Wellness doesn’t have to be a stand-alone component of your benefits package. We believe that wellness is most effective when it’s woven into the very fabric of an organization, when it becomes a part of a company’s seemingly-unrelated goals and initiatives.
Take, for example, employee engagement. In its article 6 Simple but Highly Effective Ways to Boost Employee Engagement, the Huffington Post outlines a few great steps that employers can take to help employees stay motivated and committed. These include:
- Create a Positive Work Environment
- Make Work Matter
- Give Employees Opportunity to Grow
- Eliminate Stress
- Invest in Education
- Show Appreciation
While none of these steps specifically mention wellness, all provide opportunities to focus on well-being.
Not sure what we mean? Let’s break it down. Here are Huffington’s six suggestions, with our tips for weaving wellness into each of them.
1. Create a Positive Work Environment. The Wellness Weave: Make that work environment more positive by making it a wellness-focused environment. Add to happy hours regular group walks or runs (after work, perhaps?) and afternoon stretching sessions. Provide nutritious snacks, host healthy potlucks, encourage active breaks, and hold walking meetings when discussing tough topics – the fresh air and movement will do wonders for tension.
2. Make Work Matter. The Wellness Weave: Make sure employees know THEY matter. Show that both their work AND their health and happiness are essential to the company’s success. Support their efforts to lead a balanced lifestyle with flexible scheduling to allow for fitness, volunteering, family events or after-work engagements. Offer health perks, like wellness discounts or rewards, and make sure employees take their vacation. Show them you know they are more than their job title, and they’ll show you how good at their job they can be.
3. Give Employees Opportunities to Grow. The Wellness Weave: Give employees opportunities to grow healthier. When talking to employees about their career goals, find out what their personal wellness goals are, too, and talk about how the company can provide support. You may even find that many employees have the same goals (for example, weight loss or stress management), which may make it easier to choose wellness initiatives that speak to your team.
4. Eliminate Stress. The Wellness Weave: Make that stress-elimination wellness-focused. Can you add a ping pong , Foosball or pool table in an unused room? Cornhole or horseshoes on the lawn? An on-site yoga or meditation class? Give employees outlets for stress (ideally, active or creative ones) and a space in which they can give themselves a mental break.
5. Invest in Education. The Wellness Weave: Invest in wellness education. Many of us make unhealthy choices without realizing it, or don’t understand the healing power of proper nutrition, or don’t know the negative effects of sitting all day.
Education is the impetus for change. So whether it’s holding classes on-site, subsidizing employees’ enrollment in wellness-focused classes or seminars, sharing educational articles, implementing LifeBalance’s educational wellness challenges, or inviting health experts to speak to your team, prioritize wellness education just as you would continuing education.
6. Show Appreciation. The Wellness Weave: Show appreciation with wellness rewards, and show appreciation for wellness accomplishments!
If you’re going to reward your employees for a job well done, consider a reward that can be used on a wellness-focused activity or expense. How about a gift certificate to their yoga studio or gym, or for a massage, or to REI or Sports Authority? (LifeBalance Rewards, for example, will let employees redeem prizes at sporting goods stores, health clubs, yoga studios, spas and more.)
And praise wellness accomplishments! Openly congratulate employees who, say, complete their first 5K or climb a mountain. Share pictures of their hikes or kayak trips or race finishes in your company newsletter. Give shout-outs to those who take regular lunch break walks together or meet up for Zumba each week. Show them you respect and value their dedication to their own well-being.
As you can see, employee engagement and well-being go together quite naturally! And it doesn’t have to stop there; when you weave elements of well-being into other employee programs and initiatives, you’ll create a wellness-focused culture that feels natural, genuine and rewarding.