If a study by the Midwest Business Group’s any indication, employees don’t value wellness nearly as much as they should.
Eighty-eight percent of employees don’t understand how important preventative health care is, the study found, and 56% say they have no motivation to stay healthy.
Lack of information about the importance of wellness may be one reason why employees don’t take their health seriously enough. Fortunately, there are many great ways to educate your employees about wellness. Here are a few suggestions:
Bring in a guest speaker to give a talk.
Hold a brown bag lunch featuring an expert such as a dietitian, a personal trainer, a doctor, a health coach, an athlete or even an employee who’s faced a health or fitness challenge (as long as he or she’s a dynamic speaker). Choose a topic that’s relevant to your employees, whether that’s weight loss, stress reduction or training for a 10K. To ensure a good turnout, offer incentives, enter all attendees into a raffle for a health-related prize or serve healthy refreshments.
Hold a hands-on class.
Classes requiring hands-on participation engage employees more directly with wellness. Bring in a fitness instructor to introduce employees to new forms of exercise like yoga or Zumba, have a holistic practitioner lead a session on guided meditation for stress relief or invite a dietitian or local chef to run a healthy cooking class.
Post information in office “hot spots.”
Create fliers featuring startling health statistics (here are a few good ones) and simple, bold graphics. Include links to websites where employees can find more information. Post the fliers in high traffic areas such as break rooms, stairwells, bulletin boards and restrooms or over the copy machine and the water cooler.
Launch a targeted campaign.
If there’s a single pressing health issue you want to focus on, such as smoking cessation or improving nutrition, make it the focus of a concentrated campaign. Host multiple events related to the issue and distribute information about it using various forms of media. For example, if you wanted to promote sun safety, you could distribute sunscreen samples, have a dermatologist give a talk on skin cancer or preventing sun-related aging, host an on-site skin cancer screening clinic, post fliers about how to properly apply sunscreen and have a sun safety trivia quiz with beach towels as prizes. (The Wellness Council of America has a detailed plan for running a wellness campaign available here.)
Host a health fair.
At a health fair, vendors and representatives of local health and wellness organizations give out information on health topics, hold demonstrations and screen employees for conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Though health fairs require a lot of planning (here’s a helpful guide to running one), they’re fun, memorable and an excellent way to reach a large number of people.
Information is powerful. By taking a few simple steps to educate employees about key health issues, you can increase their awareness of how their habits are affecting their health while boosting participation in your wellness program at the same time.