Wednesday, November 1, 2017

6 Ways to Get Past Participation Excuses in Your Wellness Program

Through our work with wellness program administrators, we’ve heard all the excuses in the book for not participating in the wellness program…

…“I have to run errands at lunch”
…“I need to complete these tasks, so I can’t attend the webinar”
…“I can’t take the time to figure out how to login”

So, how do you get past them and engage more of your population in healthy behavior?

1. Make it a true priority

If employees believe the wellness program is not an important and integral part of your culture they will promptly put it on the back burner. Show employees that you want it prioritized by having leaders communicate the importance. Also consider sending monthly reminders of ways they can get involved to keep it at the forefront of your organization.

Another way of looking at this method is the plate metaphor. Employees only have room on their plate for so many things during the day. Are you making it clear that your program is a top priority, and worthy of plate space? If not, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

2. Highlight the value of participating

We’ve written extensively on this topic, and also had industry leader, John Weaver, Psy.D., write an inspiring guest blog. (you can read it here).

Bottom-line, if you don’t show value in participating in your wellness program, employees will leap at the chance to use excuses to opt out.

One way you can highlight the value is to bring the health & social benefits (increased energy, less stress, more fun, better colleague camaraderie, etc.) to the forefront of your program messaging.

Additionally, bringing the value back to the plate analogy, are you giving them enough value to WANT to put it on their plate of to-dos?

3. Give a clear path to success

By providing a simple, easy to digest program you can help eliminate excuses around not understanding what to do. Start by looking at your current program and try to identify places where you can streamline the processes. Also, consider that too many options may be daunting for employees.

4. Don’t offer an out

One easy, psychological way to eliminate excuses is to not offer an out, or make the out the alternative. In other words, automatically opt them into the program. You can read more about this topic here > 

5. Offer 24/7 access

Also, when thinking about the spectrum of opportunities, consider the timing. Are you only offering “in office” options or once a year biometrics? Provide multiple times and locations for initiatives and make sure to include options that are 24/7, like physical activity tracking. Another idea is to take your lunch and learns and record them, thus allowing employees to watch/engage during the time frame that best suits them.

6. Empathize

By understanding and relating to why your employees use excuses you can better tackle the issues at hand. Do this by simply and truly listening to what they are saying, and then work together with your employee to come up with a solution.

Lastly, understand that regardless of what program you put together, or the changes you make, not everyone is going to participate, and that’s okay. As long as your program is set up to overcome the common excuses, you can remain confident you are impacting the majority of your population.