Is your company currently offering a wellness program to its employees?
Now more than ever, it’s crucial that employers are building wellness programs focused on living a healthy lifestyle. Employees want to see that their employers care about their personal wellness and connect with their colleagues. Which is why it’s so important to create a wellness program that supports all of your employees and helps them develop healthy habits. Plus, a wellness program can build a foundation for overall health and well-being in the workplace. Worksite wellness can change how current and future employees feel about working for the company!
Read on to learn more about this topic! Click on the sections below to jump right to your specific question.
- The Purpose of Wellness Programs
- Defining Wellness Challenges
- Ideas for Wellness Challenges
- Tips and Tricks to Designing an Awesome Wellness Challenge
- Rewards and Incentives
- How to Host a Wellness Challenge
- Virtual Wellness Challenges
- Free Walking/Step Wellness Challenge Tracker Template
- Further Wellness Challenge Guides
- Other Helpful Resources
The Purpose of Wellness Programs
Employee wellness programs play a key role in improving the health and productivity of your employees while also lowering the total cost of employer-provided health care (tackling your population health outcomes). So, not only do they benefit the employee, but also the employer! The investment in wellness programs improves employee experience, in turn improving employee engagement.
A good wellness program focuses on making behavioural changes. Wellness programs allow for users to develop healthy lifestyle habits that they can use everyday. With the help of prizes as an incentive to make habit changes and other educational resources that teaches employees about the importance of living a healthier lifestyle, influencing healthier choices becomes even more valuable.
How do healthier employees benefit the workplace? When employees become more mindful of the decisions they make each day regarding health, they are happier at work, create better relationships, are more productive at work and employee morale is much higher. So the purpose of a workplace wellness program is to create lasting change in the participants while also building a strong company culture.
There are a number of different ways you can design and establish a wellness program, but finding one that works best for your team can be a tough road to navigate. One effective way is to organize wellness challenges. With wellness challenges, you can increase employee satisfaction, improve team-work, show support for employees healthy efforts, and boost camaraderie in and out of the office. By prioritizing the well-being of your employees, you can reduce employee burnout at work.
Defining Wellness Challenges
So what is a workplace Wellness Challenge? They’re a fun and easy way to spark teamwork, and boost company morale by encouraging healthy competition focused on wellness activities that encourage healthy habits! Studies have shown that they improve productivity during the work week and increase employee engagement. Challenges give employers a chance to bring their team together over different lifestyle topics, no matter what the company demographics look like, and focus on the needs of employees.
Ideas for Wellness Challenges
Figuring out what type of wellness challenges works best for your company can be hard, so we came up with a list of 9 wellness challenges that cover all the wellness topics!
- Steps Challenge
- Nutrition Challenge
- Sleep Challenge
- Mindfulness Challenge
- Gym-Based Challenge
- Hydration Challenge
- Financial Wellness Challenge
- Habit-building Challenge
- Work-Life Balance Challenge
The point is, there are so many different types of challenges you can incorporate that allow both in-person and at-home employees to get involved in!
Tips and Tricks to Designing an Awesome Wellness Challenge
Before you begin designing your wellness challenge, there’s a few things you should keep in mind. First, you can start by educating your employees about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. An easy way to do this is by sending out promotional flyers and hanging them up throughout the office. Promoting the importance of health BEFORE you introduce a company wellness challenge will get future participants thinking about their own lifestyle and generate a better response to the challenge when it’s introduced.
Next, in order to create an awesome wellness challenge your employees will want to participate in, ask them for their feedback! The goal is to design a challenge focused on the needs and wants of your employees. Not only will you get a better understanding of what to include in your wellness challenge, but staying mindful of these needs will also promote a level of trust in the workplace by showing employees that their needs are supported by others at the company. Overall, the benefit of this approach allows you to design a wellness challenge that is appealing to ALL employees. It’s important to remember that with any wellness program, one size fits none. You may also want to do a biometric screening before, and after the wellness challenge, so that you can show your employees how their physical activity impacts their health markers.
Other important questions to ask yourself when designing a wellness challenge is how long the challenge will last, if it will be individual or team-based, what the main objective or goal is of the challenge, what the rules are, and how you want to incentivize employees for participating in the challenge. Set up a meeting with other decision makers to finalize the details of the challenge and plan out future ones as well. Consistency is crucial when it comes to making lifestyle changes, so when you decide on the challenges you’ll run throughout the year, you are commiting to a healthier, happier workplace!
Rewards and Incentives
A key component to increasing participation in a challenge is how you reward the efforts of your employees. Studies have shown that offering rewards for completing a challenge helps motivate employees to make healthier decisions that will improve their overall health and well-being. The purpose of incentivizing activities is to make the challenge more valuable in the eyes of the employees.
When it comes to deciding how you want to reward the top participant, or maybe even the top three, you can get as creative as you want! Rewards can be monetary or non-monetary. For example, you could give out amazon or visa gift cards to the top three participants once the challenge is complete. Other prize options could be tickets to an event, a catered lunch, fitness equipment or even just a certificate to honor the first place winner.
How to Host a Wellness Challenge
Investing in a wellness program that offers employee challenges allows you to support employees on their fitness journey. There are a number of different ways to integrate challenges into your corporate wellness program. With the help of smartphones and wearable devices, hosting a wellness challenge isn’t very hard. If you are going to focus on fitness related activities, it might be helpful to encourage employees to use the data from either their smartphone or wearable device to keep track of their activities. The great thing about technology is that the information being collected about the users fitness activities is trackable and, in a lot of cases, can be automatically synced with a wellness program app on a device.
Virtual Wellness Challenges
Another question you may ask yourself is how can you run a wellness challenge with so many of your employees working from home? Well, another great thing about wellness challenges is that you can design them to be done anywhere! A virtual challenge can create opportunities for your employees to engage with one another through friendly competition and communicate more effectively during the work week. Connecting employees has shown to not only increase productivity, but also creates a healthier workplace culture. Employees can connect a device to sync their activity data and compete against colleagues anywhere. You can even set up chat options so participants can communicate throughout the challenge.
A good example of promoting healthy living virtually is through a step challenge (step challenge blog link). With a simple step challenge, you can motivate your employees to move more throughout the day by suggesting reasonable tasks like taking a walking meeting at least twice a week and taking three walking breaks throughout the day. By offering your support for these types of activities, your employees aren’t left feeling guilty about stepping away from their desks and will actually increase their productivity throughout the day.
Free Walking/Step Wellness Challenge Tracker Template
If you are looking to start your own step challenge at your company, but want more practice with it before, IncentFit has a free 30 day step challenge google sheets tracker that you can access here. All you need to do is fill out the form and receive access to the challenge tracker!
Interested in what wellness benefits look like? Check out the “Definitive Corporate Wellness Landscape” for a high-level view of all of the options on the market right now! (Pro tip: look for the comparison table to which products are most common with companies your size.)
Want to learn more about corporate wellness? Take our three-part Wellness Foundations Webinar Series for HR managers. It’s a kickstart for anyone who wants (or needs) to dive head first into the industry.
Learn more about IncentFit Wellness Challenges, to see how we can help your organization promote a culture of wellness.
Interested in speaking with a benefits expert for more one-on-one support? Schedule an introductory call with IncentFit. We’ll learn a bit more about your company’s unique needs and point you in the right direction.