Hands up if you like being treated like a faceless mass? If you like being told what to do and how to do it? If you hate being treated as a unique individual?
Ironically enough, you’re not unique in that. It seems we’re all craving a more personalised experience in our lives.
One of the most ubiquitous trends in business and society in 2017 is the move towards the personal. Making things as relevant and meaningful and individualised as possible.
You see it in ads from banks and insurance companies, saying they won’t treat you like a number; they care about you.
You see it in the way we use smartphones and TV. We all have one, but everyone’s is customised differently, drawing from millions of apps and thousands of possible channels. Compare this to 30 years ago, when a phone was a phone, and we all watched the same three channels on TV (or four if you were lucky).
It’s not hard to understand why. As our world becomes more automated and populous, as small brands are bought out by big corporations, we crave the return to a time when everyone in the village knew our name.
So it makes sense that the most successful corporate wellness programs are also using a personalised approach to gain more participation, engagement and results.
A recent report by Welltok and National Business Group on Health concluded that more personalisation is needed to make health and well-being programs succeed. They surveyed more than 1,000 full-time employees in large companies about their corporate wellness program. While 81% were already involved, 37% of those who weren’t participating said it was because they didn’t find the program personally relevant.
So how do you personalise your employee wellness program, on a budget and with limited time?
In three ways: customisation, personalised service, personal data.
A customised wellness program allows employees to “choose their own adventure”. They can base their wellness efforts on issues important to them, be it fitness, stress management, weight loss and so on.
It also allows them to choose options that suit their current needs. So the marathon runners aren’t told “a 30 minute walk at lunchtime can do wonders”, and vice versa: those just starting their health program aren’t being presented with complex high intensity activities.
Until recently, this level of customisation was quite expensive.
Businesses had to try to offer a range of initiatives throughout the year to suit everyone, in the hope that one thing might interest an employee eventually.
Or employers would try to mandate participation, and find engagement plummeted.
But now with digital platforms, employers can provide indepth and expert programs that are available 24/7, all year long.
Employees can dip in and out, according to their changing needs. They can choose what they want to read about, focus on, and do. And if you have a gamified platform like Activate, employees get rewarded for the activities they choose to do.
With a customised approach, you can still be strategic and gear it to achieve your corporate goals. For example, you can have stress management as your goal, and offer employees lots of different ways to achieve it. Does it matter if they do it through meditation, or time management, or exercise or a mix of everything, as long as they end up feeling more resilient?
While online customisation is a cost effective option, nothing beats one-on-one personalised consultations. Profound changes happen when employees receive personal attention from a health expert.
One of the best ways to do this is through onsite consultations. Qualified health professionals come into your workplace for a day, or a few days, to talk to each employee. They conduct a comprehensive health assessment, listen to the employee about their goals, challenges and barriers to change, and then provide personalised, feasible advice.
You can do this as a comprehensive health check, such as our Heart Health check (see this downloadable PDF for inclusions), or specific issues such as ergonomics, hearing & vision, or nutrition.
Data collection has become synonymous with big data, and the fears around faceless corporations using our data against us.
However, when used correctly, data can be personal and motivational. It can be a force for good. Plus, it’s now easier for a smaller company to collect and analyse data in a meaningful way.
Data can help you personalise your program in two ways:
A. It helps employees track their own progress.
Fitbits and other wearables have become hugely popular, because users get instant and continuous data on how well they’re doing, or what they need to do to reach their goals. They get rewards for doing it in the form of points, levels and charts. Digital wellness platforms such as Activate allow you to harness this momentum. Activate integrates with wearables, so employees can use their steps and activities to earn more points and get more rewards.
In addition, during team challenges, this data allows teams to compete with each other, with points shown on a leaderboard, so team members can see how their team is doing, and who’s in the lead.
B. It helps you identify what you should focus on
Data can uncover previously unknown issues in your workplace.
By assessing your employees’ current health needs, either through online or onsite assessments, you can figure out where to allocate your limited resources.
These data-driven assessments can reveal issues that employees weren’t willing to speak up about, or were not yet motivated to change.
For example, you might find employees in one office location are far more stressed than the rest of your teams; or discover that lack of sleep is a big problem across many of your employees.
This data allows you to customise your program further for your employees.
Trends indicate that a personalised approach is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.
The new recruits entering the workforce have been brought up on self-directed learning. Even at school, they’ve been able to choose what they learn about and how. In their personal lives, the unbelievable amount of choice and information has conditioned them to want to choose and customise their lives, from the type of yoghurt they eat, to which shows they watch and when, to how they parent their children.
A top-down approach to wellness will be seen as patriarchal and interference. A programmatic approach, such as “this year we focus on ergonomics” will be ignored, as employees follow their own interests.
Personalisation is a vital part of an engaging and effective corporate wellness program.
For help on customising and personalising your health program, call us or email us to set up a free consultation. Healthworks is a leader in high tech and high touch programs, and has more than 30 years experience in helping businesses improve employee wellness and productivity. Call 1300 90 10 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.