Seven Simple Ways to Encourage Employee Participation in Corporate Races

Now what? How do your form a team? Your organization has agreed to participate inSign Up Button Shows Members And Subscriptions a corporate 5K race and you want to be well represented. A sign-up sheet has been placed in the break room or on the company portal. You know and understand the benefits of corporate races, but how do you entice your employees to join the team?

Here are six simple ways to encourage your employees to participate in corporate races. Read more of this post

How to Add FUN to Your Employee Wellness

FunStudies have found employees are more likely to engage in wellness when participation has an element of fun. Therefore, how can Wellness Coordinators generate smiles with their wellness initiatives? The good news is that many others have found the answer and we can glean from their creativity.

I’ve heard the complaints. You’ve heard them too.  “I’m not getting the flu shot; I hate needles.” Or “Schedule a physical? No way, I’m fine.” “This is only about saving the company money.” But when a measure of entertainment is added to the wellness programming, participation increases.

Volkswagen Did It

Taking a stairway can be good for health and be fun. Volkswagen desired to increase the use of their stairway which was located adjacent to an escalator. While many organizations have experienced success in encouraging the use of stairways by making the stairway attractive with bright colors or murals, Volkswagen went a $50,000 step further when they Read more of this post

Long Live The Employee!

OldManHave any 100-year-old employees on your payroll? Most likely, you don’t. Yet, what if your employees engaged in healthy lifestyles which enabled them to live 30, 40 or 50 years beyond retirement? I’m not advocating employing 95 year-olds. However, my hunch is if you have employees who will eventually reach the age of 100 then their current physical fitness is contributing to their productivity on the job.

Dan Buettner is the author of The Blue Zones, a New York Times Bestseller. The Blue Zones is a book providing “lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest.” Buettner does not target employers, but the principles shared certainly have implications for employee wellness.

The research is conducted among four groups of people who have a significantly higher percentage of inhabitants living to be centenarians, (100 years of age or older). The four Blue Zone communities are found in the Barbagia region of Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda, California in the United States, and on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

Studies have shown only about 25% of how long we live is dictated by genes—the other 75% is determined by lifestyle and choices. Buettner and his team paid close attention to the lifestyle similarities of these four Blue Zones and developed nine lessons to work into our lives if we desire to live longer…and more productive. What may be surprising to some, however, is many of the lifestyle choices are more “mental or spiritual” than “physical.” This supports a growing understanding of holistic wellness: Wellness programs focusing solely on nutrition and exercise lack essential elements of effective health promotion. Read more of this post

Yes, There ARE Employer Wellness Initiatives that Bring Immediate Results

Most of us who are actively engaged in Employee Wellness will affirm the best initiatives call for patient commitment. Outcome Based employee wellness plans offer long-term and maximum results, but the gratification is often delayed. However, I was recently introduced to a simple initiative that can bring immediate results.  Better yet, not only can it be immediately effective, but the cost is minimal. Read more of this post

How to Avoid the Scarlet Letter in Your Employee Wellness Program

scarletLetterHester Prynne struggled with the open shame and guilt of sin—much like many employees today who are forced to endure the shame placed upon them by well-meaning employee wellness programs.

The name Hester Prynne may not ring the bell of our memory, but many of us remember what she was forced to bear. Hester is the key character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. She gives birth to a daughter, revealing her affair.  Upon being found guilty of adultery in 17th Century Puritan Boston, she is forced to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her dress as a sign of shame.

With employee wellness booming across America, we are seeing some effective initiatives and some flops. Mixed within both spectrums of the attempts at employee wellness success, is the unintended consequence of employee shame. “Laura” is a modern-day Hester Prynne. Read more of this post

Employee Wellness: What are Outcome-based Incentives?

Outcome-based Incentives are the new buzz words in Employee Wellness. As employers look to employee wellness plans to minimize the rising cost of healthcare and keep employees productive and engaged, there is a growing emphasis on outcome-based incentives. Furthermore, with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) encouraging the use of Outcome-based Incentives, their use is expected to spread. Therefore, what are outcome-based incentives?

Outcome-based Incentives are employee wellness programs where employees receive a financial reward for meeting specific health outcomes. In some programs there may also be a penalty for failing to meet the health goals. A primary purpose of Outcome-based Incentives is to increase participation by employees through the motivation of financial reward. Read more of this post

The Best Improvement to Your Employee Benefit Package May Not Cost You Anything

EAPSometimes the best way HR Directors and small business owners can improve their Employee Benefits offering is to better communicate what is already provided.

Often it is the employees who do not take the time to listen to, or read, the information we provide for them. At times, however, we in HR are at fault for not communicating effectively. Typically, we will provide adequate information regarding the most notable benefits such as the retirement plan and health, dental and disability insurance. However, one hidden treasure rarely getting meaningful air-time during the annual open enrollment meeting is the Employee Assistance Program, (EAP).

With stress being a leading cause of medical and disability claims, we owe it to our employees and our organizations to effectively communicate what is provided through the EAP—and communicate it often.

We recently gathered our staff to discuss the wellness offerings we provide for our employees. We introduced a few new initiatives including the opportunity to earn a new pair of exercise shoes, reimbursement for gym memberships and quarterly wellness educational opportunities. However, we used a lengthier segment to explain an underused, and often overlooked, benefit that could have a significant impact on the wellbeing of our employees—our Read more of this post