Quick-start guide to creating an effective wellness program

If you and your company are newbies to wellness programs, you may feel clueless as to what you need to do or – on the other end of the spectrum – overwhelmed by all the information you’ve uncovered through your initial research.

No worries. Take a deep breath and relax. Wellness programs are not – and should not – be complicated or confusing. Ever heard of the acronym KISS? Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t try to overdo it.

Are you making these 4 common health & wellness communication mistakes?

You want to be effective with your health and wellness communications, right? So that means you need to rely on the latest and greatest electronic media available to get your messages out, right? Yes and no.

The electronic world of eMails, texts, apps, Websites, and social networks means that you have more options than ever to reach your wellness program audience. Be sure you’re using these tools and resources the right way. Many people are quick to embrace electronic media without doing their homework first.

Is your workplace thriving… or just surviving? A ‘culture of health’ and a ‘thriving workplace culture’ are two different things

“Culture” is a buzzword in many companies; and having a thriving one is a goal for most employers. However, more often than not, organizations don’t truly grasp what culture is and, therefore, go about nurturing a flourishing one in ways that don’t make sense.

In her Transforming Workplaces blog, Dr. Rosie Ward explains how many organizations think of culture in terms of a “culture of health” or a “healthy culture.” The thought is if the company has “policies, procedures, communication practices, programs, rewards, and leadership behaviors that support so-called healthy lifestyle choices and healthy behaviors,” then the company has a thriving culture.

If you are looking for fresh ideas for your workplace communications, ask your employees

If you want to improve participants’ buy-in for your workplace wellness program and, at the same time, develop sources of wellness content (so you don’t have to come up with everything on your own), look to employees.

Ask for volunteer writers, photographers, and videographers to contribute articles, still images, and videos on health-related topics and events.

When employees provide content on topics of interest to them, you likely will get:

  • More engaged wellness participants. The volunteer communicators may experience a sense of ownership for the wellness program. And, the volunteers’ co-workers may pay more attention to what is being communicated because the content comes from “one of them” instead of company management.

3 tips to entice employees to join your wellness team

A volunteer wellness team composed of employee-participants is essential for a wellness program to succeed. Here are 3 ways to ensure your team is “staffed” with the right mix of volunteers, and rotate in new members to give others a break to prevent burn out.

1. Find new recruits like you would candidates for any other open position in the company.

  • Create a job description that provides details on responsibilities and expected time commitments.
  • Post the “position” in employee break rooms, restrooms, employee-only hallways and stairwells, and on an intranet site if your company has one. You can also send out an email or place a “help wanted” article in a company newsletter.
  • Have “Interested in Serving on the Wellness Team?” sign-up sheets available at wellness events.
  • Ask for referrals from current team members and various department supervisors. Designate a current team member to contact nominees about serving on the team.

Who are you talking to? Knowing the answer to this question is essential for effective wellness communications

When it comes to your health and wellness messages, each of your employees likely has his or her own health habits, motivations, frustrations, and goals. Before you craft your first piece of wellness content, be sure you understand who makes up your audience and what information each subgroup may want and need.

The expectant mother in the accounting department probably wants something different than the soon-to-retire sales manager or the new hire fresh out of grad school.

Ask yourself: What personalities and demographics do I need to reach with my health and wellness message?