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Have you ever wondered what really motivates people to take action when it comes to their personal health and fitness goals? For most, the desire to be healthier, feel healthier or lose weight isn’t enough for them to get started. 

Before we dive into what really gets people motivated, it’s important to understand why workplace wellness programs are useful and in what ways they are effective. Research shows that wellness programs help cultivate a happier, healthier, more unified team, but that’s only a small part of why companies implement them. 

Wellness programs especially incentivized wellness programs, help employees feel valued, generously compensated and encourage them to do their best work to keep their generous benefits. Incentivized corporate wellness programs help attract the best candidates and increase employee retention and satisfaction. 

But…that’s only if they are implemented in an organized and effective way. Otherwise, you won’t see much engagement and in turn won’t reap the desired benefits mentioned above.

So how do you ensure the highest participation from your team possible? Here are a few ways.

1. Decide on the structure & type of your wellness program and develop a plan

Wellness is a fairly new term that has taken over the Our modern association What types of activities will you want to include in your program? What types of physical activities will you encourage? Running? Biking? Gym visits? 

Will you be including general wellness activities like a balanced diet or healthy sleep? 

Will you be including mental health activities like meditation, yoga or journaling?

When deciding the structure of your wellness program, it’s important to consider what interests and motivates your employees. If the culture of your organization encourages and vouches for pursuing mental health, incorporating some mental health-focused activities or rewards

2. Create milestones throughout the challenge

Whether your wellness program is a short or long term thing, it’s important to have milestones for your employees to strive for along the way. Otherwise, the moment will likely fizzle out fast. When setting milestones it’s important to be inclusive and considerate of the stamina levels of each member of your team. That being said, your milestones should serve more as reminders and encouragement rather than a measurement of how much everyone’s gotten done. 

The goal is to get people to make healthier decisions and engage in healthier activities. Everyone is starting on their own individual playing field and setting the bar too high may discourage some members of your team from even trying.

A fun way to implement milestones is to send out creative emails including some motivational or humorous graphics to encourage your team to, “Keep pushing! Only (xyz) days left of this challenge!”

3. Assign teams and elect captains to keep everyone more motivated and accountable

Assigning teams is not only a great way to create a competitive component that will encourage employees to be more engaged, it will also encourage employees to get to know each other a little better. 

A great way to build a more cohesive team and workplace environment is to promote cross-departmental conversation. This can open the doors to better communication, collaboration and idea-sharing. Electing a captain is also a great way to make sure that conversation stays flowing and someone is consistently encouraging employees to stay motivated!

4. Offer Incentives

Everyone wants to be healthy, but for most people, wanting to be healthy isn’t enough to actually take the steps. Incentives are a proven way to drastically increase engagement for your wellness program. There are many types of incentives you could choose to offer employees, including 

5. Develop effective communication

There’s a reason we need to design and implement programs to encourage people to make healthier choices. With everything else going on throughout the day, unfortunately for most of us, personal health isn’t always at top of mind for most of us. Having consistent nudges of reminders and encouragement will keep employees engaged and excited. The best way to conduct communication around your wellness program would be digitally (i.e. email, phone notifications). You can also communicate with employees about your wellness program via promotional flyers or in-person meetings. 

6. Track activity and progress throughout the program

This step can be tricky depending on the size of your company and the roles you have available to delegate this task to. But tracking activities and progress throughout the program is integral to its success. Otherwise, how can you be sure that your employees are actually doing the activities they say they are?

Although this seems like a lot of admin work (because it is) it’s well worth it to ensure high participation amongst your team. There are also many tech-based solutions that can track these activities for you and automatically disperse rewards or incentives to your employees.

So as you can see, workplace wellness programs offer many perks that can greatly benefit an organization and its people. But as with most things, well-planned implementation is key. We hope this got your wheels turning on how to implement a successful wellness program at your workplace!