As wellness expands, companies need to get creative
- Employee wellness programs, whatever their effectiveness, are on the rise. Research from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and Fidelity, for example, found that within the next 3-5 years, 84% of employers say they will continue or expand their employee wellness programs.
- Along with program expansion, the same report notes that employers are adopting a wider, more holistic definition of employee health, including physical, social, emotional, financial and environmental components.
- Ann Wyatt, vice president, account management, at HealthFitness, writes at the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism site that employers need a "multi-pronged, easily adaptable mindset to foster sustainable, healthy actions within the workforce." It's all about engagement, she writes, and then offers 15 "first steps" employers can use to kickstart that objective.
Wyatt mentions one financial services employer who used a "bingo-style program" to jumpstart well-being participation. Using a six-week program, the process put completed tasks on bingo cards designed to help boost goals such as limiting screen time, taking stretch breaks and walking more.
Another example: One large insurance company, adopted a flash mob-style dance to groups of 30 or so employees. They practiced behind the scenes then surprised co-workers with their flash mob performance at company headquarters. Even the CEO got into it, Wyatt writes. It's one way to get people engaged.
Wyatt also described efforts involving cycling, gardening, hiking, meditating and doing at-desk workouts. Thoughtful, strategic efforts inside a health management program can impact employees and how they live, but employers and employees need to collaborate in getting it all rolling, Wyatt writes.