Corporate Wellness programs sound great on paper. Who wouldn’t want healthier, happier and more productive employees and lower health care costs? More often than not, however, wellness programs fail to inspire long-term changes in either exercise habits or healthy eating choices, so they fail to generate the attractive benefits which inspired adoption in the first place. Why? Real corporate wellness solutions require organizational commitment for which many companies aren’t really ready. And the worst part – they don’t even know it. So, how do you know if you’re ready for a real corporate wellness solution that will yield lasting cultural, productivity and cost-savings results? We have isolated three key indicators that your company is ready for a corporate wellness solution.
Recognition of a Problem
Are you seeing steady increases in employee health care costs? That’s usually the most obvious sign that something’s wrong. Take an objective look around the office and take note of what you see. Unfortunately, most of us will see colleagues who are moderately to severely overweight, do not engage in enough physical exertion and make poor food choices. This can be a more uncomfortable sign, but you can bet the change in health care costs is related to this condition. OK, so we’ve identified two symptoms, but WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? The problem is that most of your employees would like to make sustainable changes to improve health and fitness, but don’t feel they have access to the right tools or sufficient social support to make the change. This is a problem that employers, who can control access to tools and influence professional social structures, are uniquely positioned to solve, and doing so has amazing cultural and cost benefits.
Motivation to Change
Even if you recognize the health problem, nothing will change without the appropriate desire. Indicators of motivation:
Dedicating budget to invest in a corporate wellness solution
Dedicating people to manage deployment and on-going success
Creating incentives (not necessarily monetary) to reward performance, not participation
Adjustment of corporate norms that are inconsistent with change (no more doughnuts at 8am meetings!)
Creating real change isn’t easy, but without true motivation for change, you’re unlikely to solve the problem.
Public Commitment from Leaders
Company leaders can either catalyze or kill a corporate wellness solution through both their words and actions. A CEO can catalyze the solution though public commit to change, both personal and organizational, and then following through on that commitment with public exhibitions of the new behaviors. That commitment needs to flow down through the organization’s management ranks, and ideally be reflected in the company’s management metrics. Through this commitment employees will recognize they’re not alone on the journey to wellness, and that the wellness solution is a genuine fix to establish long-term healthy habits.