5 Tips to Help Employees Achieve Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

January 5, 2018

A Holistic Approach to Employee Well-Being

As the holidays approach and everyone is making their New Year’s resolutions about losing weight, taking exercise and quitting unhealthy habits like smoking. For human resources executives, keeping these resolutions may do more than reduce employee waist lines—they may also help reduce company benefit costs, by lowering health insurance premiums, reducing employee absences, and improving productivity.

Is your organisation looking for new ways to encourage healthier employee behaviour in 2018? If so, you’re not alone. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) 2017 Workplace Wellness Trends survey, more than 9 in 10 organisations offer at least one wellness initiative.

Studies show that employers who encourage healthy choices help create happier, more productive employees. That’s why more companies are looking to expand wellness programmes beyond the traditional focus on physical health to include new benefits addressing financial, social, and mental health.

Focus on all aspects of employee well-being

According to the IFEBP, 75% of employers are offering wellness programmes primarily to improve worker health. Rather than focusing on the reduction of healthcare costs, emerging wellness benefits are designed to support all aspects of employee well-being for every age and stage of life.

A recent SHRM article shares the following examples from a holistic corporate wellness programme at Cisco:

  • Financial health: Financial education programme
  • Social health: Paid time off for volunteer work
  • Mental health: Onsite mindfulness classes
  • Physical health: Onsite facility offering primary medical care and fitness centre

Be patient: Change isn’t easy

Despite the best of intentions, it can be challenging for employers to gain employee participation in company wellness programmes. One reason to explain the lack of engagement is that it can be difficult for individuals to trade short-term rewards for long-term potential.

Education, in the form of a health assessment, financial score, or good-old-fashioned lecture, isn’t enough to inspire change. For example, receiving a low financial readiness score may be discouraging to an employee—or seem impossible to fix. To make a positive and lasting impact, employer programmes should offer comprehensive assistance and a supportive culture.

Five tips to make your wellness resolutions stick in 2018

Your corporate wellness programme must fit the needs of your workforce to be successful. While nap rooms and foosball tables may be all the rage at a tech company, they could provide unwanted distractions somewhere else. To design an effective programme, keep these strategies in mind:

  1. Focus on the whole employee. A holistic approach to wellness programme design is popular because it addresses all aspects of employee well-being including physical, financial, emotional/mental, and social.
  2. Don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all programme. Ask employees what’s important to them and what they want. Simply offering a free or discounted gym membership doesn’t work for everyone.
  3. Make it convenient. Remember, one of the goals of your corporate wellness programme should be to reduce the stress in employees’ lives and make it easier for them to do things that improve their well-being.
  4. Motivate, engage, and incentivize. You must market your wellness programme to increase participation. Find ways to personalise the experience to build credibility. Share storeys of effectiveness from those who have benefited from programme offerings.
  5. Provide support. A wellness programme should not be discriminating or judgmental. For example, don’t just single out the smokers in your office. Instead, offer flexible, community-focused choices that positively impact overall organisational health.

Wellness is a team effort

As you implement your wellness programme, remember that employers and employees must work together to support a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy the small wins on your journey. As you nurture a healthier, more engaged workforce, your company will be in the best position to achieve its long-term goals.

Wellness programmes are an important part of employee benefits for greater wellbeing, along with healthcare, insurance, paid time off and flexible work arrangements. Asure Software is a leader in Human Capital Management solutions that support benefits administration, PTO tracking, and mobile workforce management.