If you are going to invest in your employee’s health, long-term results should be the ultimate goal for any employee wellness program. Long-term results come from participants being internally motivated to engage because they want to, not because they are being incentivized.
This intrinsic motivation is a very individual thing. There is no one size fits all employee wellness program that will motivate every person in the same way. However, there are techniques you can incorporate into your wellness programming to encourage the development of intrinsic motivators in your employee population.
If you want employees to be motivated by your program, give them the freedom and flexibility to choose wellness activities they find appealing. Provide a wide range of wellness options and activities allowing your members to do what interests them most.
Show Don’t Tell
Provide employees with the opportunity to seek information and education. They will be much more vested in an activity if they come to the conclusion it is good for their health on their own.
Tell Them Why
Along with letting them figure it out on their own, give your employees the WHY. Let them know the meaning behind the wellness activities you are offering. Informative seminars, coaching options or educational content within your wellness software can help to communicate the purpose behind the activity.
Sure, extrinsic rewards can create short-term adherence to any program but refrain from centering any program on external rewards. Be strategic with the rewards you offer and let the focus be on teamwork and cooperation. Consider incorporating a team challenge (or two) into your program to encourage teamwork within and across groups or locations.
Keep It Social
Speaking of which, create a sense of collaboration in your members. Structure your program so they are encouraged to reach out to others both in person and through technology like journal features, chat rooms and message boards to build relationships that support long-term change.
As your employees build collaborative, social networks within your program, incorporate fun events to support their activity, build camaraderie and accentuate the positive results.
Most Importantly LISTEN
If your wellness software offers the option to survey your members, take advantage of that capability. Your members will let you know what they do and do not like. Take time to identify your employee’s personal goals, listen to what interests them and incorporate that information into your programming to the extent you are able.
Short-term extrinsic rewards are useful when used strategically, but intrinsic motivation is what will make any employee wellness program successful in the long run. Incorporating techniques that foster a sense of ownership and encourage participation for the joy it brings will make any wellness program both enjoyable and more likely to achieve long-term success.