By Haresh Awatramani
Many organisations today invest heavily in building robust employee wellness programmes in the hope that they will bring employees together in the long run. But what many organisations also struggle with is ways to make these wellness programs engaging so that more employees participate in these initiatives. Companies constantly struggle with low engagement levels and even more so, post the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Wellness 360 research report released earlier this year, one of the main goals of over 78% of companies in India was to find ways to increase the engagement of employees in their wellness initiatives. Increasing employee adoption of wellness initiatives is crucial to an organisation’s welfare as it directly affects the productivity of employees.
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Here are five key ingredients to making employee wellness programs more engaging:
1) Keep the scope of well bring, broad
Every employee’s preferences are different. Responding positively to employee demands in an inclusive manner will help raise engagement. Especially post-pandemic, employee preferences have evolved and so, it will help the organisation if this is kept in mind while designing and implementing wellness initiatives. While designing an employee wellness program, organisations must not only consider the physical well being of employees but also take into account their social, financial, and mental facets thereby making the program more holistic in its approach. This will create more meaning for employees to consider participating in it. Today, many digital wellness solutions offer holistic and inclusive initiatives and ideas. They also customize to employee type and even industry type to offer personalised programs.
2) Make it more accessible to all employees
Wellness programs should be easily and seamlessly accessible to all employees. It is crucial for organisations to ensure that employees can access wellness offerings through multiple channels. Curating the whole process, even the tiny intricacies of the employee engagement process itself will encourage more employees to participate. Really listening to the needs of the employees; creating closed and confidential groups for mental health and emotional well-being; offering digital solutions for accessibility as well as regular health check-ups; creating wellness committees that are interactive and supportive of employee needs are some of the touchpoints that can make wellness offerings more accessible and will go a long way in raising engagement.
One way of making wellness offerings more accessible to all employees and making them feel included is by conducting polls and surveys by way of which employees can share their experiences and provide feedback on the policies and changes. Various gamification methods like quizzes, attached with rewards points that employees can earn, can go a long way in building a relationship with them wherein, they feel wanted and listened to. Taking employee feedback seriously and rewarding them for said feedback encourages them to engage more actively in wellness offerings in the future.
3) Taking initiative with top management and leaders
Having managers and team leaders prioritize engaging in employee wellness programs set an example for everyone else to follow suit. It’s pertinent that leaders walk to the talk and actively adopt wellness offerings like health-checks ups or emotional well-being programs thereby encouraging the rest of the employees to take a leaf out of their actions. Leaders of the organisation must make wellness the central point of their agenda and this way, they can create a culture of engaging in and prioritising wellness offerings without any qualms or stigma attached to it. Leaders have the power to transform businesses and mindsets by taking the lead in bringing their entire organisation together in order to prioritize good physical, mental and financial health and wellness.
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4) Inculcating a celebratory culture-
This ingredient is extremely important – the one where the organisation creates a celebratory culture towards wellness. Employees will actively and voluntarily participate in wellness offerings not only because they need to but also because they love to. This shift in approach can happen once supporting wellness comes with an attitude of celebration. The HR department needs to find ways to celebrate growth and change. This can be done by capturing, talking about and highlighting stories of change in the organisation through wellness engagement. For example, holding conferences, road shows, and community-building activities can be fruitful in this endeavour. Another part of the celebratory culture is to facilitate and support team leaders to prioritize employee wellness initiatives.
5) Prioritize health and fitness
It’s a proven fact that physical fitness contributes to better mental health. Any kind of physical exercise produces serotonin in the brain which adds to a healthy emotional and mental mood. This frees employees of stress and anxiety related to work, career and overall life. Employees with lesser stress and a good emotional balance are more productive as well as happy at the workplace. This, in turn, influences their behaviour towards their colleagues, subordinates and superiors too. Conducting regular health and fitness check-ups and activities in an engaging manner makes employees see that the organisation prioritizes their health and therefore cares about them. Hence, employees become more productive in their day-to-day work and this essentially translates into long-term loyalty towards the company.
The author is CEO, Beehive. Views expressed are personal and not that of financialexpress.com