Is employee wellness on your company’s radar for 2014? How about lowering healthcare costs while also improving employee health and productivity? Creating a healthy workplace culture is easily achievable – start by setting wellness goals for the New Year.
Below are three wellness goals all companies should make this year, and tips to help you reach your goals.
- Don’t try to swim upstream: Make it your mission to create and implement a program that intersects with your company’s culture. If your corporation is made up of employees who do not work at desks and are in the field, give a common computer in the break room to act as a kiosk to accept data from hundreds of activity trackers at one central location. Identify trends, culture patterns, and communication channels that work for everything in your organization and apply lessons learned to your health programming.
- Think outside the box: Employers often think about wellness within the confines of a fitness center or gym, which is incredibly important. But for your non-movers in particular, many of them haven’t set foot in the gym and are too scared to take that risk, and to lower your healthcare costs in 2014, you simply must impact those individuals. For this year, make it a priority to engage those sedentary employees – simple tasks like walking and tracking calories eaten can make a huge impact. Reminding people about simple strategies they can adopt to make a life change is critical to the overall success of your program. Give them a reason to believe in themselves and your company with an innovative, thoughtful approach to their health.
- Walk the walk: Often, C level executives want employees to “do as I say, not as I do.” It’s imperative that instead of spending our time emailing, calling, and preaching to people what they should do that we as leaders walk the walk. You want employees to participate in walking challenges? Commit to your own step goal and get competitive! You want employees to use the on-site cafeteria for healthy eating needs?
If you’ve identified your goals for the year and set a plan to achieve them as a company, here are some tips to make sure they succeed:
- Post it: After two years, almost 81% of resolutions have failed. One proven way to improve your chances of succeeding whether you’re a large corporation or an individual employee is to write your goal down and post it publicly. Social media can be a great tool for this—use Twitter, Facebook, your blog, and your company’s internal communications outlet to energize people around the goal—doing so will keep you and your entire team accountable to it.
- Celebrate: Celebration is often left off the map in a wellness setting—we toast people’s birthdays and anniversaries (and rightly so!) but don’t take enough time to celebrate health. If your company set a goal of getting 80% of employees to complete HRA’s and you hit it, organize a healthy snack break to celebrate your team’s success. Health should be fun and engaging, not something that feels like a chore, and celebration is a critical component of that mission.
- Set reminders: Nobody likes to have a finger wagged at them, so instead of saying “hey guys don’t forget about this goal we set”, find other ways to remind folks to re-engage in the company’s health mission. Set monthly themes to cue people to re-focus their efforts, and identify stress traps such as three months into resolution time in March and the holidays, as scheduled time to revisit and energize employees in a meaningful way.
- Don’t skip recovery: Often times, in the race to save money on healthcare costs or create a cutting edge opportunity, corporations overlook recovery as a critical component of employee health. Two things happen when this occurs: first, employees look at the fitness initiative as just another item to add to their plate, which is overwhelming, and two, no matter how many great programs you implement, if you don’t have well-rested employees you’re never going to have an optimal work environment. Whether you’re giving the winner of your newest challenge a gift certificate for a free massage, or teaching employees proven sleep techniques to get better rest at night, don’t overlook recovery when it comes to your own health and the well-being of your company.
So in the spirit of starting the year off right, let us say this—we believe resolutions do and can work, and that every company should consider setting wellness goals for next year—doing so will help reduce healthcare costs and develop the positive momentum required to transform the culture in your workplace.