Boost Employee Morale, Health and Wellness in the New Year

By Stephanie San Antonio, SSA Insurance Services

At the start of the New Year employees are looking to get back on track with their health and fitness goals.  But it’s companies, not just employees, that should be setting wellness goals for 2019.

Workplace wellness programs are on the rise and nowadays workers are looking for a company with an attractive corporate culture, not just a competitive salary.  While many companies offer their employees group health insurance, a wellness program is now also becoming an important component of a benefit package… and that’s because people want to work for companies with an exciting company culture that keeps their employees happy to come to work every day.

Maintaining a healthy and happy workforce via a corporate wellness program has lots of rewards including higher employee productivity and performance, fewer sick days, less worker’s comp claims, less turnover, and higher employee retention.

There is no better time for employers to start a wellness program and transform their company culture in 2019 for the better…and it can be very low cost and easy to implement!

Here are 5 tips on how to make your corporate wellness program a success:

  1. Keep it simple. Wellness programs are most successful when they are easy to follow.  If you make your program convenient and easy to understand, more people will get on board.  Start by picking two healthy habits to focus on (30 minutes of physical activity per day and bringing a healthy lunch to work) or one monthly wellness challenge (daily push-up or plank challenge), and if that seems to catch on, think about adding an additional way to earn points the next month (keep hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day).
  2.  Appoint a wellness leader or form a wellness committee. In order to ensure long-term success, you may consider forming a wellness team.  Find those individuals with the leadership skills and charisma to rally your troops and get them excited to kick off the New Year with your new wellness mission.  Employees want to have input, and by giving them this opportunity to create new ideas and reward their coworkers each month, they’ll feel like an important part of the team.  The Wellness Committee can “vote” for a new wellness leader every quarter to keep new ideas flowing.
  3. Be creative.  Logging into a fitness app everyday to record steps or count calories can be boring.  In order to get people to participate month to month you’ll need to think outside the box!  It’s also important that your program evolves over time and challenges employees in different ways: Summer months can have more of a physical fitness focus (take the stairs instead of the elevator or jump rope on your lunch break for 3 minutes), and Fall months can have more of a mindfulness focus (start your morning with a 5 minute meditation or set an intention for the day).
  4. Encourage team building and comradery. Start a healthy potluck lunch or a book club once a month to bring people together and help strengthen relationships among coworkers.  You can also start a team for your employees to walk, jog or run in a 5k race.  Opportunities like this give your staff a time to get together outside of the office where they aren’t talking about work and instead building stronger relationships with one another on a personal level.
  5. Incentivize employees with the right rewards. To keep people interested in the program, you’ll want to tune in to what it is your employees really want and give everyone an equal opportunity to earn it.  The employee who earns the most points can receive a gift card for a massage, classes at a local yoga studio, farmers market CSA basket full of healthy produce, or company swag.  Or, to give everyone who tried a fair chance at winning a prize, all of the people who met the minimum number of points can be entered into a raffle where one winner is chosen.  While a gift card at the end of the month may be enough for some people, you also may find that employees really want the recognition as well, in the form of a certificate or an award.  Try new things in the first few months and see what rewards your employees respond well to.

By promoting the well-being of your staff in 2019 and creating a work environment where your employees can thrive, you are positioning your business for success.  If your New Years Resolution is to keep your employees engaged and motivated year-round to participate in healthy habits and perform like a team, you’ll definitely see a positive impact on your company culture and productivity.  Look at your corporate wellness program as a tool and a long-term strategy to maintain a healthy workforce that is happy and motivated to fulfill your company’s mission.

Article provided by Stephanie San Antonio, President & Benefits Specialist for SSA Insurance Services.
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