Tom's Take Blog
December 21, 2017
How can employers keep participation rates up after a workplace wellness program is implemented?
Tom’s Take: As workplace wellness programs have become more and more common, so has this question. That’s because many companies find it a challenge to keep these programs going strong after the newness and initial excitement start to fizzle. I heard some excellent tips on this topic at our latest Cypress University when listening to a presentation from author and speaker Andy Core.
One of the main points he shared is that employees are less likely to engage with workplace wellness initiatives when they are bombarded with too much information. Instead of just putting facts and figures out there for people to consume, focus on providing actual, daily direction and personalization. This means communicating specific ideas for incorporating healthy behaviors … sharing techniques that participants will find relevant to their lifestyles.
In addition, the information needs to be easily accessible and, perhaps more importantly, given to them in small “bites.” While you may have all of your program info on a web page or in one big packet you hand them, this cannot stand alone – most participants will simply be overwhelmed and not try to learn about the programs, etc. The “big packet” can be there as a reference, but program specifics need to be provided in small, easy-to-implement bits.
It’s also important to consider our own work populations and the many different roles employees have. Core gave a great example of a company with warehouse workers who are on their feet all day, averaging 19,000 steps on the job. He explained that a wellness effort that targets step counting outside of the workday wouldn’t be the best approach for this population as it’s something this group is already doing.
This led to another important point. A “canned” or generic wellness program won’t cut it. Employees will realize that these efforts aren’t targeted to their needs and they’ll quickly lose interest. Which may mean you need to tailor your programs differently to different groups of employees in your firm (e.g., those in the warehouse vs. those in tele-customer support).
In Cypress’s case, ever since launching our own wellness program, we knew it had to be something that would work for our whole workplace. That’s why we formed a wellness committee with team members who represent different areas of the company and continue to encourage ideas from their co-workers. It seems to be working for us as Cypress received a Gold Well Workplace Award, Corporate Wellness Award and placed as a top finisher in the Top 100 Active Companies challenge.
If your workplace wellness effort is losing steam, take a step back, re-evaluate and see how you can provide a more personalized experience for everyone involved.