When it comes to providing health and wellness programs for their employees, many companies are asking ‘why’, when they should be asking ‘why not?’ Research shows that wellness programs increase employee productivity while reducing absenteeism and healthcare costs. But for employees, it’s not about the money.
For Jennifer Little, a program manager at EXOS, it’s simple – people want help with improving their health.
Here are five things successful health and wellness programs facilitated by EXOS are doing to support their employees and create a positive, more engaged workforce.
1. Mixing it up in meetings
Let’s face it, meetings can be boring. Jennifer’s team works to break up the monotony with meeting energizers: five-minute sessions of targeted activity such as yoga poses, banded bicep curls, or squats.
She’ll even create customized sessions, tailored to the industry or time of year. “For example, tax season is a stressful time for employees at financial services companies. During this time of year, our team works with department managers to bring stress-reduction tactics and breathing rhythms to their staff meetings,” Jennifer explains.
2. Bragging a little
Jennifer believes it’s a great way to help people celebrate achieving healthy milestones and connect with other employees who have common interests.
3. Thinking outside the box
Sometimes finding ways to engage employees is hard. That’s why Jennifer challenges her staff to think outside the box. Her favorite example: The staff organized a Halloween flash mob with more than 20 employees in costume. “The feeling of excitement was almost tangible,” she says. “The employees loved it, but more importantly, so did leadership.” Unique events like these allow employees to let loose and leaders to witness firsthand the impact of improved morale.
4. Making it easy to engage
In workplaces where productivity is king, convenience is an important factor. Simra Tines, another program manager at EXOS, brings blood pressure readings, stretch breaks, and table events with educational content into the workspace.
5. Leading by example
“Leadership sets the tone,” says Simra. “It’s the leaders’ job to enable wellness program managers to create a culture that values – and may even incentivize – healthy behaviors.”
When managers not only support, but become actively engaged in the programming it shows employees that while productivity is the primary focus, their employees’ health and happiness is a close second.
An effective wellness program will maximize engagement by finding new ways to appeal to the unique workforce at each site. It takes time, but with the right mix of leadership engagement and employee buy-in, many programs make a lasting impact.