NOTE: The opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of Shortlister
Corporate wellness programs can sometimes get a bad rap among workers. Some employees may think the activities are just another “to-do” to add to their already-packed schedules, or they may not be fully comfortable with the idea of sweating alongside their coworkers.
That’s why we’ve researched and put into practice tried-and-true methods to encourage employee participation in wellness activities. These tips can help promote wellness programs as beneficial and positive perks in the workplace, rather than yet another task to add to their workday. Best of all, they’re easy to implement, so you don’t have to worry about adding extra work to your HR director or office manager’s plate. Read on to find out how to get your employees hyped up—not ho-hum—about your wellness offerings.
Gauge employees' interests
Create an initial survey (we like Typeform) to send to employees to figure out what kind of wellness programs would be best for your company. Using a series of personalized questions, this can determine exactly what kind of programming your workers want by gauging metrics such as how often they exercise, their dietary habits, preferred workouts, and what health topics they want to learn more about. That way, you’ll know you’re investing in programs are personalized for your employees’ interests, and in turn, they’ll be more likely to be excited about the offerings.
Don’t just tape up a poster for the first fitness class or send out an email about biometric screening the week before it happens. Create an open line of communication between your company’s employees and your wellness provider(s). Try hosting a meet-and-greet or similar kickoff event a few weeks before services begin, where your employees can meet health experts, ask questions, and learn about the overall goals of the wellness program.
You could even kick things off with a day-long health fair, full of free samples of healthy foods, workout classes, and chair massages, and more, which helps increase awareness and enthusiasm for corporate wellness programs.
Bring services on-site
Asking employees to go off-site for a workout class, massage service, or educational workshop leads to significant drops in attendance. Consider finding a wellness provider who brings everything you need to run programs at your office, and figures out all the logistics for delivery and storage for you. If you don’t have a lot of room on-site, you can look into nearby spaces, such as a park or gym, for fitness classes and other services.
Maybe after a couple weeks of high-intensity bootcamps, your employees burn out and want to try yoga instead. Or perhaps they want to create a run club, but when winter weather arrives, no one wants to jog in the freezing temps. That’s OK! Don’t be afraid to mix up programming, and if you’ve partnered with a third-party provider, be sure to ask if they’re able to change instructors and/or types of classes according to your employees’ needs and wants. After all, variety is the spice of life.
Encourage leadership to join in
When higher-ups at companies participate in corporate wellness programs and challenges, there’s a positive trickle-down effect, and everyone in the company is more likely to get involved. Your employees will return to their desks feeling energized and more connected to their colleagues. Trust us, there’s nothing that brings teams closer together than doing Downward Dogs (let alone burpees) with the boss.
Post on social media
Snap photos at workouts and other events and share on your company’s social media platforms and/or bulletin boards. This helps promote the activities as fun, inclusive events that help people get to know their coworkers (and get in better shape at the same time)! Bonus: Sharing the shots on social media is a great way show potential new hires a behind-the-scene glimpse of your culture, and signifies that your company truly cares about employees’ well-being.
A little friendly competition can go a long way. Hosting company-wide health challenges (like taking 10,000 steps or drinking eight glasses of water per day) can promote participation and also build camaraderie between teams. Consider offering rewards for the winning individuals or teams to further incentivize engagement.
No matter how motivating and fun workouts can be, not everyone has the desire (or time) to exercise at the office. And that’s OK. To make sure all employees have equal opportunity to engage, offer custom wellness content that employees can consume on their own time (and at their own pace). Some examples:
- Host in-person or virtual Q&A's with health experts
- Send out monthly newsletters with timely health tips and news
- Provide your employees with one-sheets (either tangible or virtual) with wellness info, such as seasonal recipes, at-home workouts, expert interviews, checklists, or calendars.
Looking for a wellness provider that fits your program goals?
Article By Sammy Courtright
Sammy Courtright is the co-founder and COO of Fitspot. Fitspot provides a fully managed wellness solution featuring fitness classes, stress relief programs, health screenings, workshops, and a technology suite that helps companies reap the benefits of a healthier, happier workforce.