Keys to Participation

Getting employees to participate in your company’s wellness program is essential to the success of the program. If your employees are reluctant to participate, you may end up with less than stellar results. There are many ways to convince your employees that participation is in their best interest. They include:
  1. Make sure you promote the program well before it is implemented and that you promote it every chance you get. The more “hype” the program receives, the better your chances of getting a positive response.
  2. Explain to your employees the benefits that a wellness program will have on their personal life. Make it clear that this is not just a program set up to benefit the company as a whole, but to benefit them individually as well.
  3. Explain how better employee health will bring down the rate in which their co-workers will need to utilize the company’s health insurance plan. The less employees file insurance claims within a company, the easier it is for said company to secure better insurance rates and benefits. This means that insurance premiums and deductibles will go down and, when an employee does need to file a claim, more services will be covered.
  4. Make sure you have included well-received employee incentives and have put them in the forefront during your promotion efforts. Make your employees excited to get started by enticing them with the hope of earning or winning some of these incentives.
This section will explore each of these keys and give you tips on how to make your employees respond positively to each. Promoting Your Program You should begin by promoting your program well before it’s official start date. Start with an employee meeting to announce the program. If you have several hundred employees, meet with your managers so that they can then conduct a meeting with the employees in their department. If you will not be speaking to employees directly, you may want to put together a short introductory video about your vision and the direction you want to go with the program. Your managers can then field a question and answer session. In the weeks between this initial meeting and the start of the program, you may want to send out various memos and put up flyers that remind employees of the benefits this program will have. This stretch of time is intended to give employees a chance to sign up for the program. Since they will be constantly reminded of the benefits for several weeks, it will give those who didn’t sign-up at first a chance to reconsider. Promoting Your Employee Incentives During this promotional period, you should emphasis the employee incentives that the company is offering in exchange for participation. Although a wellness program will benefit an employee’s individual life and health, many people do not look past the immediate future. This is why the participation incentives plan is so important. It gives employees an immediate reward to work toward. Explain the Company Benefits Of course, most people will already know that this program will benefit the company. However, they are likely only looking at it in terms of how it affects the company’s bottom line, not how it can also benefit them and their families. Employees need to be reminded that, as everyone in the company becomes healthier, everyone in the company will benefit. First, if people are sick less, they will go to the doctor less and file insurance claims less. This will help convenience insurance providers to give your company better benefits without raising insurance premiums. So, when you do need to file an insurance claim, more of it may be paid by the insurance provider. Second, when one or several people miss work, it makes everyone fall behind. It may also mean that co-workers have to work harder to fill in for whoever is sick. It is important to make sure they realize that having healthier co-workers means they will not have to pick up the slack as often. Third, the more money the company saves elsewhere, the more room there will be for goodies such as Christmas bonuses. Also, when a company experiences too much profit loss, a round of lay-offs often follows. By helping the company save money, they are helping to prevent this kind of unfortunate event.  Explain the Individual Benefits Although immediate rewards are more appealing to many people, it is still important that your employees realize the impact that better health will have on their lives as a whole. Here are four great reasons that show how a wellness program will positively affect your employees over the long-term. Ÿ  They will have more energy to play with their kids after a hard day of work. Ÿ  Healthy living will help increase their life span, reduce their chance of contracting a series illness like heart disease or diabetes, and will make them feel better overall. Ÿ  This program will help them manage stress more effectively, thus making them happier. Ÿ  They will be more productive at work, which may lead to raises and bonuses in the future.