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Take that Wellness Program Off Autopilot! 6 Tips to Shake Things Up

Companies have the best intentions when setting up a wellness program, but things often get stale after a while. People in charge of wellness programs are usually stretched in a million different directions and have a whole host of other things they need to get done. bored

Sound like your company?  You’re not alone, but not surprisingly, this scenario tends to produce less than stellar wellness results.  Read on for tips to shake things up and get the ball rolling again!

1. Bring in some new blood

Recruit some new members to join your wellness committee (or if you don’t have a committee, form one!)  New employees can bring fresh ideas from their former companies, and having perspectives from a number of different departments can help generate creative new ideas.

2. Get real about what’s worked and what hasn’t

Dig through that wellness archive.  What have you done so far?  What’s worked?  An employee survey may also be helpful in gauging what people enjoyed and what didn’t.

Treat every wellness effort as a learning experience – some things may work, and some may fall flat, but as long as you track results, you can continue to improve. [This is also important when responsibility is shared or transferred – you don’t want to lose that knowledge!]

3. Define your vision: what could be?

There are oodles of good reasons to start a wellness program – reduced absenteeism, lower health insurance costs, improved morale.  What was your reason when you started a wellness program?  What were you hoping to achieve? 

Having clarity around this is important.  If your goals aren’t clearly defined from the get go, how will you define success?  Decide on the top 3 health areas your organization needs to work on and start focusing your efforts around that.  Stress?  Cholesterol levels?  If you did a health risk assessment, look there for areas where your company might need to step up its efforts.

4. Measure success and celebrate it

What is the “right data” to measure success of a wellness activity by?  This will vary based on your program goals, but if you’re expecting to see a direct return in your premium by next year, you may be disappointed.

Participation might be a measure to look at as well as engagement metrics.  The number of people who sign up for a wellness program is your participation.  The number of people who finished it might tell you more about how engaged people were.

Set measurable goals around what you’re trying to achieve – and then celebrate when you hit them!

5. Monitor like you’re Big Brother

Keeping tabs on how things are going is essential. If you don’t follow up on initiatives, you’re sending the wrong message and showing a lack of commitment. 

Keep tabs on wellness efforts from start to finish, and hold debrief meetings to capture how things went.  If you’re planning a six week walking program, someone needs to be checking on participation and engagement the whole time.  Take annual health assessments and do feedback surveys as additional checkpoints.

6. Don’t be afraid to get a little weird

Have fun with your wellness program!  We’ve all heard the usual wellness messages – eat healthy, work out, go see your doctor.  If you’re going to catch people’s attention, try something different…and occasionally weird.

At HNI, one of our wellness activities is our summer Office Olympics.  We form teams of four and every week during the summer months we hold a wellness challenge, and the activities get weirder and weirder each time.  It’s really fun – there’s something intangibly awesome about competing side by side with a coworker in a Skip It or tricycle-riding contest.  It keeps people moving during the week and inspires healthy competition in the office!

Whatever you decide to try, get moving and get that wellness program off autopilot! Have you tried any fun or interesting wellness initiatives in your company?  We’d love to hear about them -- comment below and let us know!

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