We asked 4 corporate wellness program leaders what has been most effective in promoting wellness at their organizations. Their best wellness program ideas included tech trends, races, and donations for a good cause. The most common theme? A little friendly competition.
What Makes a Wellness Program Effective?
Note: Property Solutions is now Entrata
1. Get Everyone on Board
Getting everyone in the organization involved in the wellness program can create great results. At Entrata, Brandon Fish, VP of HR has seen the most success with big activities such as a company-wide 5k race, a private talk with fitness experts, gym memberships, and regular in-house chair massage.
From regular employee surveys, Fish knows that without exception, the most effective aspect of the wellness program are gym memberships and on-site chair massages.
2. Shed Pounds for a Good Cause
A yearly company-wide fitness competition can do more than create healthier employees. By tying the fitness competition into the community, Clearlink employees are able to do good for more than just their health. For each positive pound of change (fat lost or muscle gained), Clearlink donates $10 to the local food bank.
The buck doesn't just stop there. Cammie Cable, VP of HR at Clearlink recently sent one hard-working (and hard sweating) employee on a trip to Mexico after they won the yearly fitness competition. Getting fit for charity is a great way for employees to do something for themselves AND give back to the community.
3. Create Visual Cues
For some organizations, keeping track of fitness competitions in a place where everyone can see it is the best motivator. Diana Hasselfeld, Nurse Practitioner at Varian Medical Systems has seen the best results by tracking data on a bulletin board and providing rewards based on improvements. It's a great way to create a little healthy competition in the office and to get people on board with your initiatives.
This type of tracking system can be geared toward every type of employee in your office, whether they're seasoned fitness enthusiasts or casual walkers.
4. Tech Tricks
Everyone loves a new gadget -- especially if it's free. At Nelson Laboratories, HR Director Randy Rassmussen, has seen great success with their recent Fit Bit challenge. Each employee received a free base model Fit Bit (or a higher model for a discount).
It's a cinch to create contests based on the easily trackable data, which can greatly improve your employee participation.
Getting creative with your wellness program is crucial because each company has a different culture and a different set of needs. Try a few things and see what works best for you!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated and revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.