By mid-January, a third of your employees will have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions, based on a recent survey by Statistic Brain. A month later, odds are that a little more than half of them will still be on track, and by year’s end, it is estimated that only 8% of individuals will have succeeded in keeping their resolutions.
Given that the most common resolutions impact health and wellness, as an employer you have a vested interest in helping your employees stick to their pledges to lose weight, quit smoking, or attain other self-improvement goals. Employers have much to gain when employees are able to commit to their resolutions.
When employees are able to improve their physical and/or mental health, they are clearly more able to be productive and are certainly a reduced risk for their employer in terms of the benefit costs of an unhealthy workforce. People who are able to set goals and attain them also have higher self-esteem, which leads to greater engagement in the workplace, also a key contributor to productivity.
Here are five ways your organization support employees keep their most common resolutions of 2017: losing weight, improving fitness, quitting smoking, and being a better person.
Create a health-minded work environment
Supporting weight and nutrition goals starts with creating a healthy environment at work. Try to offer healthy snacks if food is made available in the company kitchen or break room. Post a daily or weekly nutrition tip in a prominent place – Consider eliminating junk food filled vending machines, if possible, and if your company’s birthday celebrations typically include sugary cakes, get creative with new ways to celebrate. This could include decorating the honoree’s work area with balloons or hosting a monthly healthy lunch for each month’s birthdays.
Sponsor weight loss support group meetings
Some organizations offer weekly support group meetings for employees trying to meet weight loss goals. Support groups can create a forum for goal discussion. Often the problem with keeping weight loss resolutions can start with the resolution itself. In support meetings, a facilitator can help employees refine weight loss goals. Some employees will have set a highly general goal to “lose weight” or a very lofty goal of losing many, many pounds. Those who set specific goals, such as losing X pounds within x time, are more likely to achieve those goals. If budget allows, bring in dieticians and other experts as monthly speakers to supplement the weekly meetings. Your facilitator can also access a host of online resources, including the CDC’s Workplace Health Promotion website.
Foster creative competition using health and fitness apps
Often companies set competitions and give recognition to employees as they reach milestones. If you’ve tried these in the past, maybe a new form of competition would help engage participants. Today there are an overwhelming number of weight loss and fitness apps in the marketplace – why not select three or four and allow employees to choose teams – based on the app. This takes the competitive pressure off the individual employees, provides the employees with a tool to support their plans, and gives the whole group exposure to the pros and cons of several tools, ultimately providing insight that might help them find the tool that is best for them. Check out these top lists of weight loss and fitness apps.
Become a trained facilitator and help employees quit smoking
One of the hardest steps in trying to quit smoking can be choosing between the many different types of smoking cessation programs available. The American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program offers facilitator training for companies that want to offer an onsite smoking cessation program for all employees. Once trained, facilitators receive access to guidance, materials and other information essential to hosting a workplace tobacco cessation program. Freshstart provides education on the various techniques and treatments available to smokers, allowing employees to make an educated decision on which techniques may be for them personally while still enjoying the support and benefits of a workplace smoking cessation group.
Provide volunteer opportunities
Being a better person may mean different things to different people, but it is undisputed that volunteering and helping others has a positive impact on an individual’s mental and physical health. When you provide opportunities for your employees to volunteer together, those benefits are extended to include teambuilding and increased productivity. Corporate volunteer opportunities vary by community, so to make your corporate effort a successful experience for all, start by selecting a program or activity that offers everyone a chance to participate. Solicit input from employees to identify areas of interest – from working in a homeless shelter, to community beautification or signing up as a team to run in a charity race. If possible within your corporate culture and operating budget, allow employees to volunteer a few hours a month on company time if they are interested in tutoring or mentoring students or in other activities that would need to take place during the work day.
Understandably, employers may wonder why “be the best employee ever” does not typically appear in the top 10 of people’s New Year’s resolution lists. The good news is, by helping your employees keep the resolutions that are on their list, you’re taking steps to ensure a healthy, productive and engaged workforce, which is at the top of every employer’s list, every year!
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