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5 Ways To Help Keep Your Employees Engaged In Your Wellness Programs

By Lisa Kretchman | January 14, 2019 | Life at Blue Cross NC

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“New Year, New You!”

A common phrase we hear accompanied by a list of resolutions. Whether it’s to exercise more, lose weight, eat healthily, quit smoking or spend less, most resolutions are made with the intent of bettering ourselves and improving our overall health and well-being. Starting with a clean slate on January 1st gets us energized and motivated to adjust our busy schedules and create new habits in an effort to meet these goals.

The unfortunate reality is that only about 8% of people actually meet their New Year’s resolution goals.[1]  As employers, we are continuously offering our employees opportunities to meet their goals with programs that will improve their health. However, we slowly start to see that motivation and drive lose its speed and those numbers drop off. How can we keep engagement levels high and that motivation to reach these goals going?

Well, here are 5 ways you as an employer can keep engagement levels in wellness programs high year-round, and help your employees be successful in meeting their goals.

Incentives are a great way to boost participation

Positive rewards, such as gift cards, prizes, raffles or employee perks are all effective ways to get employees to participate in programs and activities. It is important to consider your organization’s demographics as well as the timing in which the incentive will be provided (what will benefit them the most) when planning an incentive strategy.

Communication Strategies

If employees don’t know what is being offered to them, how can they be expected to participate? It is important to have a good communication strategy in place. Making sure that your employees know your company’s goals, the mission, and vision as they pertain to wellness, and know what programs are being offered and the benefits they will receive from them is key. You want to provide enough information so they understand their options without feeling overwhelmed by opportunity or directions. Content calendars are a great idea to communicate what is up and coming. It’s a great way for employees to look ahead and make a plan as well as stay encouraged and excited about upcoming events. Take advantage of your company’s social media platforms to communicate offerings and keep employees educated and engaged.

Wellness challenges/Stress-relieving activities

Part of making sure that employees engage is to make sure that you are making things fun. Most people love friendly competition and when you award a “winner” or transform programs and activities into games, it not only increases comradery, it helps with accountability and gets people interested. Making programs fun also helps alleviate some of the stress that we so often deal with in the office. In addition, try adding in some stress-relieving activities once a month, such as a yoga or Pilates class, or offer chair massages to help employees avoid getting “burnt out”. When work volume and stress levels are high, the appeal of adding in additional activities may not be!

Involve employees in design and implementation

Everyone wants to know they have a voice. Hearing what employees want/need is one thing, but to incorporate it into programs and activities is another. If you don’t already, consider starting a wellness committee or use wellness champions to help promote your programs. Take the time to survey employees and review their feedback.  Hear what works and what doesn’t and adjust as needed.


Make sure you are celebrating successes and letting your employees know that they are valued by celebrating goals that are met or thanking them for their participation. Recognition can also be viewed as an incentive for some. Knowing that they are bettering themselves and that you, as their employer, are fully supportive of that and want to add to their success makes them feel valued and will not only better themselves physically and mentally but most likely improve their overall work performance and attitude. Make sure that leadership is actively involved in these programs and offerings too. The culture of a company starts at the top – if senior leadership is on board and involved in the program, this can add extra value and will show that leadership fully supports your employees’ overall health and well-being.

[1] MSNBC News, 2017 New Year’s Resolutions: The Most Popular and How to Stick to Them, (Jan 1, 2017).