The One Tool That Will Transform Your Wellness Program!

The One Tool That Will Transform Your Wellness Program!

The One Tool That Will Transform Your Wellness Program!

Communication.  This one seemingly simple tool is often the game changer for creating a successful wellness program in your organization.  Let’s face it, it can be a game changer for any program beyond wellness too!  I’ve learned a lot through the consulting work we’ve done and have found there are a few golden rules to follow to when considering how to best use this tool:

• Communication must be strong at every level within the organization. Many times, with wellness initiatives the CEO will stand in front of the team and share the exciting news of the wellness offerings, encourage them to engage in the opportunities before them and create a healthy workplace. It’s inspiring but shortly thereafter something happens.  Everyone goes back to their desk, demands pile up, work hours fly by and employees aren’t engaged.  No one shows up for the educational talks, registration for the walking challenge is low and people don’t seem motivated.  We’ve seen it time and time again.  Here’s the reason: the team doesn’t feel they have true permission to take time for their health because there’s a silent message being given that it’s not doable from their direct manager.  Before any news is communicated to the team, it’s vital that the executive team meets with all management to share the goals and expectations around participation in the program.  It is possible to offer space for health in your organization and thrive in business and it all starts with sound communication at every level.

• Communication must be consistent.  Health doesn’t happen when you focus on it here and there.  If your desire is to have great employee engagement and to support them in transforming their health, you must provide consistent, high-value communication.  This can be difficult if you’re managing a full-time job and leading the way with wellness initiatives as a side project.  If this is the case, ensure that the vendor you use for wellness provides you adequate resources to consistently communicate with the team.  Emails, videos, articles, live classes, water cooler talks, and team events are all forms of communication.  Stay in touch with your people, understand their needs and what the program is doing for them, and help them keep health at the forefront of their mind.

• Communication must focus on the SOB’s. This applies to all situations, both personally and professionally. Communication must focus on specific observed behaviors.   Not the emotion that comes up as a result of the situation, or how someone responded.  It’s about the observations that have led you to a conclusion.  I’ve heard folks say, “we tried a wellness program and it didn’t do anything.” This is a pretty broad statement and it is based off opinion versus observation or fact.  Ask the team to document specific observations they have about the impact of the program.  Is the team sharing they have increased energy, or sleeping better as a result of the wellness program?  Is there less turnover or absenteeism as a result?  These are specific observed behaviors that will paint the true story, offer an opportunity to discuss the challenges you might be experiencing, and shift when necessary to create a better outcome.  Many benefits to wellness show up through observation versus spreadsheets and it can take 3-5 years to see a monetary return on your investment.  Focus on the SOB’s to understand the truth of any matter and take steps to adjust when needed.

• Communication must serve a purpose.  We live in a society of communication overload.  Gadgets attached to our hips, messages pinging through the computer screen as you stare at 3,789 new emails that just came in, and phones ringing in between.  We’re all inundated all the time.  Let your team know when they can hear from you about the upcoming wellness offerings. Remind them of this schedule at weekly team pow wows and share the benefits of taking part in the activities. Also, consolidate as often as you can, be concise and to the point, and make sure every word you write serves a purpose.  This will help streamline your communication and hopefully create ease for the team while keeping them informed.

• Communication must be kind, true and necessary.It’s our duty as leaders to set healthy boundaries around communication in the workplace.  Please encourage communication that is kind, true and necessary.  Ask team members to share their success with the wellness offerings, celebrate accomplishments and offer space for constructive feedback too. This is how we’ll learn about the interests of the team, understand how the wellness solutions are supporting them, and uncover how to enhance the opportunities going forward.   Nothing is gained by venting, gossiping and negative words being spread through an organization.  Wellness includes the words we speak to ourselves and others. When we shift our communication to being kind, true and necessary it starts weeding out the words that may cause harm to a team.

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