Most people would agree that creating a healthy, happy, productive workforce is a wonderful goal that can be supported through corporate wellness programming.
May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, which, according to the website, is an international initiative aimed at promoting “the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to employers and their employees through worksite health promotion activities and environments.”
While a culture of wellness is something you can cultivate in your organization any time of year, May is as good a time as any to really reflect on the place wellness programming has in your company and the qualities that make it successful.
The ultimate overarching question you should ask yourself is this:
Is your wellness program truly embedded in your company in a way that your employees do not have to choose between creating healthy lifestyle habits and fulfilling the duties of their job?
Breaking it down for further reflection:
Is your workspace in alignment with what you want to accomplish?
If you are preaching healthy weight but the only snack options are a vending machine full of M&M’s and every meeting serves pizza and soda, you are not supporting the change you want to see.
It’s not just the physical environment. It’s the mental environment too:
Does your company culture match your wellness program goals?
You can’t push your people to stop smoking and lose weight while you’ve created a pressure cooker of a work environment that leads people to find relief from the stress by, you guessed it, overeating and smoking.
Are your benefits and wellness programs aligned?
Work can be a stressor but change, even for the better, can be stressful. Make sure your company benefits like counseling offerings through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) support the goals of your wellness programming.
Along this vein, voluntary medical screenings, fitness assessments or education sessions can educate employees about their current health status, help them set goals for improvement, and identify high-risk individuals that my need more intense support.
Bonus Benefit: aggregate data gleaned from these screening can give you a snapshot of your population to help you steer future programming. It’s your finger on the pulse of your workforce.
Are your programs flexible and accessible?
Variety is the spice of both life and a healthily lifestyle. Not everyone will need weight loss programming. Maybe for some, sleep habits are a greater focus over exercise. Next month that could change. If you have the resources, don’t silo your people into one singular program. Make sure your programming offers options everyone can get behind.
That said if you are a company of 12 and everyone wants to do a step challenge, read your population and respond.
Whether you choose to engage in special “health promotion activities” for Global Employee Health and Fitness Month or not, May is a great time to reflect upon what your current wellness program offers and be mindful of ways to embed your program goals into the fabric of your company so that it will succeed.