Enhance employee well-being and encourage their path to better health.
Chronic diseases—heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, obesity—remain the leading causes of disability in the U.S. In 2005, about half of all adults had at least one chronic illness. The question is no longer whether to address employees’ health in the workplace; it’s now about how best to do so. You’ve hired a consultant. You’ve put together a rock-solid wellness program that left your boss grinning. Yet, once you hand it off to your employees, you find yourself tapping your fingers on your desk and stifling a yawn. How do you best transform the health screening data into a stellar wellness plan? Moreover, how do you inspire your employees to make good use of them, to nix illnesses that slash productivity and bleed profits? Here’s how:
- Create a Culture of Wellness. No one likes to be told what to do, so retract your pointer finger and forego those mandatory wellness meetings. Instead, develop policies that highlight your support, like on-site exercise or meditation classes, and healthy menu options that make plan follow-through more likely. Saturate the environment with healthy choices, by stocking the vending machine with nourishing items. Consider formatting a written wellness pledge between the company and the employee. Pepper the environment with quotes, biographies and testimonials from those who demonstrate good self-control. Research shows that self-control has a contagious effect.
- Get a Foot in the Door. We all resist change. It grates the familiar and requires effort to adapt. To boost buy-in, help employees uncover their personal reasons for growing health. Do they want to play ball with their grandkids? Look good for their class reunion? Replace that ancient monkey on their back with peace of mind? Help employees determine their position on the readiness-to-change spectrum. Pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination constitute the six stages of readiness for change. Meet your employees where they are and “nudge” but don’t “judge.” Lean in and support them, but don’t lean on them and demand actions. People have choices, and highlighting such often propels forward movement. Ask, don’t tell: “Are you willing to…?” If not, back it up to a task they’re willing to complete. Then develop a collaborative health plan to assist their progress. Prioritize goals based on their reasons for change, and break each task into smaller, manageable ones. Outline potential obstacles to success, and problem solve them up front.
- Reinforce. Tap into that child inside of all of us, and offer an incentive for progress and success. Rewards can be as simple as verbal praise or recognition, or as complex as monetary awards (or donations to charity) for those who meet their wellness goals. Research supports that making a game of tasks that involve self-discipline shifts attitudes and encourages success.
Most importantly, don’t stop short of your goal. Having unrealistic expectations and giving up early remain common obstacles to success. The BeneFIT Consultation Package and BeneFIT Toolkit contains all you need to get started and stay the course from start to finish. Build a culture of wellness. Improve employee health. Increase productivity. Contact Valley Preferred today at 610-969-0486 to learn more about how to enhance your employees’ well-being, and forge their path to health.
Stages of readiness for change. (n.d.).
University of Chicago Press Journals (2010, September 21). Could learning self-control be enjoyable?.ScienceDaily.
University of Georgia (2010, January 18). Self-control, and lack of self-control, is contagious. ScienceDaily.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (n.d.).Chronic disease prevention and health promotion http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm