Leadership buy-in of corporate wellness programming can make a big difference in the success of your company’s wellness program. In fact, sincere interest in the well-being of your employees is considered a top driver of sustainable engagement.
At HealthFitness, we’ve found that one of the critical pillars for a successful employee health program is leadership engagement and support — visible support from a company’s executives that sets the tone for employees. Whether communicating that it’s acceptable to fit in a workout during the workday, take part in a weight loss challenge with co-workers or take advantage of healthy food options, here are ways leaders within an organization can help ensure a wellness program continues to thrive:
Understand the value of corporate wellness. Research shows that leadership buy-in of corporate wellness programming sets the tone for employees — communicating that it’s acceptable to make time for wellness. For example, executives at one of our health plan clients lead weekly walks with employees to support a walking program that encourages employees to walk up to 10,000 steps each day.
- Ensure health is part of your core business strategy. Express your company’s passion and direction for health and productivity in your mission, vision and goal statements.
- Share success with your employees. At one of our client sites, senior leaders communicate wellness program successes with employees and share how the company’s collective health is improving. Providing this reminds everyone that their health choices affect the company’s collective health and demonstrates a ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality.
- Tap additional leaders within your company for inspiration. Leaders can enlist their peers as health champions that represent all the divisions and work sites within the company.
- Demonstrate commitment to employee health. As a leader, it’s important to be front and center in communications about the wellness program. Use all the tools in the arsenal: video to employees, all-employee correspondence, group meetings, blogs. Then make sure you’re first in line for a biometric screening.
- Build the brand and broadcast the success. Create a brand strategy for health in your organization and broadcast promotions repeatedly; communicate results via newsletter, intranet, corporate social media and outlets that make sense for your population, keeping health front and center.
- Provide the resources for improved health. Offer health risk assessments and screenings so employees and family members know their current health status and can receive interventions for health improvement and condition management. Ensure all of your suppliers/partners and internal departments connected to health are at the table in planning and delivery.
- Improve health in your environment. Provide healthy vending and cafeteria options. Map out walking/running trails and ensure they are safe. Bring fitness equipment on-site for maximum employee access. Organize a monthly farmers market or a fruit and vegetable co-op at the work site.
- Offer integrated health and benefit-related incentives. Consider the requirements, size and delivery mechanism that make sense for your population to enhance participation and engagement. Include input from your workforce and stakeholders in the incentive strategy planning process. And keep it simple!
Ann Wyatt is vice president, account management at HealthFitness. She oversees a national account management team, provides leadership support and guides strategy development for new health management and corporate fitness programs, the transition of existing programs, employee recruiting and training, program quality assurance and operations management.
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