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Workplace wellness in 2019: seven quick hacks to ensure maximum engagement

2nd Jan 2019
Director The Tonic
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Stack of seven pebbles at sunset
AndrewLilley/iStock
Stack of seven pebbles at sunset

As we embark on a new year, many HR practitioners will be reviewing and refreshing their company's wellness programmes. For those who are struggling to get started, here are seven useful hacks...

Look back on your wellbeing initiatives this year and think about what worked and what didn’t. You might notice that it’s the same faithful people who signed up for everything while others didn’t engage at all.

So how can you avoid the same thing happening in the future and ensure that your workplace wellness programme speaks to everyone?

Here are seven hacks to help you plan for 2019 and beyond.

1. Know your tribe

Often what looks like a great wellbeing idea doesn’t spark as much interest as you’d hoped. This can simply be a question of timing, communication or mood of the moment.

Before going live with any initiative, test the water with a brief survey to staff containing a maximum of 8-10 questions relating to the ideas you have in mind.

This approach has dual benefits. Firstly, staff will feel they’ve been consulted and the wellbeing programme becomes theirs rather than yours, meaning they’re more likely to participate in the initiatives that follow. Secondly, chances are that they’ll feed back with some ideas you hadn’t thought of, which you can now include in your future programme.

2. Curate your wellbeing offering

Your programme needs to include shiny new elements relating to current healthy living trends to engage those who love to get involved in the latest fads, as well as some elements that run consistently to cater for those who like and make use of what’s familiar and what they know and love.

Wellbeing advocates are key. Depending on the size of your organisation you need someone, or a group of individuals, to take responsibility for looking after the programme and communicating its evolution.

It might help to use imagery and language from wellbeing influencers on Instagram and other social media (particularly people who your staff already know and admire). This will ensure your initiatives feel current and relevant.

3. Add value

Many of your staff will have experienced highs and lows with their approach to healthy living in the past.

One of the greatest achievements of a workplace wellbeing programme is to not only help everyone make progress with their wellbeing more quickly, but to ensure that results are far more dramatic and also longer lasting than they would experience when flying solo.

Tailor your programme to ensure all staff have what they need to put together a bespoke toolkit for great health, energy, resilience and performance for now and for the future.

4. Build confidence within individuals and teams

Time-framed wellness initiatives such as individual or group challenges and coaching work really well.

When you can show people what they’re capable of and exactly what they can achieve when they spend a little time prioritising healthy living in a different way, you’re also helping them uncover techniques and success strategies they can use to fast track success in many other areas of their life.

Achieving never before seen results with health and happiness helps individuals grow in confidence and feel more capable and in control of their life. These people also become great champions for your wellbeing programme and can act as role models to others who aspire to achieve similar positive results.

If you’d like to read an example of how effective time framed initiatives can be, get in touch and we’ll send you a recent case study.

5. Be inclusive

Successful wellbeing programmes must include a broad range of solutions that are relevant to staff in all working conditions whether this be office workers, remote workers, those who travel a lot or those who carry out more manual roles.

Talk to everyone within your business and find out about their healthy living aspirations and barriers. Then design specific solutions for each audience and communicate these appropriately.

6. Go the extra mile

The definition of wellbeing is broad so your programme should include a wide range of initiatives. In the past, people worried that they might not be taking enough exercise. Then we all needed to think about what we ate. Now we must also consider how well our sleep routines support our health and happiness and how well balanced our lives are.

Are we as resilient as we could be or need to be, and are we as successful as we’d like to be – financially, professionally and within our family roles?

If you can get to the heart of what prevents your people living their best life and then help them with solutions, you’ll have an organisation full of happy, engaged and productive people.

Use regular surveys, focus groups and informal conversations to keep up to date with what staff feel would benefit them most.

7. Be creative

Think carefully about how you deliver wellbeing information. While some people thrive in workshops and presentations, others prefer practical and experiential learning.

Some topics will work best in a group environment while others are more appropriately delivered to individuals.

Healthy living challenges can be fun. Behaviour change psychology or mental health initiatives may appear more serious, but when delivered appropriately can play a vital role in a rounded programme catering for physical and mental wellbeing throughout the business.

Using these hacks will ensure that your wellness programme is relevant and ever evolving, which in turn will create mass market appeal. You’ll quickly have a range of initiatives that get great results in the short, medium and long term. You’ll also have people queuing up to get involved.

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By Alex Stöckli
19th Feb 2019 19:28

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for this interesting article. I found the hint to talk (and not just make a good guess) to everyone in the company a very important thought. By doing that we will certainly find out what matters most to them and where a wellbeing programme needs to focus on.

I referenced and linked your article in my blog post https://well-working.blogspot.com/2019/02/wellbeing-is-not-something-you...

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