Now that we’re well into February, chances are many of your employees have already dropped some of their New Year’s resolutions to improve their health. After all, it’s easy to set a goal, but it can be difficult to stick with it -- especially if it’s unrealistic.
People often set health-related goals for the new year -- and employers can help them keep them throughout the year. Here’s how.
Make it a Group Effort
It can be easier to stick to goals when you have support, and enlisting co-workers is one way to do that. “Encourage group weight loss or walking challenges,” says Vince Han, CEO of Coach Alba. “When an employee joins a challenge, they are publicly declaring a goal to be more healthy. Public declarations help people stick with their goal. Group experiences are also proven to be a big contributor to helping people to stick to it.”
Consider Setting Challenges
Pitting departments or teams against each other to take a certain number of steps in a month or lose a certain amount of weight can help as well, Han says. “Challenges naturally bring out the competitor in people which translates into a greater likelihood of sticking with it.”
Provide Some Inspiration
Making it clear to employees that change is possible can get employees on the right track, Han says. Give them a list of achievable goals, such as walking a certain amount of time per day. “Many times, people have the desire for change but don't have a good idea of where to begin, and thinking about it can feel overwhelming. By providing a list of examples, it makes the decision-making process a lot easier for many people.”
Consider Outcome-Based Incentives
Johnette van Eeden, CEO of Star Wellness, advises creating a wellness program with outcome-based incentives. “This would mean employees would buy health insurance like car insurance, where healthier employees pay less,” she says.
It’s important to remember that guidance was recently issued on outcomes-based wellness programs that are tied to health insurance. The programs must be designed with health-promotion or disease-prevention in mind, and if employees don’t meet the standard there must be alternative means for them to qualify for the reward. For example, employees who have normal cholesterol levels may have a lower premium as a reward, and those with high levels may receive the reward after completing a seminar or class.
Knowledge is power when it comes to wellness, so make sure your employees have the information they need to make smart decisions about their health. Empower them with literature about nutrition and exercise, create displays or bulletin boards that track departments’ progress, and keep them informed about other ways they can keep their goals on track.
“Implement a ‘know your numbers’ campaign so employees are better educated on what a healthy level or weight is for them,” suggests van Eeden, and provide action steps that can help employees reach their goals.
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