Why employees don’t participate in your well-being program

Employee Engagement

According to research from RAND Corporation and Gallup, 84% of companies with 1,000 or more employees offer some form of well-being program, but only 40% of employees at those companies participated in the program.

Everyone always says that they want to be healthier and embrace well-being, so what’s holding them back from participating in a program that’s right at their fingertips? The reason employees aren’t engaging with your corporate well-being program probably has more to do with the program and company culture than it does with your individual employees and their motivation.

If you’re struggling to drive employee engagement, see if your well-being program has fallen victim to one of these common pitfalls.

They don’t know it exists!

This may seem like a fairly obvious reason for lack of engagement, but according to Gallup, 60% of people who work at a company that offers a well-being program don’t know the program exists. Maybe your employees would welcome the chance to participate if they knew it was an option.

If you think this might be the case, send out a blast email to the entire company with all the information they need to know (what the program is, how it works, how to access it, etc.), then send out an email once a quarter highlighting a program feature or announcing a new challenge or incentive. Also put promotional and motivational materials, such as posters, up around the office as a constant reminder.

It’s not made a company priority

Now that the entire company knows the program exists, it’s time for the business to walk its talk – putting up signs is not enough.

People are busy at work and at home and to cope with our busy schedules we prioritize. If the company or your well-being program champions (one of the things corporate wellness programs are often missing) don’t actively work to keep the well-being program top of mind it will seem like the company doesn’t really care about engagement.

Don’t set up your program and expect it to run on autopilot. The fact that the company is dedicated to employee well-being and actively pursues and encourages well-being through program engagement needs to be built into your organizational culture and values. Having good incentives may help people get started, but for sustained engagement leaders must walk the talk, and health and well-being must be a priority that employees can see, feel and experience for lasting changes.

Participating isn’t easy

We live in an always-on, always-connected world. If your well-being program isn’t easy to access or doesn’t sync with the fitness devices and apps we already use, it’s not going to be adopted by employees.

Your well-being program needs to be tied to an easy-to-access, easy-to-use portal. To boost engagement even further, choose a program provider that offers a mobile optimized solution. This keeps the program at your employees’ fingertips even when they’re away from a computer and makes it easier to login, track success, find motivation and stay engaged on their smartphone.

Also be sure that the program you use allows people to sync the corporate well-being platform with their preferred fitness tracking devices. Odds are your employees are already using popular devices and apps like Fitbit, Garmin and RunKeeper. Encourage them to engage by letting them keep using the device they already use. The easier engagement is, the more likely employees are to participate.

The challenges and goals don’t align with employee wants

If you don’t like basketball would you go to an NBA game? Probably not. Typically we only prioritize and spend time and energy doing things that we like to do. This same ethos extends to well-being initiatives. If your well-being program doesn’t offer something the employee would like to do, then they’re simply not going to expend the time and energy to engage.

Understanding your company’s climate and culture are crucial to implementing a well-being program that will actually work and generate long lasting engagement and results. (That’s why Total Well-Being programs start with an in depth evaluation of your company and culture.)

Understand the needs, interests and goals your employees would like to achieve and activities, challenges and offerings that they find compelling, then build your program around this knowledge. By offering something employees find interesting, attainable and desirable, you’re more likely to see sustained engagement.

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