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.

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