There is a misconception about the length of a wellness program. For example, some people think a wellness program is a 12-week walking challenge. They turn on the green light for their employees and motivate them for only a few weeks and then suddenly turn on the red light. The goal of a wellness program is not to implement some Band-Aid solution, but to create a permanent lifestyle change to improve the health of employees and reduce health care costs.
$2300-$4000/year is the average cost of a sedentary employee. This means that sedentary employees could be costing your company thousands of dollars. Are you putting your employees health and your health care costs at risk with providing short term wellness programs?
A wellness program should move the employee from risk to engagement. So why is engaging employees so hard? Employees often have several roadblocks preventing them from engaging in health.
It is important to remember that not everyone engages at the same time. Employees throughout the year may be experiencing many struggles. Lack of time and personal stresses are reported as the largest barriers to engagement in wellness programs. If your program is only a short-term challenge, you could be at high risk for missing the majority of your employees.
Employers must nurture and engage their employees for 365 days a year.
Removing Roadblocks to Wellness:
1. Create a wide range of walking plans for increased participation. Everyone may want to walk, but one single environment may not work for everyone. Some people are competitive, while others are social or collaborative. Structure walking programs and challenges to meet the needs of all your employees.
2. Plan walking with both short- and long-term goals. Keep the program interesting, exciting and purposeful. Set goals with incentives that are manageable. Structure challenges with short-term goals (mini challenges) that act as breadcrumbs to guide participants in reaching the challenge’s long-term goal (365 days). New employees who onboard throughout the year are able to join the program at any point and do not have to worry about waiting for “next year’s” challenge.
3. Get C-level support. Programs that have management buy-in and direct involvement have higher engagement, as they set the standard for program expectations. Walking teams with support from management can foster team cooperation beyond the walking challenge.
4. Focus on the whole person. With a year-long program, you’ll provide your employee with plenty of opportunities to create a permanent lifestyle change within their life stressors. If you have employees with young families — find ways to include them in the program. If you have a Gen Y workforce — make sure you incorporate social media. If you have lots of seniors — make sure the goals are practical for them while being challenging for others.
5. Create a fully integrated wellness solution. Tie in your 365 day physical activity program with your biometrics, HRA’s and incentives. Your own overall wellness branding and consistent key messaging will go a long way toward creating a permanent lifestyle mindset into your employee culture.
Technology enabled behavior change is ideal for engaging employees to lower healthcare costs and create lifelong health habits . Walkingspree’s program provides challenges strategically placed throughout the year to act as a motivator in an overall 365 day wellness program.
At Walkingspree, we provide superior corporate wellness solutions centered on the numerous benefits of our corporate walking program. Our customized health and fitness solutions combine advanced monitoring and tracking technology with the built-in-fun of motivating incentives, rewards, and social interactions for programs that result in high engagement, healthier employees, and positive ROI. To learn more about the significant benefits that your company and your employees can realize with our corporate walking program, contact Walkingspree today.