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Social Wellness Models: A New Way to Inspire Employees to Get Healthy


social wellnessThe advent of new technologies has opened up a host of new ways of communicating.  At this point, it’s pretty clear social media has moved beyond a fad stage – it is now a core element of the way we communicate with each other.   While you’re probably using social media in one way or another, have you considered leveraging social media to enhance your wellness efforts?

A new style of programming called “social wellness” sets out to do just that.  While relatively new, these programs have shown great success in increasing participation, driving engagement, and improving overall outcomes as part of corporate wellness efforts.

What is social wellness?

Social wellness models center on online networking platforms and seek to tap into social pressures to drive wellness outcomes.  Social wellness platforms provide a place where wellness program participants can communicate with each other about their health and wellness goals, challenge each other in weight loss or activity competition, and track results. 

By creating a place where employees can talk about their wellness efforts, social wellness models build peer support and accountability – two key ingredients to wellness success.   Company-wide competitions on these platforms can add some healthy pressure that makes wellness more fun and effective.  Incentives can be tied to participation or for achieving specific results, like hitting activity goals or verified weight loss metrics.

What makes social wellness models different

One thing that’s distinct about social wellness models is that goals don’t necessarily have to be set by the wellness director and pushed down to the organization.  Individual employees can set their own wellness goals and challenge each other to participate in competitions.  These types of programs arm employees with tools to facilitate their own health and wellness journeys, helping them get from “here to there” no matter what their starting point or end goal.

For your wellness program to succeed, it needs to spark individuals to initiate positive change for themselves.  If you can successfully motivate individuals to set attainable wellness goals that will improve their own health, you will have a program employees can be passionate about. 

The transparency and group support social wellness models provide can make a real difference as part of a larger wellness program.   Healthy social pressure and accountability are often the missing ingredients in employer-sponsored efforts.    

Examples of social wellness

Of the social wellness programs we’ve explored, a few have stuck out to us.  We’ve started to test driven a few of these internally at HNI to vet the best solutions to bring to our customers.  [We have a group kicking off a challenge right now.  Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will introduce you to the team and their goals!]

If you’re interested in incorporating a social wellness platform into your wellness efforts, these are a few programs worth taking a look at:

 

Want to learn more about innovative benefits and wellness approaches?

We discussed this creative benefits strategy along with nine other ways to help your organization control benefits costs during our HNI U event on "Innovative Benefits Strategies." Listen to the workshop recording here.

 

Topics: Construction Transportation Manufacturing HR / Employee Benefits