5 Methods of Motivating Employees To Take Their Health Seriously

Employee health and productivity go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. While there isn't a silver bullet, there are some great methods to motivate your employees to take their health more seriously.

As a wife and mom of 2 busy boys I know how hard it can be to balance work, nutrition, exercise, sleep, family time and professional development. At the end of the day there is little time left for 'me' so I speak from experience when I say that if I'm lacking sleep, haven't been eating well, or exercising regularly, I feel sluggish and less productive at work. Quite simply, I feel blah and lack motivation. 

Working for an industry leader in wellness technology, I'm surrounded by amazing cutting-edge wellbeing vendors, resources and experts in health and productivity, mental health, mindfulness, and alike. So I thought to share 5 methods that you can incorporate into your wellness strategy to help motivate employees to take their health more seriously. 

1. Personalization

You've probably heard time and time again how important a personalized health journey increases the chances of getting people interested in making their health a priority. It's helpful to provide programs and resources that are directly relevant to each individual. For example, employees that aren't at risk or have diabetes aren't really interested in receiving content about this condition. They will start tuning out communications and programs if they aren't personalized and don't directly align with their needs - the perfect way to de-motivate which is exactly what you don't want to do.

HealthFeed delivers contextually specific, targeted and member-specific educational content, micro-targeted health content campaigns, polls/quizzes and more and have become one of CoreHealth's most highly utilized partners because they provide personalized resources. Providing a personalized user experience is a strength of our wellness platform. In fact, we are constantly evolving our technology (learn about our Wellness Compass) to further personalize and enable our partners to design and deliver flexible programs that truly resonate with each user.

2. Variety and Options

It's important to remember that everyone is different with unique interests, schedules and preferences. While offering an onsite gym at your office may be the perfect solution for some employees, it could be intimidating as heck for others. Why not provide both options? Yes, cost is always a consideration but it's also important to remember that providing options may engage people that wouldn't otherwise be engaged.

For example, just because you offer an onsite gym, doesn't mean you shouldn't also offer online exercise programs such as Exercise.com that employees (and their families) can do from the comfort and convenience of their own home. Wellness strategies that incorporate variety and options that give more choice to participants goes a long way.

3. Gauge Readiness and Plan Accordingly

In my opinion, one of the fun things about marketing is getting into 'your buyer's heads' and understanding what makes them tick. What motivates them? What are their pains? What can you say or do that will help potential buyers recognize the value you bring to the table and why your product or service will help them accomplish their goals? It's not as easy as you would think!

What is each individual employee's WHY?

Learning your employee's WHY for improved health can be difficult to do without having a truly personal relationship with each employee. While this may be feasible for smaller companies, it's almost impossible for larger organizations. That's where incorporating psychographics into your workplace wellness programs can help. 

Through psychographic segmentation each communication is designed to appeal to employees’ intrinsic motivations, helping them understand the personal benefits of a wellness program.  This enhances the likelihood of participation and improves ROI. 

4. Leaders That Demonstrate Healthy Behaviors

One of my biggest pet peeves is when it seems everyone is on the bandwagon to implement a wellness program but then leadership demands that you work over the weekend, sets unrealistic expectations or doesn't respect your off-hours time whether it be evenings or vacation. Leadership truly does 'set the tone' for your organization. If you don't have a healthy employee population that is productive, looking in the mirror is one of the first things leaders should do.

Leaders should ask "am I demonstrating values and behaviors that provide a safe, encouraging and supportive work environment?" If the answer is no, then there is work to do with your leadership team first before you can realistically expect positive behaviors to trickle downstream.

It's common knowledge that Leadership Involvement is an essential component to successful wellness programs. Wellness expert Laura Putnam says "many senior leaders aren't really serious [about corporate wellness]. Many leaders feel they need to ‘do wellness' but then don't participate. There are exceptions but generally speaking, not enough leaders truly care if their employees are healthy and well.”

A recent publication The Art of Health Promotion  - The Global Health Issue mentions a 4-week activity challenge with 8 participating global organizations delivered by a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Network and created by Bupa Healthcare and what contributed to program success. Dr. Paul Zollinger-Read, BUPA CMO, said "the team spirit and peer-to-peer support across all positions within the company kept people motivated."

Leaders that participate and truly care about employee health can make a significant difference.

I hope there are a few leaders reading this blog!

5. Coaching

I recently learned about a good friend that has struggled with maintaining a healthy lifestyle in recent years. The demands of raising a young family had taken it's toll and she was tired of the rollercoaster of diets and quick fixes. She sought the help of a personal trainer who is helping her regain some resemblance of her former self and re-learning how to eat better and exercise in new ways (incorporating weight training vs just getting on the treadmill). From the results I saw, she's on an amazing path to personal improvement. She had a plan! I immediately saw she felt better about herself, that she was making positive changes and felt motivated and optimistic about the future. Isn't that what you want for your employees? To feel engaged and good about themselves? 

A personal trainer is very much like an employee health coach. From what I have heard from our customers (who are wellness providers), health coaching is an integral part of workplace wellness strategy. Our customer MercyCare Business Health Solutions says "their coaching programs are always in demand as they have the biggest positive impact and receive the most positive participant feedback. They closely measure coaching program success through pre and post-service evaluations." If you have any doubt, read our blog Corporate Health Coaching - Does it Work?

One-on-one health coaching is typically available to employees through in-person, telephonic and/or video-based programs (watch how we help our customers deliver coaching programs). Alternatively, there are self-directed coaching programs for employees who may not feel comfortable working with a 'live' coach or simply prefer the privacy and convenience of doing it on their own. CoreHealth works with several leading health coaching vendors including American Institute of Preventive Medicine, Pro-Change, Resilient Living, and WellcoachesHabits.

Health coaches help people develop a plan and keep them on track to achieving their goals. Everyone needs a cheerleader in their corner, a health coach is a great solution with no bias or preconceived notion about you. They are there to truly help.

To Sum It Up

As you can imagine, these are just some of the many methods available to motivate employees to get them engaged in their health and ultimately boost their productivity and job performance. I believe everyone truly wants to do well and feel well - sometimes you just need to figure out what the right recipe is to help people live well at home and at work.

Contact CoreHealth

About CoreHealth Technologies

CoreHealth Technologies Inc. is a leading all-in-one corporate wellness platform trusted by wellness providers to power their health and wellbeing programs for 3+ million employees worldwide. At CoreHealth, we believe that developing the best employee wellness programs is all about giving providers the right code, design and access to best-in-class innovations. With the most customization, integrations and reliability of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s powerful platform lets users focus on growing great wellness companies. For more information, visit the CoreHealth website or visit our YouTube Channel.