Before you put out an RFP (request for proposal) for an HRA (health risk appraisal), or dive into the new fad called “gamification,” or start scheduling a health fair, or order the pedometers – STOP!
Here are some simple questions you should ask first.
1. What does your organization mean when it uses the term “wellness”? Is there a more appropriate term?
2. How may wellness contribute to your core competencies as an institution?
3. What type of priority should be given to wellness? And what do you hope to accomplish?
4. Why would your employees or associates want to invest time or effort in a wellness initiative? And would 90% or more of them participate without a financial incentive?
5. Exactly what has to change in your environment, and over what period of time?
6. Have you researched all the possible resources within your workplace, within a five-mile radius of your workplace, and the appropriate free resources online?
7. What are the primary obstacles you may encounter, and how will you overcome them?
8. What do people want to do that may improve their health?
When you start asking probing questions, you may come up with a deeper and more lasting approach to helping people enjoy good health. For example, what if. . .
- volunteerism became a focal point, and your employees and their families chipped in time and energy to help fill a need in your community? That’s wellness.
- music became the common bond of your population — forming a choir or jazz band, or teaching local kids to play instruments and sing? That’s wellness.
- matching up with a buddy for a variety of activities was the most important thing, but what they did together was of secondary importance? That’s wellness.
- tapping the undiscovered talents and skills of those you work with became important? Think about storytellers, musicians, mathematicians, campers, financial types, bike riders, and authors within your midst − they could all share interesting, new insights. That’s wellness.
- everyone became an amateur social media reporter, with the assignment of telling the amazing stories of their coworkers? That’s wellness.
Wellness Should Not Be a Clinical Undertaking
As a general rule, I try to steer managers from thinking of wellness as a clinical undertaking. If you can help crack the barriers of loneliness, insecurity, and distraction in people’s lives, you’ll help them far more than counting steps or tracking biometrics. And if you plan to take that approach as a long-term commitment, you’re on the right track.
It’s important to spark people’s curiosity and interest. We all need to be placed in a position of wanting to learn more and in trying something new. It doesn’t take money to do that. It takes creativity. If people want to talk about what they did or learned, how much it meant to them, and why they valued that time − isn’t that what life is about? That’s wellness.
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read, and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.