Four factors for behaviour change: best practice in workplace health & wellness August 31st, 2012, by Ken Buckley

How can you inspire your employees from not-thinking through to making a change, to help them become healthier, more engaged and even more productive?

Healthworks’ approach to corporate health and wellness is based on a simple four step model for behaviour change.

These four critical factors were identified by the founders of WellSteps, Dr. Steven Aldana and Dr. Troy Adams, experts in corporate wellness with more than five decades of combined experience in research and practice on workplace health.

Four critical factors for behaviour change

Each of these factors can and should be present at the same time – they each strengthen each other. The most successful health & wellness programs offer a variety of options to reach employees at each stage of change, and at each step of the way. So, what do you need to do at each step? Here are some best practice suggestions:

Awareness and education

It’s said people need to read or hear something seven times before they take notice. Your employees need consistent, relevant and, most importantly, engaging information about two things:

  • The risks of bad health habits
  • What they can do to change.

This can be achieved through provision of easy-to-read and engaging newsletters, booklets, posters, seminars, webinars, health expos and videos.

Motivation

Even with all the information in the world, if your employees are not motivated to change, nothing will change.

There are two types of motivation – intrinsic motivation, our own beliefs and values and desires and fears which drive us, and extrinsic motivation such as prizes or incentives. The best motivation of all is a person’s own desire to change. And the best way to tap into this is by talking about the benefits of taking part in your health & wellness program.

Talk about how great they’ll feel, how much better they’ll sleep, how much more energy they’ll have for the things they love. Once they’re sold on the benefits, you can boost their enthusiasm even further by providing incentives and rewards.

To be effective, incentives and rewards should be integrated throughout the program, and should be super-easy for participants to see and track.

Healthworks’ new WellSteps system has an in-built Rewards tool. It’s based on a points system, and participants receive more points for each action they take, be it to attend a seminar, walk 10,000 steps or even add more vegies to their diet.

Contact us to find out more about Healthworks’ Rewards.

Tools and skills

This is where your programs, campaigns and challenges come in.  Now that your employees are informed and ready to change, you need to help them make that change.

Team challenges such as our Move It, or Fitness Challenge or Outback Walkabout can be great ways to show employees how to increase their physical activity, and show them they can get fit and stay fit.

Other campaigns such as Chews to Change or Lose4Life teach participants how to make simple but effective changes to their diet. One of the most important skills is in stress management.

Programs such as Balance Up or Stress Free can give your employees the tools they need to better manage their stress, both at home and at work.

Policy and environment

Yes, we encourage you to make changes to policies such as flexible work arrangements and no-smoking zones. But it goes even deeper than that.

For truly sustainable and effective change, it’s important to look at your employees’ whole environment, both at work and at home.

What foods are available to your employees in your vending machines, or office kitchens? Do you provide free biscuits – or free fruit? Are there showers available for employees who workout at lunchtime? Likewise, what foods are being cooked and served at home?

The most effective programs include your employees’ significant others, through including them in a health risk assessment, or even in the campaigns and challenges, or providing engaging newsletters they can take home and share.

Healthworks’ new WellSteps system provides best practice solutions for each of these steps. Find out more by contacting us via our website, or call us on 1300 90 10 90.

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