Summer is the perfect time of year to kick off a wellness initiative.

Employees are itching to get out and move around, and they’re also probably looking to embrace something other than their core responsibilities as they look out the window and think about the nice weather.

Wellness initiatives are like any other company initiative; they must be set up and maintained properly in order to succeed. That means no quick fixes: no Biggest Loser contests and no cash giveaways for kicking bad habits. Instead, a summer wellness initiative should be focused on feeding into a culture of healthy living that lasts all year round.

Below are a few ways your company can get on a healthy kick this summer, and ride that wave all the way until next spring.

Ask for Input

A wellness initiative cannot be imposed on employees; they must decide that they want to participate. A very effective way to maximize engagement is to have employees take ownership of the program, recognize how they benefit from it and provide significant input into its setup and operation.

The typical way to achieve this buy-in is through surveys or focus groups that establish which facets of health and wellness are important to staff members.

A different buy-in technique is to establish a wellness committee. These groups of staff members can be given a budget to think of initiatives backed by their co-workers and the company.

Leadership Supporting a Healthy Environment

An effective wellness initiative needs a commitment from company leaders, and its prolonged success is dependent upon ongoing support at all tiers of the organization. Specifically, leaders must build a wellness work culture by integrating health into the organization’s overall vision and purpose.

Leadership should also back company policies that support healthy living. These policies might include flexible work schedules to enable a healthy work-life balance, delivering social support for healthy habits and setting up a healthy physical environment with things like healthy food options, walking trails and/or stand-up workstations to reduce sitting.

Strategic Incentives

Incentives are a natural part of any wellness effort, but lifelong unhealthy habits aren’t going to change just because somebody won a Biggest Loser jackpot.

Instead, incentives should be designed to instill new habits that become sufficiently rewarding and worth maintaining on their own. For instance, some companies have found that regular competitions and incentives can spark camaraderie and social cohesion around the idea of being healthy.

Measuring Effectiveness

Program analysis is very important for sustaining accountability for a wellness program. Develop an assessment plan at the outset of a program so that useful baseline data can be collected and tracked over time. Performance metrics should focus on ‘value for investment’ items that give employers the chance to see the broader impact of the wellness initiative. These metrics might include employee morale, ability to attract high-quality talent and employee retention.

At Cornerstone, we support our client companies in all their initiatives. Please contact us to learn how we can be an effective talent acquisition partner for your organization.



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