The workplace wellness space is a constantly evolving one. As we get a more complete picture of what gives people a sense of wellbeing in the workplace, so people in the industry come up with new and innovative approaches.
Despite that, there are a some fundamental basics that simply don’t change. Get these few things right and your wellness programme will be on solid footing from the get-go.
Understand your employee needs
Before you embark on any employee wellness programme, it’s important to understand what your employees’ actual needs are.
Finding out what those needs are means tapping into the general mindset of everyone in the company.
Formal surveys and informal chats will give you an idea of these needs, as well as any potential challenges you might face.
If you’re not the employer, but an employee who’s been tasked with putting together a wellness programme, it’s also critical that you use the same approach to find out what their hopes for the programme are.
Analyse the data
Once you’ve done the necessary prior research for the employee wellness programme, you need to analyse what that research has told you.
From there, you have a much better chance of figuring out what initiatives will be embraced within the organisation’s existing culture. Group exercise classes, for instance, probably won’t work if the majority of employees in the organisation prefer individual activities.
Perhaps most importantly, however, analysing this data will give you insight into what will motivate employees to participate in the wellness programme as well as what education initiatives you should integrate into it.
Keep communications clear
Throughout the process of putting an employee wellness programme together, it’s important that you keep communications with employees clear.
Before you start surveying people, for instance, it’s important that you tell them what the purpose of the survey is.
When it comes time to roll out the wellness programme, meanwhile, you should have a clear communication plan in place. People should know what the programme will encompass and how it will benefit them.
You should also use a variety of communication tools, including workshops, posters, email and social media to convey the messaging you’re trying to get out around the wellness programme.
In an ideal world, people would participate in wellness programmes because they’re good for them. You only have to look at the world around you, however, to see that people aren’t all that good at doing things because they’re good for them.
It’s therefore important that you include rewards and incentives in your wellness programme. Remember, you’re asking people to change habits that, in some cases, they will have had all their lives. Giving them something to look forward to (whether that be retail discounts or a weekend away) for doing so successfully can be incredibly powerful.
These incentives shouldn’t just happen once a year either. They should be baked into every step of the wellness programme so that employees stay engaged with it throughout the year.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the employee wellness programme you start out with doesn’t have to be the one you end with.
If an element isn’t working, there’s nothing stopping you from changing it. In fact, a few tweaks here and there should be viewed as inevitable and mean the programme is much more likely to succeed than if you stick rigidly to the original plan.