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The Secret Sauce to Wellness Program Success



In our latest webinar, Dr. Ron Goetzel shared his “secret sauce” to achieve wellness program ROI. In this post, I’ll discuss how to implement five of his best practices:

  • Culture of health

Longtime readers should not be surprised to see culture top Dr. Goetzel’s list! Start by focusing your efforts on creating the type of environment that makes choosing a healthy behavior the easiest choice. Employees expect a wellness experience that is built into every work day, such as the availability of healthy snacks, a safe space for physical activity, or the ability to take a mental break every 90 minutes. Examine workplace policies, social support, cultural norms, and your physical environment to identify the best places to intervene.

We believe so strongly in culture, Grokker CEO Lorna Borenstein interviews top leaders in her online show on the topic. Check out Grokker CEO Lorna Borenstein’s latest culture conversation with eBay Chief People Officer Kristin Yetto.

  • Leadership commitment

To achieve wellness program ROI, you must have leadership on board. The more effectively leadership supports employee wellbeing, the more likely employees are to experience engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and positive energy at work. This in turn lowers stress and increases overall positive sentiment toward the company.

See how leaders at Facebook, Google, and more inspire their teams to a culture of wellbeing.

  • Specific goals and expectations

One-size-fits-all programs do not work. That’s why I like to kick off new clients with a discussion about their unique goals so we can design a program that works for their specific workforce.

For example, Schools Insurance Group heard over and over again that their employees needed stress relief. With this critical goal in mind, we prescribed targeted wellness challenges timed during high-intensity work months such as a custom, 21-day “soul-cation” challenge leading into the busy period before winter break. Targeted interventions led to 64% of employees feeling more focused and productive, and 51% feeling calmer and less anxious.

  • Strategic communications

Ah, my favorite topic! I hear that so often from HR leaders that they're worried about overcommunicating or they feel that they've already sent enough emails to employees about wellness. But communication is critical to program success and the more you can use a variety of channels, the bigger impact you can have. In our marketing playbook, we use the Rule of Seven, which means that a prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they'll take action. You don't want to be sending employees seven emails, so what are the other channels you can employ? Chair drops, SMS messages, posters by the water cooler, announcements at meetings, etc.

Listen to my webinar on how to run a successful wellness challenge where I discuss key communications tactics.

  • Employee engagement in program design and implementation

Gather employee feedback and encourage peer-to-peer motivation by creating a Wellness Champion program. Employee representation on a wellness committee gives employees a sense of program ownership. They are also your boots on the ground, able to let you know what is working and what isn’t as you evolve your program.

Peer-to-peer motivation is especially important for hard-to-reach workers who aren’t in a traditional office environment or those that are less influenced by leadership. Your champions will help spread the word and generate excitement about your wellness program.

Finally, a wellness champion program sends a message to leadership that employees, your team, and Grokker are all in for program success. Companies with a champion program are more committed and motivated to see that the program is successful.

Organizations that succeed put their own people first because they recognize that their employees are the key to creating long-term value. The cost of presenteeism -- where employees show up for work but don’t perform at full capacity  -- is 10 times the cost of absenteeism. To achieve true ROI, target employee productivity and engagement by prioritizing wellbeing.


Caring For Remote Employees

Many organizations continue to work in remote and hybrid models as the pandemic winds down, but many employees, when given the option to return to work, would actually prefer to continue working remotely. Our new guide, Taking Care of Remote Employees: The Key To Business Success Beyond the Pandemic, gives you actionable steps to ensure that your employees feel supported no matter where they are working. 

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