Are You Discouraging Participation in Your Wellness Program?

Are you discouraging participation in your wellness program? It’s a disturbing thought, but one that should be considered. If you are seeing participation numbers dip, then it may be time to take an honest look at your wellness program and see what changes need to be made. After all, beautiful communications with low participation means something clearly needs to be changed.

Here are some common pitfalls to watch out for that may discourage wellness program participation:

Stale programming

We are creatures of habit, and it can be tempting to repeat the same wellness calendar year in and year out. It’s okay to offer a routine wellness campaign schedule, but make sure you are spicing it up with new activities, topics, and exciting ways to get people involved.

Perception that you must already be fit to participate

This is an all-too-common reason for people to not take a second glance at wellness activities. Just saying the term “wellness” makes some people immediately feel that it is not for them. Make sure your wellness strategy includes things that are not necessarily fitness- or nutrition-focused. For example, financial and social well-being are other important aspects of health that cannot be underestimated.  Often there is a ripple effect on overall well-being when improvements are made in those areas.

Too much work for those already healthy

Are you asking people to keep a food journal, participate in an online social network, or turn in an activity record at the end of a campaign? For those who are already leading a healthy lifestyle, taking extra time to record what they are doing can be a turn-off unless the incentive is enough to make them consider it. Humana Vitality and Movable offer ways to use devices to reward people for their activity with very minimal work needed to track it. You can also use outcomes-based incentives to ensure that those who have biometrics in the healthy range are rewarded.

Campaigns that are only online

The influx of apps, websites, and devices has made it seem like a no-brainer to move all wellness activities online. Just make sure that there are real-world aspects of your program, too. If you offer an online walking program, incorporate ways for people to engage that are not online, such as “Walk Days” in which people meet up for a brief walk. Make sure your environment reflects your wellness efforts with healthy foods in the break room and at meetings. Imagine what your employees see when they look up from the online wellness program they are participating in. If it’s a vending machine filled with junk food, it’s a contradictory message that should be changed. Flyers with healthy tips or art with positive messages can go a long way to creating a healthy environment.

Don’t be afraid to take the time to review, evaluate, and raise difficult questions. This process is crucial to a wellness strategy that is fresh and engaging.