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Have you ever baked cookies and forgotten an ingredient? How did they turn out? If you forgot the flour, like I have, they won’t taste very good. It is amazing the difference in the taste when all it takes is missing one ingredient!

What does it take to find success with wellness and well-being programs? What are the special ingredients? Maybe your organization has great wellness initiatives, but are they being measured for success? These are some of the questions I explored while writing this blog.

We have all heard the saying, “no two snowflakes are alike,” and this is true for wellness programs. Every person is on a different health and wellness journey. This is what makes wellness programs so hard to create! In order to create a successful wellness or well-being program, I think it is important to understand why most programs are not successful.

Lorna Borenstein, CEO of Grokker, an employee wellness technology company, says there are 3 main reasons why employers are not seeing success from their wellness investments.

1. Your culture doesn’t support it.

Companies with successful programs genuinely care about creating a culture of well-being as a corporate value. Encourage leadership to champion and personally get involved in wellness programs, which in turn gives employees permission to take care of themselves.

2. You’re not communicating enough.

Think of your employees as prospective clients; you’ll need to convince them to take action on your wellness initiatives. Use a season calendar with exciting and changing initiatives throughout the year to connect with them frequently—the more channels and touchpoints, the better. On-demand access on any device and using video also promote engagement.

3. Your program isn’t personalized.

Savvy HR leaders continually survey their workforce to discover what employees want and will be motivated to use, then address actual employee needs through guidance, empathy, understanding, and personalization.

A USI article on corporate well-being programs says this…

“When employers can deliver solutions that are enhanced by behavior modification, tailored closely to the individual, and offer real-life skills to incur long-lasting and positive change for employees, organizations can achieve value on their investment.”

This article hints at this idea of well-being vs. wellness. We are hearing the term ‘well-being’ more and more instead of ‘wellness’ in today’s culture. What is the difference, and why does this matter? What does this have to do with the success of wellness programs?

LuAnn Heinen, vice president at the nonprofit National Business Group on Health and director of the group’s Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-Being says well-being focuses on the mindfulness of what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle, and the mission of well-being programs is to find ways that help stressed, hard-working employees lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives.

Well-being is this good feeling condition of existence and state characterized by your health, happiness, and prosperity. It refers to a more holistic, whole of life experience, while wellness is the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind as a result of deliberative effort and refers more to your physical health. Both are important, but I believe it starts with well-being. You have to have to be in this state of happiness to be open to ‘wellness’ in the physical sense. In other words, you have to be in the right state of mind.

In our world today, there is so much brokenness and destruction that is messing with our mental state or ‘well-being.’ Employers need to figure out ways to tap into their employee’s state of mind and create a new healthy state of ‘well-being.’ It might start with an employee survey or meetings with managers to learn their direct reports’ needs. It will take creativity, empathy, and positivity. To have a successful wellness or well-being program, it all boils down to truly knowing your employees on a personal level and building trusting relationships with them – this is what I call the “secret ingredient.”

All people want to be known, that they matter, and that they are loved. The secret to wellness or well-being program success is knowing your employees. Easier said than done, as people are complex beings and all have unique needs. Taking the extra time to learn and truly know your employees will pay off!

Do you have a wellness committee? Is your wellness program successful? Does it focus on well-being vs. wellness? Is it personalized on the employee level? If your answer is no for any of these, maybe it is time to reevaluate. Don’t know where to start? Reach out to us at Purple Ink and we would be glad to help you get started!

Kira Witt
Kira Witt
Kira is a consultant with Purple Ink. She finds joy in getting to meet new people, hearing others’ experiences, and discovering others’ needs.

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