Many organisations across Ireland and the UK have come to understand the value of a culture of wellness in their organisation and the benefits that this can provide. While once-off initiatives can be a great starting point, according to the CIPD, they can be difficult to integrate into the workplace and sustain a long term impact. It’s important to ensure any wellness programme that is implemented, no matter how detailed, is rooted in expert-led research behavioural psychology to ensure that when your employees engage in your wellbeing programme, there will be a positive and measurable impact across the whole organisation.
Data & Analysis
While it may seem obvious to state, we know that any decisions across your organisation should be led by data-driven insights. As famed business thinker and Harvard professor Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” The same holds true for wellness programmes. Employees now expect and require a personal experience in their workplace wellness journey. Our wellness experts create all of our programmes based around the findings from the measurement phase of approach and this ensures that all of our programmes are effective and achieve the desired results for each organisation we work with. Each organisation has different wellbeing challenges, so an off-the-shelf programme will not drive the results that leaders and team members required.
Within the research phase, data gathered can provide a holistic view of the current state of wellness in your organisation, and can be utilised to develop a tailored plan for your employees.
With a 90% respondent rate, one of the most effective data gathering activities is an online, readily available organisation-wide wellness survey. The survey should include a general health and lifestyle assessment for all staff with information tailored to the organisation as required. Following this up with structured focus groups can further highlight the needs and objectives of staff and key stakeholders.
At Zevo Health, we collate and analyse the employee wellness data, outlining trends and potential solutions for our clients. It is critical to have a benchmark to measure the effectiveness of a programme before it is implemented throughout a company.
As well as utilising our built-in recommendation features, employees may often require reassurance in that the approach they take to their wellness is backed up by expert-led insights.
A comprehensive wellbeing programme should leverage an expert team, bringing together leading psychologists and Health Coaches with many years of extensive experience working with organisations to design targeted wellbeing initiatives and deliver positive physical and mental health outcomes. Applying this knowledge and experience, your wellbeing programme can offer a platform that actionable insights and recommends evidence-based solutions to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
As mentioned, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to designing an effective employee wellbeing strategy, and content should be based on the needs and characteristics of its team. Employers must avoid the pitfall of developing a ‘menu’ of initiatives that are not adopted by their team. This is achieved by both a holistic approach to employee well-being with collective buy-in as well as alignment towards defined wellness-specific goals and objectives.
With staff in some organisations often located in different locations across the country or world, it can require ongoing efforts to build a healthy and collaborative culture. By implementing tailored wellness programmes and goal-oriented workplace challenges, you can set up regional and group-based challenges which employees can compete in. This is a fun and engaging way to energise your workforce, strengthen teams, encourage healthy habits and connect employees with the company culture.
Culture has a major impact not only on job satisfaction but also your company’s bottom line. In a 2016 study by Deloitte, 82 percent of executives surveyed agreed that a company’s culture could give it a competitive edge in the marketplace. It’s clear that organizational culture is a crucial factor in success and a cohesive approach to wellness is an extension of this.
Inclusion of Physical, Nutritional & Mental Health
A wellness programme should include more than just physical exercise and movement challenges to drive real change. At Zevo Health, we live this every day with our core mission to “Move, Nourish & Inspire”, ensuring physical, nutritional and mental health are all taken into account.
Physical Health: A successful wellness programme should offer the ability to track an employee’s level of activity, as well as offer advice on physical exercises and steps and employee can take to improve their physical health. At Zevo, for example, we have created a hub of videos, created by our health coaches to enable employees as they engage in physical activities, earning badges along the way for completing everyday challenges such as walking, sleeping, meditations or taking part in team challenges. The advent of smart wearables such as Gamin and Fitbit devices, offers in-depth metrics, giving each employee access to track their activity, such as their hydration levels, as well as providing access to a progressive exercise programme. Combining state of the art technology with access to personal trainers, each staff member can obtain one-on-one advice and support on anything to do with exercise, including help in devising a personal plan specific to their individual needs.
Nutritional Health: Similar to physical health, your programme should offer research-based nutritional programmes that fit the needs of each individual employee. Offering dietary tips, tricks and advice, as well as the ability to share recipes among peers is allows employees, including management, to share progress and goals with each other. This vital for employee engagement and motivation.
Emotional health: Research shows that there is a direct correlation between physical health and forming positive emotion. Building positive physical health experiences have been proven to result in increased self-efficacy, the ability to self-generate positive emotions, build resilience and make an individual feel more socially connected. While measuring emotional health can often be a challenge, we can utilise research and expertise to instruct, enlighten and support individuals in our organisations. Emotional health workshops, as part of a tailored programme, aid this as they are focused on supporting employees who may feel stressed and how to manage anger, sadness and negative feelings.
Zevo Health’s App utilises expert-led technology to identify deep-rooted thoughts and triggers, forming healthy habits, faster.
Community & Support
From our experience, many directors and managers seek a solution that enables engagement and communication across all business locations, sectors and departments. An effective wellness initiative should offer that communicability in the form of:
Community Building through leading-edge technology: At Zevo Health, our app allows users to encourage each other, giving recognition to each other’s achievements or simply offering words of encouragement to peers when reaching the next level of a company challenge.
Encouragement from Managers or Company Wellness Champions: Managers or Wellness Champions should have the facility to encourage employees by sending congratulatory messages after achieving goals. Management teams who engage with the wellness programme facilitate buy-in to the programme from the top down.
Rewards Through Badges and Rewards: Similar to the above, features such as this enable management and wellness champions to award custom badges to employees for a number of different achievements, as well as keeping the employee’s engaged by offering fun, low pressure, personal goals and targets they can strive for.
Employees also need to feel confident in the approach they take in managing aspects of their wellness including mental health, physical health, and dietary and nutritional requirements. Automated solutions are not always the most beneficial method in achieving this confidence, potentially leading to a drop off in use. Companies which offer access to Health Coach support, whether online or offline, facilitate engagement with employees through positive daily experiences, helping them build healthy, positive habits that improve their work and personal lives. Zevo Health’s specialist in-house team of Health Coaches, as well as a complementary network of trusted consultants, provide coaching in their relevant discipline through in-app chat support for advice or questions on health, fitness, nutrition and mental wellbeing.
Many wellness programmes fail before they even begin. More often than not, this is a result of a lack of definition regarding what is involved when a wellness programme is introduced into an organisation, leading to less of buy-in from employees, resulting in fewer signups and a poor retention rate in those who do. If employees don’t see the bigger picture, they won’t stick with it!
Wellness Programme providers can aid this onboarding process in a number of areas. What we have determined to be the most effective method for employee adoption and onboarding is assigning of a Key Account Management Team to all of our clients. This team is responsible for the management and development of the programme, as well as keeping a working relationship with key staff, these relationships enable a continued understanding of the needs of each individual client as they evolve over time, ensuring the needs are responded to. If your wellbeing provider doesn’t offer the following support, they may not be worth your time.
- Effective support through timely communication
- Bi-annual or quarterly review meetings with internal representatives
- The ability to identify and customise digital content in line with your organisation’s needs
- Advise internal representatives of relevant wellbeing updates and International best practice developments
- Plan an implementation process to ensure effective launch and service uptake
- Provide recommendations to make the programme more effective
While the widespread adoption of cutting edge smartphones has enabled employees to access information and tools to a greater extent than ever before, it’s important to remember that digital technology isn’t a starting point in driving organisational change. Following a tried and tested research approach in identifying fundamental challenges in teams and using expert-led insight and a tailored strategy will sustain progress and leave a lasting impact in the working and personal life of your team.