Creating workplace wellness programs is daunting. The entire process goes through a million events and communications, including finalizing a budget, convincing the management, and creating a program that can engage employees.
Despite all the effort, many workplace wellness programs fail.
The alarming scenario can be easily predicted with the low employee engagement, unsatisfactory progress, and poor outcomes.
While it can be pretty demoralizing, it is important to understand why the employee wellbeing program failed to fill in the loopholes.
Here are 5 common reasons why most employee wellness programs fail.
1. Inadequate Management Support
The first step to the success of any workplace program is to instill willingness in the management. Only when the senior executives and leaders are actively involved and participate voluntarily will it encourage the workforce to follow suit. Most senior leaders act as influencers at the workplace. So having them actively participating and involved in the wellness activities can convince people to do better in the workplace programs. So, in addition to visible involvement in the program, having a leader or senior executive as a designated member of the wellness committee can be a great idea.
2. Lack of Wellbeing Program Flexibility
Employee engagement is vital for the success of employee wellbeing programs. The program modules, activities, and overall offerings must be exciting and relevant to the employee wellbeing requirements. So the program must have a proper structure with a solid timeframe, defined goals, wellness challenges, and other modules. Else, it can be difficult to engage the workforce.
The 3 key concerns regarding the wellness program structure can include –
- Program format
- Company events
- Dedicated managing resources
To start with, employees must be aware of everything regarding their workplace wellness programs. From the date of launch to the program end date, sign-up details, registration for events, and more, all the details must be clearly communicated to the workforce.
Wellness challenges must include seasonal challenges, company events, and fun activities to keep the employees engaged. Also, the format must be fixed, irrespective of the challenges, to make sure employees can predict the sign-up and participation details. For example, if a challenge starts in March and ends in May, the registration must be completed by mid-February, and points accrued by the end of May, regardless of the challenge type. So, the fixed format of the wellbeing programs must be where employees know that they must sign-up for the corporate wellness challenge at least 10 – 15 days before the challenges start and accrue points before it ends.
Company Events and Core Wellness Challenges
The key objective of the workplace wellness program is to boost the overall employee wellbeing and workplace culture. If the workforce is not conveyed with the right message or understands how the program benefits them, they are less likely to participate. Typically, company events and core wellness challenge ideas are annual or half-yearly events where the entire company comes together. Everything about the employee wellness programs, including the challenges, rewards, incentives, and goals can be introduced at such events. With the entire workforce coming together for an event where employee wellbeing is the core topic can be motivating and effective.
Dedicated Resources Management
When something new begins, it is bound to gather curiosity and queries. Similarly, with the employee wellness programs, the workforce will have questions. Having a dedicated resource to manage the workplace program will give the employees an easy path to approach to resolve their queries. Moreover, involving a senior member in the wellness committee can add value to the program. Also, having a full-time wellness coordinator will make sure the workforce has 24 x 7 support available for them.
3. Does not Offer Enticing Rewards and Incentives
One common cause of the lack of employee engagement is the fizzling interest. For instance, many employees may sign up for the challenges at the start. But with time, they might lose interest in it and may drop out, leading to a drop in the success rates of the workplace wellness program. Ultimately, the drop in progress will lead to losing support from the management.
Offering rewards and incentives are effective employee engagement strategies. They can encourage employees to complete their challenges and eventually cultivate healthy habits. However, offering the best-suited incentives is crucial. For example, offering a gym reimbursement gift card for someone with arthritis or not-fit-for-the-gym will be a waste. Also, it will interest the individual to put effort to earn the incentive. Conducting pulse surveys can help in knowing employee interests regarding the best-fitting incentives. Ask questions if they felt earning the incentive was worth all the effort. Based on the answers, employers can redefine their incentive programs in line with employee expectations.
4. Does not Meet Specific Health and Wellbeing Requirements
Many workplace wellness programs fail because they just do not address the specific employee health and wellbeing needs. While it makes sense to align the wellbeing program modules with the latest corporate wellness trends, it is also important to deeply consider the specific interests and requirements of the workforce.
Apart from incorporating fun wellness challenge ideas, the right corporate wellness technology and program modules must be regarded.
- Program modules – Studies show mental health issues have been rising, especially since the pandemic. Poor mental health has affected overall employee wellbeing and productivity. Offering the right mental wellness resources can be of great help. Since it is the need of the hour, the employee engagement rates could be good enough. Likewise, having a holistic approach to employee wellbeing programs is much appreciated by most organizations.
- Corporate wellness technology – According to an Oracle report, almost 65% of people prefer AI or talking to robots about their stress instead of their managers. Gamification along with the implementation of advanced wellness software can help with engagement and behavioral changes.
Apart from these reasons, not being aware of the wellness program or its benefits can adversely affect participation and success. So, using the right communication channels to convey every message in detail to the entire workforce is vital.
More importantly, using the right metrics to evaluate the success of the workplace wellness program and employee engagement is essential to understand progress and the loopholes.