It took a global pandemic to make the corporate world really wake up to the clarion call of employee wellness. We shifted our entire work culture to be able to continue taking care of business, and we had to – individually and collectively – assess our overall health and wellness risk factors to ensure we did our best to survive – and then thrive as we re-entered a new world. More people than ever before seem to be taking steps to improve their wellness in body, mind, and spirit.
Many top-shelf consulting companies offer wellness benefits via their app and ancillary services. Their “app” is the delivery device for high-quality wellness eLearning, performance tracking, (and rewards!) This form of wellness eLearning often doesn’t get included in the larger vision that learning and development departments have for improving employee wellness. From fitness and nutrition to stress management, wellness-focused eLearning can give your employees the tools they need to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. Let’s dig in.
Why invest in wellness eLearning?
Employee wellness programs and eLearning education provide numerous benefits to both the company and its employees. Not a believer in how wellness affects the workplace? Then I encourage you to read employee wellness statistics to know in 2023, with some key stats below.
Companies with effective employee wellness programs see a 25% increase in employee productivity. ( American Journal of Health Promotion)
Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism
A study by the World Economic Forum found that for every $1 invested in employee wellness, companies can expect a return of $1.50 to $3.80 due to reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (i.e. employees who come to work but are not fully productive due to illness or other health issues).
Improved job satisfaction and retention
Employees who feel their employer cares about their well-being are more likely to report high job satisfaction and remain with the company long-term. (Willis Towers Watson)
Lower healthcare costs
According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with wellness programs experience an average of $3.27 in healthcare cost savings for every dollar spent on the program.
Improved morale and engagement
IEmployees who participate in wellness programs and eLearning education are more engaged and motivated to perform their jobs well, leading to higher morale and job satisfaction. (The Society for Human Resource Management)
Reduced stress and burnout
The National Business Group on Health reports that 91% of employers believe that employee wellness programs effectively reduce employee stress and burnout.
Improved physical health
Employees who participate in wellness programs and eLearning education are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors such as exercise, healthy eating, and smoking cessation, leading to improved physical health. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
By investing in the well-being of your employees, your organization can reap significant rewards in terms of productivity, job satisfaction, and overall success. My hope is that HR/L&D leaders are starting to understand the scope and power of eLearning that specifically includes wellness-focused content, whether offered via a company’s bespoke app or supplemented by a stand-alone eLearning program.
What does eLearning in the wellness space look like?
Let’s start with a basic definition of eLearning to ensure we’re all on the same yoga mat.
eLearning refers to the use of digital technologies to deliver learning and education. All you need is an internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone, and who doesn’t have at least one of those digital tools these days – even seniors (like me) have embraced smart technology. eLearning has gained traction because it is flexible, convenient, and cost-effective. Consumable eLearning content includes videos, podcasts, webinars, online courses, simulations, and more. You just log in and start eLearning. Easy peasy.
We often still think of eLearning as courses that take “time” to complete. Perhaps we worry about lost productivity if learners engage in ongoing training that is not specific to their job or skill set. The advent of adaptive microlearning, through dynamic mobile-first platforms, puts training sessions in the palm of your hand in micro-sessions that take only minutes. When learners start to practice training daily, it helps develop knowledge retention of longer-form training. Gamification elements improve learning motivation and add to the fun – tracking points, offering rewards, and creating a sense of “healthy competition” through leaderboards and other shared metrics.
What wellness topics can you offer through online training?
When it comes to employee wellness programming that can translate well to eLearning, the possibilities are vast. Here are some examples:
Fitness and exercise
eLearning modules can cover a variety of exercise routines, from strength training to cardio to flexibility. They can also provide instruction on proper form and technique for specific exercises and tips for incorporating physical activity into everyday routines. So much more is possible than just a pre-recorded exercise class.
Stress management eLearning modules can teach employees techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization to help them manage stress and improve their overall well-being. Microlearning is a great way to create “mindfulness moments” by scheduling one-minute “interruptions” every ninety minutes for breathing exercises or chair yoga stretches.
Ergonomics and workplace safety
eLearning can provide information on proper ergonomics and workplace safety practices to help employees prevent injuries and reduce physical strain.
eLearning modules can guide your learners on budgeting, saving, investing, and other financial topics to help employees manage their money and reduce financial stress. No one wants to admit to financial illiteracy, so the privacy of eLearning helps people learn without embarrassment.
Mental health and well-being
eLearning modules can address mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and burnout. They can also provide guidance on building resilience, coping with stress, and improving overall emotional well-being. Again, the privacy and personalization of adaptive online training allow for scenario-based training options to be presented to the right learner at the right time.
Time management and productivity
eLearning modules can provide guidance on time management techniques, productivity tips, and other strategies for improving work-life balance and reducing stress. Consider the time spent on eLearning as an investment that pays dividends.
Health and safety in the workplace
eLearning modules can provide information on workplace health and safety topics such as fire safety, first aid, and emergency preparedness. Do you know where the fire extinguisher is? The first-aid kit? This is a great area to develop retention training for a safer workplace.
Healthy eating and nutrition
eLearning modules can provide guidance on healthy eating habits, portion control, meal planning, and other nutrition-related topics. Quality content debunks the fads and trends and can promote healthy eating and body image – personalized to the learner.
Substance abuse prevention
eLearning modules can provide information on the risks associated with substance abuse, as well as strategies for preventing substance abuse and seeking help if necessary. This training can save jobs and lives for those who need help and their families who also need assistance.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
eLearning modules can provide education and training on cultural sensitivity, unconscious bias, and inclusive workplace practices. Diversity, equity, and inclusion training is a great way to break down cultural barriers and build bridges between your diverse team members through courses designed to educate and edify, celebrating equity and inclusion.
