How to Successfully Implement Well-being Initiatives in the Company?
Once the managers of a company or human resources department have created a well-being promotion program, it is time for employees to engage in physical and mental health improvement activities organized by the company. But companies sometimes face challenges. With thoughtful and easy activities, companies manage to implement well-being initiatives in the work team successfully.
Challenges for implementing well-being initiatives:
- Lack of time for well-being activities for both the employees and managers
- Disengagement of employees in well-being programs
The study found that lack of time was considered a major challenge in wellness programs by 49% of employees and 47% of managers, with 39% of employees and 34% of managers reporting insufficient managerial involvement and 25% of managers citing low responsiveness as the biggest challenge .
Lack of time for well-being activities
For many companies and their employees, the challenge in their work schedule is to devote time to wellness programs. According to the survey, 33% of companies offer employees time to perform health-enhancing activities or health examinations during working hours . In turn, 36% of the survey employees believe that it is more difficult to find time for physical activity during the working day . And employees are more involved in well-being initiatives if they take place during work hours.
Tips for choosing a time to promote well-being:
- Start of the working day. If the building has an elevator, encourage employees to get to the work area by stairs.
- Lunch break. Invite staff to take a 30-minute walk with colleagues after lunch. The walk will provide some of the most important wellness activities identified by company employees in the study. Namely, the rest periods indicated by 57% of employees, the strengthening of mutual relations (53%), and regular exercise (47%) .
- In the evening, offer the last hour of the day to visit the gym or yoga class. In the survey, 79% of employees indicated that flexible working hours would allow them to become healthier, positively affecting their quality of life (97%) .
Employee engagement in well-being programs
The United States has the highest rate of workplace wellness programs globally. Namely, 52% of US employees are offered to improve their physical and mental well-being . Also, of all employees in the United States for whom the company provides wellness programs, only 40% participate . The European Union’s participation rate is even lower, reaching only 15% of employees in Germany , and 1 in 7 employees in the United Kingdom . This shows a significant challenge – to engage work teams in well-being programs.
Passivity is due to lack of time, motivation, interest, communication about the wellness program, and underestimating one’s health. 80% of employees rely on feeling generally good, while 18% of employees have recently been prevented from achieving their work goals due to illness and headaches .
The challenge of employee engagement is also related to the low level of trust. Only 6% of employees believe that the manager fully understands how to promote well-being in the workplace. The majority of employees, or 67% of respondents, rate managers’ understanding of promoting well-being as average .
Recommendations for employee engagement and participation:
Engagement of employees in the development of the well-being program
In a meeting or e-mail, announce the project’s start to each employee, find out the employees’ wishes and opinions in a discussion or questionnaire, and invite employees to submit their proposals. When a company involves participants in the program development phase, they get engaged in an already established project with a much higher involvement.
Open communication throughout the program
During the development phase of the wellness program, its implementation and evaluation, employees may have questions and suggestions, so it is important that they always receive answers to their questions and that their recommendations are evaluated. Such two-way communication encourages and motivates employees to be engaged.
The study found that a supportive organizational environment is one factor that helps a company achieve high levels of participation in wellness initiatives . 24% of employees indicated regular communication and reminders about the wellness program to increase engagement . In the survey, 90% of employees indicated that they would continue to work for a company that listened to their feedback and suggestions .
Communicate the benefits
Employees want to know what they will get for their time and work in well-being programs, so companies also need to inform employees about the benefits. Benefits include improved health – normalized blood pressure, reduced back pain, and reduced stress levels. Or developing healthy habits and incorporating them into everyday life – a healthy diet every day, regular sports, or calmer physical activities. 42% of employees are more involved in well-being initiatives in return for better well-being .
Set an example, inspire employees
Company or department heads are an example to employees, and they must be the first to be engaged in well-being programs. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that managerial support and involvement in wellness programs is the reason why 73% of employees claim that the company they work for helps employees lead a healthy lifestyle . A Gallup study found that managers have a 70% impact on employee engagement .
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, you are a leader,” said John Adams, 2nd President of the United States.
When implementing well-being programs, companies can face several challenges, including low employee participation and lack of time. But by focusing and taking some actions, these challenges can be overcome. Companies need to involve employees in developing well-being initiatives and maintaining open two-way communication. As well as include physical and mental health activities during working hours, such as offering flexible working hours and walking breaks. This will inspire employees to become more involved in wellness programs.
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 APRU, 2019, WORKPLACE WELLNESS SURVEY FINAL REPORT.
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 Global Wellness Institute, 2016, The future of wellness at work.
 AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION. Center for Organizational Excellence, 2018, 2018 Work and Well-Being Survey.
 Lier M Liesa, Breuer Christoph, Dallmeyer Sören, 2019, Organizational-level determinants of participation in workplace health promotion programs: A cross-company study
 Financial Times, 2019, Health at work.
 Statista, 2016, Incentives U.S. wellness program participants want to help engagement 2016.
 Achievers, 2020, Failure to engage.
 American Psychological Association, 2016, Work and Well-Being Survey
 Gallup 2015. State of the American manager. ANALYTICS AND ADVICE FOR LEADERS.