How to develop a credible workplace wellness program that creates real change and attracts support.
Sometimes workplace wellness can seem awfully complicated. There are just so many health issues in your workplace you need to address, so many services your employees need. There’s the stressed employees, the overweight ones, the inactive ones, the smokers, the burn-the-candle-at-both-enders. So many reasons why productivity is down.
Too often we see organisations overstretching themselves. Clients come to us after unsuccessfully trying to do it all – they’ve tried to address every health issue on a limited budget, and as a result, they haven’t achieve any measureable changes in any area. It all gets watered down. Instead, we recommend you focus on one health issue at a time. Choose one thing and do it well.
Follow a simple formula of Measure, Do, Measure again.
This way, you build credibility for your program, giving you much needed leadership and employee support. You get solid, measurable runs on the board, which you can use to request more funds for the next step.
How to do it
1. Choose an issue or problem.
Base this choice on your initial assessment – this could be from a Personal Health Assessment, or an onsite employee screening. At a pinch, you could base it on employee or management requests, although for obvious reasons this is far from ideal as opinion may be different to reality.
Choose just one problem. It won’t be everyone’s problem, it mightn’t have an instant impact on bottom line. But make it a tangible problem that people can understand, like sleep, for example, or daily exercise.
2. Measure the problem
Conduct a specific assessment of the problem. You could do this through a survey or questionnaire, but ideally you’d use onsite checks, where employees get private face-to-face time with a qualified professional. That way you can make sure you identify high risk employees (with confidentiality assured). If your issue is sleep for example, you could organise Sleep Consultations, or send out a survey for employees to fill in about their sleep.
A great first step for overall health is a Heart Check – this includes all the most vital stats such as blood pressure, BMI, waist measurement and cholesterol, plus lifestyle factors such as alcohol, smoking, exercise and stress.
3. Do your action
Implement the activities to target the problem.
The sky’s the limit here, or rather, your budget’s the limit. Choose a range of initiatives, as different employees will be motivated by different things. Some will appreciate a booklet with written how-to info, while others dislike reading and will prefer a video or webinar. Try to include some face-to-face interactions – these are more expensive, but are far more effective. Also aim to include at least one active component, where employees are encouraged to change their habits, such as a challenge or campaign.
Run your activities over several weeks – we recommend two to six weeks, again depending on budget and availability of your employees. The more you put in at this stage, the more you’ll get out of it. Create some social interaction, some gamification with points and rewards, perhaps a little bit of fun interdepartmental competition.
If you’re really strapped for funds, you might consider just focusing the activities on your high risk employees, as identified in step 2. Certainly, you’d need to manage this with discretion, but by giving your high risk employees targeted, professional help through face-to-face coaching or weekly consults, for example, you’ll see major change where it really counts.
4. Measure again.
Run the same measurement as in step 2, and compare the results.
This gives you a clear assessment of your success and return on investment (ROI). From here, talk up your results. Really use them and shout them from the rooftops. Tell management, tell employees. Congratulate them — put up posters congratulating employees on their improvements.
Use this ammunition to gather support for the next issue, creating a continuous cycle of improvement.
What are the benefits?
- Allows you to demonstrate real improvements.
- You can visually show concrete changes as a result of your program.
- Gives you runs on the board to help you build leadership trust and support for your program.
- Creates positive momentum, among both leadership and employees. Gets everyone excited for the next initiative.
If you’d like help with developing your next Measure > Do > Measure mini-plan, give us a call. We can plan, implement and manage your program for you. Call 1300 90 10 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org