Investing in your employees’ wellbeing is a key aspect of an empathetic workplace. When organizations can show their genuine commitment to employees’ total health and wellness, it boosts engagement, morale, and retention rates. In fact, according to our State of Workplace Empathy, a staggering 80% of employees said they felt confident they could find a new, more empathetic employer if their current one falls short.
However, having a wellness program alone isn’t enough. To truly make an impact, these programs must be comprehensive, engaging, and thoughtful. As the year winds down, this is the perfect time to reflect on what worked well in your wellness program this year and start adjusting and planning for next year.
Here are some of my tried-and-true tips for building a diverse and engaging employee wellness program that spans the entire year and goes beyond weight loss and yearly physicals.
There is a strong business case for investing in an engaging employee wellness program. Employee job satisfaction increases, which leads to productivity increases, which leads to less absenteeism, and ultimately, a happier, healthier workforce. And, more importantly, a well-constructed wellness program shows that your organization truly cares about their entire wellbeing—physical, mental, financial, and beyond.
Of course, physical health is important. But understanding how all these things are interwoven together is what makes a wellness program impactful. Think about it—employees can’t be engaged at work if they’re stressed, and they can’t eat healthy if they’re on a “ramen-noodle-every-night” budget. And since they’re anxious about their mental health, diet, and their finances, they’re probably not going to get a good night’s sleep, and they’ll be less productive at work, which causes more stress. It’s a vicious cycle. Employers should help to encourage healthy habits in all those areas of wellbeing. Not just the bare minimum.
Here’s what that looks like:
At Businessolver, we named our wellness program “DASH for Life.” “DASH” stands for diet, activity, sleep, and hydration. Throughout the year, we offer several ways to engage Solvers to set goals related to those four tenets of physical health, and an incentive if they achieve those goals. We have monthly challenges, team-based activities, friendly competitions, events—you name it, there’s something for every Solver, and the end result typically ties back to a monetary incentive, whether for the employee or a non-profit charitable organization.
These activities are not just a “set it and forget it.” Throughout the challenges and events, we regularly check in for encouragement, advice, tips, or a short message to say “win today!” It’s essential to have regular follow-ups, regular encouragement, and regular communication.
We create daily opportunities for Solvers to get involved, get active, or learn more about their health. The events not only encourage them to get engaged, but also provide an opportunity to make connections across the company—to other Solvers they may not interact with on a regular basis. That level of engagement builds relationships, a solid company culture, in addition to a healthier lifestyle.
The impact is not felt solely in our Businessolver community. One of the most rewarding things about my role as Health and Wellness Administrator is when I see our Solvers not only succeed themselves but influence their family and friends to take this healthy lifestyle journey with them. Making a real difference in the lives of our Solvers, inside and outside the company, fills my cup.
In any organization, employees need to know that they are cared for. The programming that the employer provides must address every need, in a format everyone can participate in, and in a variety of activities, so there is truly something for everyone.
Out of all the initiatives, events, and activities Businessolver offers, they would not mean as much without one thing, and that is empathy. We meet our Solvers where they want to be met. We Pulse our Solvers with a monthly engagement survey, and one of the highest ratings is consistently “I have a sense of belonging” and “I have a strong connection to our culture” with over 87% reporting always or often. Our Solvers feel like they can show up as their authentic selves. And that is what wellness is about.