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Well-being has entered mainstream corporate thinking, but few companies know how to implement a wellness program effectively. This is no surprise, given that workplace wellness is a young field and few leaders have relevant training or experience. Each company has its unique culture, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all wellness solution. There are, however, specific shared characteristics amongst companies doing it well. Here are five common denominators for successful wellness programs.
#1 There is a genuine desire to be well.
This seems obvious, but an organization’s leadership must have a genuine desire to be well. Corporate wellness is still a new concept and not bought in by everyone. Some leaders hear it’s important and want to check a box but are not truly invested. The well-being of an organization is like electricity; it’s easy to take for granted. We don’t appreciate our health until the power goes out. The most successful wellness programs are run by people who genuinely desire to be well, which requires buy-in from leadership.
#2 there are many different pathways for wellness.
Each company is unique and requires a tailored program. Some organizations prefer fitness classes or health and wellness workshops, while others want therapy or flexible working hours. Solutions are not hard to implement but require thoughtful assessment. Before committing to a wellness program, each organization should identify its needs. Wellness providers can work with you to create the right fit or suggest other vendors that fit your priorities.
#3 Successful wellness programs have a strategy.
From communication to execution, there should be a method in place. One of the most significant choke points with clients is communication. The point of contact will send one general announcement and never mention the program again. A communication strategy with mindful messages will lead to greater participation and more significant outcomes. A well-being strategy should be tailored to meet your company’s health and wellness goals. Find a vendor who can address your company’s choke points and create a strategy for success.
#4 Commitment to Transformation.
A desire to be well is integral but does not suffice. For wellness to be effective, companies must move beyond awareness and take action. After George Floyd’s death, many companies posted Black Lives Matter on their LinkedIn pages, websites, and windows. They were “bringing awareness” to the BLM movement, but few changed their hiring or operational practices to support the black community in a tangible way. Similarly, many companies offer a wellness workshop or a yoga class once a year and think they’ve addressed employee health. Successful well-being initiatives require time, effort, and action–a genuine commitment to transformation.
#5 Consistency and Flexibility.
The two pillars of wellness are continuous effort and a willingness to change. For example, starting a habit, like eating a salad or going for a walk, is easy. It’s harder to do them consistently. The same philosophy applies to the success of a well-being program. Implementing a new idea, like Wellness Wednesday, is easy. Promoting a program continuously and making adjustments to improve offerings takes commitment. Find a vendor who provides ongoing support and adjusts their offerings to meet evolving needs and priorities.
If there were a one-size-fits-all solution to well-being, every company would embrace it. Although wellness approaches differ, the common denominators remain the same. The engine of employee health runs on a genuine desire to be well and leverages different pathways and strategies to guide success. Consistency, flexibility, and a commitment to transformation provide the oil that keeps the programs running smoothly. Find a good mechanic to jumpstart your well-being program. 😉