4 ways to align your employee wellness program with company goals
By: Mady Peterson
Research has proven again and again that an effective employee wellness program must show care for the whole person. Financial, physical, mental health — they’re all interconnected. To change one, you need to address them all. An integrated approach is the only way to drive measurable employee wellness results.
And yet when it comes to our companies — the business goals and cultural norms and company values — employee wellness programs are far from integrated. We may accept whole person, but not whole company.
By siloing employee well-being, we reduce our ability to improve it. It shouldn’t be an individual responsibility, but a company-wide imperative. People engage when they feel like they’re part of a community. Customizing your employee wellness program to reflect your company culture gives your team that chance to recognize themselves. It also gives you an opportunity to reinforce your broader business strategies. By tying your business, people and wellness strategies together, you can make each of them more memorable, and more successful.
Employee wellness program examples that prove the impact on company health
Imagine a hospital trying to differentiate itself with high-quality care. To deliver on that business strategy, staff must be highly engaged with their patients. The relevant people strategy is to hire and reward those who know how to create deep and meaningful connections. The wellness strategy supports both the hiring and retention of those people, and their ability to do their jobs once hired. By focusing on a wellness strategy that reduces physical, financial and mental health concerns, the hospital is able to remove personal distractions so patients can have full employee attention.
This example employee wellness program will look different than another organization’s, because it’s responding to the hospital’s unique combination of business and people strategies. We all have different business priorities. Successful wellness programs connect universal basics — like moving more and managing stress — with unique company needs.
We prove the value of this practice with our LimeMates program. Its design maps to our mission: To measurably improve well-being in the world. Our well-being program constantly reminds employees in finance, customer success, IT and all our departments how their jobs leads to healthier, happier workforces.
Employee’s are critical to your success. So is their well-being. To start connecting your employee wellness program to the strategies shaping the rest of your company, take these four steps:
4 ways to strategically align your employee wellness program:
1. Give an explicit reason why employee well-being matters to the organization.
Post a video of your CEO talking about their personal goals and how the program is helping achieve them. Use your well-being platform to promote charity walks, races and other team-focused events to remind employees that work is a community, not just a paycheck. And let employees take time to volunteer for activities of their choice to foster autonomy, renew a sense of purpose and provide a jolt of motivation.
2. Be mindful of the carrot-and-stick approach to employee wellness programs.
Align your wellness program design and incentives to specific business strategies. Sometimes rewards fail to motivate people because they ignore intrinsic motivation. Employees need to feel their input matters and that they’re valued. The wellness initiative can strategically support the creation of that culture through program design and rollout. For example, create a set of challenges around coming up with new ideas to solve a particular business problem. Reward those who participate and acknowledge their commitment to bettering the organization.
3. Talk about employee health wellness in a voice that matches the company culture.
The company mission and values lead the organization forward, drive behavior and remind employees what they’re working toward. Well-designed programs should reinforce this at every turn, orienting newbies and reconnecting veterans in need of a boost. Employees need more out of their jobs than a paycheck, and a strong mission is key for a higher sense of purpose. Barry Schwartz has great advice and dives deep into the complex purpose of work.
4. Share data across groups that engage employees.
HR, employee engagement, learning and development, volunteering, marketing and leadership can each leverage the data in a different way. At Limeade, our Finance Team noticed low participation in our 401(k) offering. After sharing the data with our People Team, they decided to automatically enroll all employees at 1% and communicated the change through our well-being platform with the option to opt out. By sharing data, our organization can better support financial well-being.