what motivates your group.

3. Follow the K.I.S.S. method

Keep It Simple Stupid. This principle can apply to most things in life - it’s better to be straight-forward then flashy and confusing.

Keep your program in check by only focusing on key initiatives proven to deliver results.

Another way to follow the K.I.S.S. method is by giving your employees a clear roadmap to success. In other words, don’t make them jump through a bunch of hoops with confusing online portals or loads of manual tracking.

An added bonus to keeping the program simple? You’ll spend less time on excel sheet managing and more time engaging members by reaching out and communicating the program benefits.

4. Have some fun

How many employees get excited to take their biometric screenings? We'd guess not many. Adding fun initiatives help show employees that improving their health doesn’t have to be a required task, burden, or struggle.

Our clients focus on fun initiatives like physical activity challenges to create more social support and help tap into employees' competitive spirit. Other ideas include: joining a sports league, hosting a cooking class, paying for employees to register for a 5k.

5. Use the power of physical activity

Remember when we talked about K.I.S.S and focusing on key initiatives? This should include improving physical activity levels. Why? Because inactivity is one of the top drivers of health problems in America. Helping improve levels in your organization can boost employees' energy levels, keeping them more engaged and in turn increasing productivity. Another benefit of a more active workforce? Less sick days and lower healthcare utilization.

Physical activity also touches on almost every other tactic in this blog. It’s a simple, all-inclusive activity, that most anyone can do. It’s also fun and provides a visual way for leadership to get involved and show support.

6. Open the lines of communication

Regardless of what’s included in your program, a sure fire way to get employees to care about it starts with helping them understand it. Communicate clearly, concisely and often!

Don’t send out one lengthy email at the beginning of the year and one at the end and expect employees to care. SHOW them why they should care with effective communication that not only lays out the details of the program and the roadmap to success, but helps them understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Think of it this way: has anyone ever said no, I don’t want more energy, more drive, or to live longer? Sometimes all employees need is that small reminder of WHY leading a healthier lifestyle is so worth it.