Wellness Initiatives in the Workplace: The Dos and Don’ts
employee wellness initiatives

The majority (52%) of U.S. businesses offer corporate wellness programs, and it’s easy to see why. Wellness initiatives provide numerous benefits for employees’ mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. 

Not all wellness initiatives are created equal, however; they aren’t a one-size-fits-all and there are many factors that affect their success. Here is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to implementing wellness initiatives in the workplace so that you can reap the most benefits out of them. 

Things to do when it comes to wellness initiatives in the workplace

1. Research

It’s important to research what your options are. There are a vast number of wellness initiatives out there, and the right ones to implement for your workplace will depend on factors such as your company’s:

  • Industry
  • Company culture
  • Employee struggles
  • Employee preferences
  • Budget

And more. Once you have narrowed your choices down, then you can conduct workplace-level research by surveying employees. The employees are the ones whom these initiatives will impact and so it’s imperative that you know what it is they want and need. 

That knowledge is the cornerstone of impactful wellness initiatives. 

2. Budget

Alongside researching options for initiatives, you must budget. Remember that the initiatives you put in place serve many different functions. They can act as care, rejuvenation, support, and flexibility. They are an investment in the wellbeing of employees, but also in their productivity and quality of work. 

As such, they deserve a fair budget. Your budget will need to include incentive costs, marketing expenses, the cost of setting up and running the wellness initiatives, and the promotional materials as well. 

You can enquire about discounts for bulk memberships at any health or fitness centers you are partnering with, make deals with other providers, and look into (free) online options for any support you want to offer. 

It’s worth noting that even with a small budget you can offer your employees a lot of value. There are plenty of free or low-cost options like a lunchtime walking group that can help employees meet physical and mental wellness goals. 

3. Decide 

You’ll need to get managers, partners, and any other influential persons on board with the implementation of a wellness program. It’s important that everyone understands the many benefits that these programs can provide and that they are investments in the most valuable asset any company has – employees. 

Beyond this, you must also decide on goals. Be clear on the goals that you are trying to reach with these initiatives, how you will measure their success, and how often you will check in with employees to see how they feel about them. 

4. Incentivize

After deciding on the initiatives you’d like to implement and the goals you’d like to achieve with them, it’s time to think about how to incentivize them. Some initiatives are their own incentive, like working remotely, flexible time off, and health insurance. Others, like gym memberships or yoga classes, might need a little more of a push to join. 

Even though your employees have goals that they want to achieve, they may have different obstacles stopping them from easily reaching these goals such as a lack of time or energy. Some of them might even feel like their time could be used better. 

Incentives encourage participation. They should be offered for beginning, reaching milestones in, and completing programs. 

Some examples of incentives are:

  • Cash 
  • Vouchers
  • Discounts
  • Lucky draws
  • Coupons

5. Use technology

There truly is an app for everything. You can provide your employees with the tools they need to monitor and track their health and progress, keep notes, and discuss and share progress with others. 

In fact, BetterYou offers a Healthy Habits Companion that can help your employees along their wellness journey. We let your employees set the goals that they care about and help them reach their goals with sustainable, effective methods. 

Things to avoid doing when it comes to wellness initiatives in the workplace

1. Think that you and only you know what’s best 

Every action you take that has anything to do with wellness initiatives must not come from you alone. It should be an informed action that draws on what your employees want and need as well as leaders, managers, and other higher-ups approve and agree on. 

2. Ignore maintenance 

Wellness initiatives need constant care. You can’t just introduce them and expect them to run smoothly without surveillance. Check in on them in a timely manner and try and answer these questions regularly:

  • Is the initiative running as it should be?
  • Are the goals being reached?
  • Are employees satisfied with incentives, goals, and the accessibility of them both?
  • Do employees have enough information on how to access these initiatives and benefits?
  • Can all employees access the initiative?
  • Is there anything about the initiatives that needs to be tweaked?

3. Neglect accessibility

Even the best and most expensive initiatives mean nothing to employees if they have no idea how to access them. You need to make sure that all of your employees know about wellness initiatives, how to take part in them, where to go if they need more information and actually have and be able to provide that information.

4. Not listen to feedback 

As with all leadership tasks, you have to listen to feedback. When employees or others in leading roles say that something is or isn’t working, listen. Examine why they’re giving this feedback and what their reasoning is and then see if this feedback is echoed across the office. 

If enough people are saying the same thing isn’t working, then it’s definitely time for a reevaluation of the wellness initiative. If everyone likes something, don’t change it!

Take the initiative to improve employee wellness

Employees are the backbone of a company and they deserve all the support and investment that their company can offer. 

Wellness initiatives don’t just show employees you care, they’re great for boosting productivity, morale, efficiency, creativity, and overall happiness and drive. Take the time to invest in your employees and enjoy the wonderful results. 

The BetterYou app uses behavior science to improve digital health and make it stick.

Want to learn how?