4 Ways To Get Employees To Engage In Your Wellness Program

By Gary Wobb on January 31, 2013

If you have made a decision to invest in a wellness program for your company, you should be motivated both by the health of your employees and its improvement to your bottom line.  These goals are critical and reachable.  Both motivations will best be met by encouraging maximum participation from your employees.  You can significantly influence this outcome by taking the following four steps.


1. Get Input from Your Team

In the very beginning, before you decide your budget and objectives, find out who cares. Don’t announce the impending program, just start asking around – however that works best with the size of your organization.

You’ll likely find a few employees who are very interested in health.  Involve them in your early efforts.  First, get their input.  Then, task them with getting input from their co-workers.  Use the input to identify potential elements for your wellness plan.  Their leadership will be more effective because it is motivated by their own passion.

2. Evaluate Your Options

Once you have a list of potential elements, evaluate the implementation requirements in terms of cost, equipment, space and company production impact.  Some elements should not be considered because of cost and time needed.

For example, starting a lunch hour water polo team is impractical if the pool is 30 minutes away from the office.  However, stocking the lunch room fridge with veggies instead of Hot Pockets is an inexpensive, low impact change that is sustainable long term.  Depending on the size of your company, this evaluation may best be done by a team of interested employees.  If so, make sure you include appropriate management for the sake of future implementation.

Put together a list of viable options and invite your employees to give further input on the details.  If they see their input creating the outcome, they will feel a sense of ownership.  This will drive their participation.


3. Create the Wellness Culture

Wellness programs are more likely to be engaging when they are part of company culture.  Once you have passionate leadership, your ability to involve a majority will begin to increase exponentially.  Don’t worry about getting everyone involved right at the outset.  Let peer pressure have its effect.  This will protect you in two ways.  First, the kinks will get worked out by those with the most ownership.  They are the least likely to be deterred by the early imperfections of the program if they are involved in implementation.  Second, their excitement and awareness of even minor improvements in their health will be contagious.  As they have fun enjoying the new benefits, they will invite and challenge others to participate

As an additional incentive, offer visible rewards to employees who reach goals.  Weight loss contests, team fun runs and cholesterol scores are fodder for bragging rights around the office.  It won’t be long until participating in your wellness program is the norm rather than the exception.


4. Be Aware of Cycles

Everything runs in cycles.  It’s no different with your wellness program.  Do not be surprised or discouraged.  In the beginning, there will be excitement and lots of passionate participation by those you identify as leaders.  This will continue to build as ideas get traction and more people get involved.  This may continue on an upward pitch for weeks, months or more.  And then, it will happen.  There will be a dip, an unexpected hitch in the program that will need to be attended to.  It will require attention – so give it.

Respond to your middle by gathering the appropriate, committed leaders and assessing the underlying cause of your setback.  Treat this as a system issue rather than a people problem.  Generate a positive response that follows all the same principles from above.  Implement your response and remain determined.  It will pass and when it does, your new and improved wellness program will be the stronger for it.  Those who had ownership from the beginning will have even more.  Any who were affected by the hiccup will see that their concerns, feeling and comments were addressed.


Take Action

Remember, planning is important but nothing changes until you take action. So make sure to decide what you will do and when. By following these four simple steps you will ensure the health of your wellness program.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions on how to get employees to engage in your wellness program.

If you have any questions or comments please leave your reply below.

One Response to “4 Ways To Get Employees To Engage In Your Wellness Program”
  1. Boris says:

    I do consider all of the concepts you have presented to your post.

Leave a Reply to Boris