It’s likely that any workers already exercising regularly, eating healthily or improving their health in other ways will jump on new workplace-based opportunities to further invest in their wellbeing.
Your program can benefit from their enthusiasm: they can encourage others to join in and take up a new activity while they are ‘stuck at work’.
Your challenge will be to ‘activate’ workers who may be reluctant to participate. Maybe they think they need to be fit to start with, or that they’ll get too sweaty for work hours, or their boss won’t let them take time to join in. Here’s some ways to address those perceptions.
Strategies for engaging workers
- Make sure everyone knows your managers support the program. If managers support and take part in activities, it will give others ‘permission’ to take part, too.
- Make sure workers contribute their ideas to the program. Hopefully you’ve surveyed their needs and set up a working group to come up with ideas, plan and implement activities. Once things are rolling out, get workers’ feedback to find out what is working and what can be improved.
- Tell people ‘what’s in it for them’. Outline the health benefits they should see by going for a walk (or run or bike ride) at lunch, giving up smoking, eating a banana from the fruit bowl, or learning how to meditate with a guest speaker.
- Invite family and community members to take part in your events. Some workplaces go for walks after work, and this may be perfect for friends and family to join. This will increase participation and interest.
- Have your facilities in order. Have somewhere for people to change their clothes, stash their sneakers, and to freshen up after a lunchtime walk.
Strategies for engaging your managers
Your senior managers may have questions about your wellbeing program: how much time and money will it take to implement? What’s the benefit to workers and the business?
Gather your costings and some research on the benefits of wellbeing programs.
Make sure your program aligns with your organisational goals, vision and culture. Maybe your business has a statement or plan that captures these and that you can build on.
Could your wellbeing program solve a business problem? A wellbeing program can be attractive to potential and current workers alike. It can also help workers be ‘fit for work’, therefore improving safety performance and reducing absenteeism and injury rates.