There’s no area of wellness that eLearning cannot deliver. The next question is – “How?” Stay with me; I’ll get you there.
How do you add eLearning to your employee wellness offering?
The benefits are clear. Science has spoken. So has the anecdotal evidence. People who take even the smallest steps toward wellness are happier, healthier, and less stressed. They bond emotionally with those on a similar journey, building trust and creating camaraderie – wellness is team-building!
There are several ways to incorporate wellness eLearning into your organization.
With its built-in scheduling flexibility, your entire team, including remote employees, can access wellness information and resources where and when they are ready to learn. eLearning allows employees to learn at their own pace, time, and location. This is particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules who may find it challenging to attend in-person wellness programs. You can offer training webinars to your remote employees if you have sessions that you feel would be best delivered “live.”
eLearning is cost-effective compared to traditional forms of learning. It eliminates the need for travel, accommodation, and other related expenses, which can significantly hinder employee participation in wellness initiatives.
With its built-in adaptive capabilities, eLearning can provide personalized learning experiences to employees based on their unique needs and preferences. It allows for creating tailored wellness programs that address employees’ specific health concerns or challenges.
Enhanced work culture
When you partner with best-in-class eLearning technology with engaging eLearning modules, you empower employees to take charge of their health and wellness education on their terms. If you are trying to make eLearning part of your overall corporate culture, no matter what the topic, adding a wellness component reinforces that you truly care about the well-being of every employee.
That learning culture starts on Day One with employee onboarding and should carry through the employee’s entire tenure of employment. In the same way, you want to use standard eLearning practices like upskilling and reskilling over an employee’s career to help them maximize their potential. Adding progressive wellness training helps reinforce your commitment to their performance as a person, not just an employed economic unit. No matter your business size, adding wellness eLearning to your training mix will provide bottom-line benefits to your employees and your company.
Follow these steps to add eLearning to your employee wellness program
Here’s a four-step plan to incorporate wellness eLearning into your corporate learning culture.
Step 1: Assess your employee wellness needs and goals
Before you pick a program or provider or start building eLearning courses, it’s crucial to assess your organization’s needs and goals. Use surveys, focus groups, and anonymous feedback to identify your employees’ specific health concerns or challenges. Evaluate the effectiveness of current wellness initiatives and determine the desired outcomes of a more comprehensive wellness-focused eLearning program.
Step 2: Identify relevant eLearning resources and tools
You know your goals, wants, and needs. Now identify relevant eLearning resources and tools. This may involve partnering with eLearning providers or creating your own eLearning content (maybe with a bit of help from eLearning course professionals, depending on the bench strength of your in-house team.) The content should be engaging, interactive, easy to understand, and in formats that suit the content – a mix of presentations, videos, interactivities, and more. Plus, quizzes and tests to ensure understanding.
Step 3: Create a plan for integrating eLearning into your wellness program
Working with your chosen provider and resources, your next step is to create a plan for creating and integrating your wellness program into your corporate culture. Identify your target audience for the eLearning program, determine the mode of delivery, schedule the training sessions, and promote the program to employees. You may want to start with a pilot project for your most ardent wellness enthusiasts and let the “water-cooler” promotion begin. Turn your wellness fans into your internal evangelists for the program.
Step 4: Evaluate the effectiveness of your eLearning program
Once you’re up and running, make sure you regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the eLearning program. Watch your key performance indicators (KPIs) for things like
- Reduced absenteeism, tardiness, and sick time
- Improved productivity and performance – however, you measure worker output
- Fewer health and safety incidents or violations
- Overall employee happiness, job satisfaction, ambition – all those subtle signals that healthy people give off that indicate they are loving life right now
Key takeaways for incorporating eLearning as part of your employee wellness initiative
Adding ongoing eLearning into employee wellness initiatives can be a game-changer for your organization, as it promotes healthy behaviors, prevents illnesses, and improves employee well-being. Let’s wrap this up with a few key points regarding incorporating eLearning into your employee wellness program.
- Your people are your biggest ongoing investment. Improving engagement, reducing absenteeism, and minimizing employee turnover (for whatever reason) adds to your bottom line.
- The working world has woken up to the importance of wellness as a critical component of ongoing employee satisfaction – a healthy, happy workplace produces more than its less-well competitor.
- You need to identify what matters to your team, create a plan, and potentially work with a platform and course content providers to deliver world-class wellness training to your team. The quality of both the delivery mechanism and the course content is crucial to learner engagement, training uptake, and employee enthusiasm.
- Evaluate the metrics and soft-skill results, tweak the program according to the leading indicators that point to continued success, and keep your finger on the pulse of what your team needs to embrace wellness.
All this to say – eLearning is a valuable tool that can enhance employee wellness initiatives. When you offer flexible, customized, and engaging eLearning modules, you empower your employees to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health while boosting their job satisfaction and performance. Who doesn’t want happier, more productive team members? I know I do!
When you align wellness eLearning to your organizational goals and values, you build a better company – one organic unit at a time (meaning employees.) Foster a culture of learning and development that includes wellness for the body-mind-spirit to ensure accessibility and inclusivity. Help your employees become better versions of themselves. Isn’t that what wellness is all about?
Susan Hurrell (Neovation.com) – Click here for more articles written by Susan.
With 15+ years of online marketing and online learning experience, Susan loves to share insights about where these two ROI-building practices can intersect and complement each other for your business or organization. Susan has written extensively on areas of wellness for the body/mind/spirit and is a former contributing editor to the Aquarian Online.