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Rethinking Innovation

The value of health and well-being programs


By Peter Henderson

A successful health and well-being program can be a valuable business management tool, helping you to increase employee loyalty, retention and attraction, while boosting productivity and innovation.

A 2016 Well-Being & Engagement Report by Limeade and Quantum Workplace, reports staggering results from a survey of 1,276 employees across 45 U.S. markets. Comparing employees who feel a “higher well-being” (HWB) vs. those with a feeling of “lower well-being” (LWB):

• 88 per cent of HWB employees feel engaged at work, vs. 50 per cent for LWB employees.

• 83 per cent of HWB employees enjoy their work, vs. 41 per cent for LWB employees.

• 84 per cent of HWB employees are loyal to their teams, vs. 54 per cent for LWB employees.

• 84 per cent of HWB employees recommend their company as a great place to work, vs. 48 per cent for LWB employees.

How to get to HWB status?

The following is an abbreviated version of “10 Rules” for a Successful Well-being Program published in a 2015 white paper Workplace Well-Being by the International Interior Design Association.

1. Position C-suite as well-being champions. Leaders need to be accessible, visibly participate and encourage others to do so. Data tells us when employers genuinely care about the health and well-being of their people engagement skyrockets.

2. Use all of your communication tools. Answer “What’s in it for me?” Consider using social media to reach people where they are, and add some emotion by sharing success stories that show how your program is making a difference.

3. Start strong. Make sure key managers sign up right away, so they can authentically challenge their teams to get fired up.

4. Play up local pride. Keep activities fresh, fun and relevant to your company and community. Consider including volunteering and the broader meaning and teamwork it builds.

5. Provide meaningful incentives. Reach out to employees to find out what motivates them – Recognition? Prizes? Cheaper insurance? It may vary by employee type or location.

6. Throw out the cookie cutter. The look and feel should emulate your brand and vibe. It has to feel like it’s coming from within. Blend the familiar with something new and inspirational.

7. Keep it fresh. Choose at least five challenges or campaigns per quarter, and make sure there’s something for everyone. Let real-time data and your participation and engagement vendor/partner’s best practices be your guide.

8. Build a network of wellness champions. Recruit a community of employees who are passionate about well-being or have a knack for rallying the troops. Give them the tools to evangelize the program and publicly recognize their leadership.

9. Know what’s working and change what’s not. The lifeblood of your program is setting measurable, relevant objectives and tracking metrics regularly.

10. Share your story. Once your program starts driving positive outcomes, shout it from the rooftops. This will help justify your investment, highlight your department’s innovation and best of all it will spur a virtuous cycle of engagement from your people. Peer testimonials personalize your program and can give skeptics the proof they need to get involved. They also help you attract new, evangelical talent to your company.

Peter Henderson is a director on the board of the Agri-food Management Institute (AMI). He is also founder and managing director of Ideovation, a Toronto-based growth strategy services company. Contact him at [email protected]


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