Building a wellness program that fires on all cylinders can sometimes feel like waking up early on a Saturday. Sure, it may seem like a piece of cake in theory, but it’s way more difficult when the task is actually at hand.
In addition to ensuring that your program design aligns with your company objectives, you also need to think about ways to encourage engagement, decide on a set of metrics to measure the results of your efforts, and consider all the other variables that go into your program.
With so many decisions to be made during the planning stage, it may seem like you have all your bases covered by the time you finally launch your program; however, even the most well-planned programs can blow up in your face if you don’t keep a few additional details in mind.
With that said, here are some of the most common mistakes that we’ve seen over the years.
They Overlook the Importance of Culture
Some organizations believe that implementing a new wellness program is enough to completely transform their organization into a center of wellness. But what they often learn the hard way is that company culture plays a major role in shaping the success of your wellness initiatives.
Sure, the wellness program may be the centerpiece of your wellness initiatives, but you still need to make wellness a focal point within your company culture. That means creating space at your business for healthy options such as offering healthier food in the workplace cafeteria, and giving employees time to devote to well-being. It also means ensuring they have the resources needed to support themselves as they work to make wellness a lifestyle.
Their Lack of Faith is Disturbing
The success or failure of any wellness program depends in large part on how invested your executive team is in its success. After all, if your leadership team isn’t leading the charge toward wellness, why should anyone else get excited about it.
It’s equally important to make sure that your most engaged employees are encouraged and empowered to support and advocate for the program. If you haven’t already done so, perhaps it’s a good idea to incorporate some sort of wellness champion program in your organization to drive engagement and keep your team fired up.
Their Communication Efforts are Weak
You can have the most well-thought-out program ever created, but no one’s going to participate if they don’t know your program exists, or don’t see the value. While some employers feel that sending out an announcement email is enough to get everyone psyched, the best programs use every channel and method available to them, including postcards, posters, paycheck stuffers, SMS text, push notifications, and anything else they can think of, up to and including the kitchen sink.
Just as importantly, they tailor and target messages to their employees to not only spread the word about the program, but also to offer encouragement, advice, and information regarding deadlines and incentives.
They Don’t Give Employees a Reason to Care
What’s waiting for employees at the finish line when they complete all the program activities? I’m sorry, but a big slap on the back and some congratulations just won’t cut it for most people. Sure, excellent health is its own reward. But offering additional incentives to employees that participate in the program can nudge them to stay engaged and take the plunge toward better health.
Which incentives work best? There are many creative options to choose from—gift cards, perks, extra paid time off, premium discounts, etc.—but the most effective incentives are the ones that matter to your employees.
They Don’t Address Privacy Concerns
Privacy is a hot-button issue for many of us. Especially after hearing all the horror stories about what can happen when your private information is shared with the wrong people. It’s important to note that any program you implement should maintain confidentiality, and at the bare minimum, should comply with HIPAA regulations.
Your employees shouldn’t be subjected to giving up sensitive healthcare data so they can participate in the wellness program. Even if your program is compliant with these regulations, it’s important to address the elephant in the room, and alleviate any concerns that employees may have.
While implementing the perfect wellness program for your organization is definitely easier said than done, if you keep these points in mind, not even an evil genius team-up between Dr. Doom and Lex Luthor will be able to plot out the demise of your program.