6 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CORPORATE WELL-BEING INITIATIVES FAIL.
Updated: Feb 9
Or things to cover to launch with success!
By now most of us have signed up for a webinar that we never attended, purchased an online course we never opened or downloaded an App we have never used.
It happens. Life gets busy and when it comes to “self-care” and “self-development” both tend to take the back burner – even when the education is free! When it comes to learning about wellness subjects like “How to reduce stress and anxiety” we might need it but it is still work.
Work in the sense that it requires our time and attention. And usually, if we need to learn it we have had an aversion up to this point. The aversion does not go away because we signed up to harness the skill.
First, let’s define wellness and get on the same page.
Wellness: A condition obtained when a person achieves a level of health that minimizes the chances of becoming ill. Wellness is achieved by a combination of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental health. ~Oxford Dictionary
Now let’s define corporate wellness initiatives.
Any attempts made by a company to help employees balance their health in the areas of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and the environment through education or experience.
Common examples are hosting fitness/yoga sessions, team-building cooking classes and or gifting a meditation App. These gifts and experiences can be live, recorded, onsite, online, on company time or off. Each with its list of pros and cons.
When companies make the effort to do something nice for the team and it’s not appreciated the common reaction by organizers and/or leaders who foot the bill is “Well-being programs don’t work, we tried”.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “We tried hosting yoga in the lunch room years ago no one came, wellness does not work here”, I’d be rich.
There are a million other initiatives to try but I’ll save that for my next article. And sidebar, as a massive Yoga fan myself, getting into stretchy clothing over your lunch hour in front of colleagues is not for everyone.
The question I want you to ask yourself today is “Did you make an effort?”
This is the hard question and requires honesty. How hard did you try? How badly do you want the team to be healthy? You are agile and thoughtful in business. Are you with these initiatives too?
My biggest learnings since founding WELLOGA 3 years ago and working with 20+ companies is summarized into the 6 questions below. How to avoid failure.
What to ask yourself when your corporate wellness initiatives fail?
#1 -Did YOU go? Did YOU use it?
We can’t expect others to change if we don’t lead the way. The most successful events and roll-outs happen when CEOs and senior leaders show up. I know you are busy but you need to be healthy too. Opt for things you can be a part of to get things rolling.
You are the Workplace Influencer" – employees what to humanize you, let them.
Your success rate will skyrocket if you participate and that’s a promise.
#2 - Did you ask for your team's input?
The number one mistake is assuming what is trendy or working for another company is going to work for you. As leaders, we sometimes believe we know what’s best. But, when it comes to something personal like managing health polling for interest is key.
People want to have a voice. Some of these gifts may require personal time and dedication outside work so you will avoid wasting money if you have buy-in. Take the time to ask. This also generates excitement and anticipation for a launch.
#3 - Did you tell employees what the benefits are?
I’m not referencing the blurb in the invitation email. Does the team understand why this effort is being made? For example, when hosting a series of movement classes host an opening session first explaining that exercise is the best way to increase grey matter and what grey matter is and how it will improve their performance at work.
Another example is to announce that the upcoming emotional intelligence sessions are going to help you become better negotiators and we are looking to grow our sales team.
Or, explain how meditation helps balance your hormones like reducing stress, improving happiness and quality of sleep. Do this before dropping the App.
Share the why! This also helps to break down people’s biases on certain subjects.
#4 - Was there an incentive in place?
At the beginning of this article, I opened up by saying we have all signed up for something and not followed through. The same thing applies here. Even if the initiative is chosen by the team we are still human and often we need that dangling carrot to keep us on track. Get creative and let the incentive be known.
For live events, a great incentive is having a draw at the end for a prize (think a $25 gift card). Ask people to write their name and answer the skill-testing question in the comments field and they will be entered into the draw. More people will commit to staying and listening. It might seem simple but everyone likes a little friendly competition and who doesn’t love a gift card? The main goal is to recognize people who are going and reward them in a meaningful way. Noticing their attendance and saying hello personally is golden.
#5 - Were other meetings running at the same time as your initiative?
Hands down the best time to host a live wellness experience (onsite or online) is during business hours. It shows employees the importance and that you are willing to give company time for them to learn. (FYI taking up the lunch hour does not count).
For the same reason as above we need to make things easy. As long as there are ‘business meetings’ people will always attend those first. Strategic well-being initiatives will target people's ability to do their jobs better or with more satisfaction so it should be a win-win for everyone in the long run.
If you have a speaker coming in to talk about racism in the workplace ask leaders not to run another meeting at that time so everyone goes, another way to ensure inclusion. The same thing applies to any subject you are drawing importance to. What does your team need?
All leaders should be on board and make it a priority. The program won't survive otherwise.
#6 - Did you ask for feedback?
Asking for feedback allows us to weed out unsuccessful initiatives from initiatives that need adjustment like time of day for example. Feedback highlight obstacles for attending, opinions on the subject matter and delivery style chosen.
For example, you could have a self-led stress management course with fantastic content that never gets used, then you decide to deliver it live and everyone wants to go. It’s a matter of determining what works best for your team and your setup. Balancing what the team wants with what the business can realistically provide.
Getting everyone involved is important from CEO's participation, to leadership buy-in and giving the greater team choice. When it comes to deserving balanced health we are all equal.
I hope you found this article helpful. I'd love to hear your comments.
Don’t throw in the towel for a future corporate well-being program. Options are endless and I’m happy to troubleshoot with you anytime.
You can also check out BESPOKE STRATEGIES or WELLBEING EXPERIENCES tabs on the website.