Top 3 reasons your wellness program is falling short of expectations

June 13

Who better to ask about designing wellness programs, than our in-house wellness expert Nicole Cairns. This week, she’s our guest blogger.

If your wellness program is merely about being able to say you have one, or to simply ‘check off that box,’ then you are probably not seeing the best results in terms of increasing health, mental wellbeing, engagement and morale.

Even if your intent was genuinely to do more than just ‘check the box,’ your program can still fall short of expectations if it’s not properly thought out and implemented.

Here are the three most common mistakes employers make when introducing a wellness program.

You expect people to be grateful for what you are offering.

When I make a healthy, homemade, intricate meal for my children, it irks me when they look at it and ask ‘why can’t we eat REAL food?’ REAL food? Really? “You can’t get more real than this,” I say, looking at their plate of organic, lovingly made Mee Goreng with brown rice noodle to boot in order to avoid their food intolerances.  The problem is, they didn’t ask for this meal and they clearly didn’t want it.

Before you decide that your wellness program must include a Zumba class, a vitamins workshop or a Frisbee day in the park, you need to first understand what your employees want. A thorough assessment of your employee wants, needs and challenges are an important part of the planning process. By doing so, employees feel a part of the development and decision making process.

Education is your only focus.

Education is everywhere. We are constantly bombarded with information about our health and it can be exhausting, not to mention daunting and guilt provoking.  This doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be an educational component to your wellness program; it just means that every good wellness program should also be about action. New habits are built by action.

Yes, we need to educate people wisely and thoughtfully by inspiring, motivating and empowering them to make their own smart decisions, but the real MEAT is in the ACTION.  Providing opportunities for people to work on new habits in a supportive and inspiring environment is the KEY.  That one-off lunch and learn will soon be forgotten by the masses when everyone walks into their next work meeting.

It’s spontaneous and unexpected

How often do people spontaneously decide to change their diet to a gluten-free one or unexpectedly start working out 5 days a week?  Change doesn’t happen overnight; change is a process.  When designing a wellness strategy, it’s important to understand human behaviour.

If you spring it on employees and expect them to instantly get on board, you’ll be in for a rude reality check.  Wellness strategies have to be well thought out and well communicated so that people are ready and excited to make changes.

Don’t settle for simply checking the wellness box with resulting poor employee uptake. A benefits advisor who truly understands how to get the most out of a wellness program can build you a strong foundation for success.

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