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April 06, 2016 | Leave a Comment
Despite an employer’s best efforts and intentions to offer a wellness program, employees often times have different perceptions about the employer’s role in their personal health and well-being. Where does an employer begin to overcome resistance they may face?
- Find out what your employees value. Health is a personal issue and by offering a program that fits the needs and preferences of your employees will likely help drive participation and engagement. Health interest surveys are easy to administer and a good place to start.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate… and then communicate some more! It’s important to introduce a program or initiative using a variety of different communication strategies and styles. We all learn and process information differently. Use a variety of communication strategies and communicate often in order to help drive participation and facilitate learning.
- Build Trust. Work towards building trust with your employees to overcome some of the obstacles of the program. This will help to connect with employees on a more personal level. This not only will help drive participation, but will assist in developing a cultural environment where employees are motivated to embrace the program and healthy habits.
- Focus on Positivity. You want employees to perceive the wellness program as something you are doing for and with them, not something you are doing to them. The carrot approach, where employees see the good intentions of a program will help increase participation and strengthen the overall culture of the organization.
- Target your wellness champions. Employees who already embrace health and wellness can help in cultivating the culture of wellness by creating a positive social atmosphere for the program. Utilize these people to help plan and promote the program to increase employee interest in the wellness program.
- Get Senior Level Management on board. Organization leaders need to model the behaviors they want to see from employees. Research shows that leaders who are on board with the health and wellness program are the most important factor in motivating employees. Without management on board, it will be difficult to build the trust in the program and will enforce any negative beliefs from resistant employees. Management drives the culture of the organization and without management on board, even the best programs will have a small chance of success.
While many of the challenges we face within an organization may be similar as it pertains to building a healthy workforces, there is no one size fits all approach to a worksite wellness program. The roadmap to achieving a healthy workforce doesn’t happen overnight, it requires time, planning, evaluation and support from everyone within the organization.