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How to Keep Employees Dedicated to their Health and Wellness Goals Year-Round

A series of wellness-focused shifts have prompted renewed interest in the importance of health and well-being goals. Particularly in the workplace, HR professionals face challenges year-round ensuring that employers and employees alike strive to balance a strong work ethic with a dedication to personal health and wellness. The commitment to health and wellness extends far beyond sporadic initiatives or seasonal programs.

The importance of health and wellness in the workplace should not be considered a secondary priority. It contributes to the overall well-being of employees both in the workplace and in their everyday lives – all leading to lower healthcare costs, higher productivity rates, and reduced absenteeism.

Why Year-Round Wellness Is Important

No two employees have the same goals. And the likelihood is that those goals will shift over time. Keeping an invested interest along with promoting active participation leads to a more health-aware workforce that feels encouraged to make their health and wellness a priority. HR professionals can make a continuous effort to deliver a plan that assists employees reach their full wellness potential with confidence.

Why is this important?

  1. Breaks the Cycle of Seasonal Engagement

It is easy to encourage employees to establish healthy habits when the calendar turns to a new year or when there are celebratory days or months sprinkled in throughout the year for annual observances, but HR professionals should explore and execute a year-round approach. By addressing the opportunities each season presents and providing continuous support, employers can break the cycle of temporary engagement and create lasting habits.

2. Holistic Health

Rather than taking a siloed approach to health, year-round wellness should focus on the overall well-being of mental, physical, emotional, social, and financial health. Via a more interconnected approach, employers are better able to have several touchpoints on an ongoing basis by acknowledging the various aspects and needs of their workforce. In contrast to a focus on individual aspects of wellness, a natural intersection of all aspects of well-being can allow employees to seamlessly balance professional and personal health and responsibilities.

3. Financial Benefits and Burdens

Investing in year-round wellness commitments not only contributes to employee satisfaction, but also yields financial benefits for employers. HR leaders can take comfort in knowing that a healthier workforce year-round equates to reduced absenteeism, decreased burnout rates, lower healthcare costs, higher retention rates, and increased productivity.

On the flipside, employees are feeling a heavy burden when it comes to financial stressors such as fluctuating inflation, dismal pay raises, interest rate hikes, and increasing debt. Reports reveal that 42 percent of U.S. employees rate their financial health as good or excellent. With less than half of the working population feeling financially secure, employers can look at data and trends among their workforce to find better ways to support their employee’s financial wellness. This could include money management resources, savings contributions, and financial coaching.

10 Ways to Help Employees Stay Committed to Their Health Goals All Year Long

  1. Consider Seasonal Changes and Offerings

The change of seasons brings a change in employee well-being. Research shows that January is the least productive month, while October presents the highest completion of tasks. Through all four seasons, peak performance fluctuates between goal setting and goal completing.

How can HR professionals combat this inconsistent shift?

Whether in-person or virtual, offer seasonal and weather-specific opportunities to keep employees aware of their health. By providing ongoing access to health and wellness activities, employees may push themselves to check tasks off their list and pay more attention to the state of their mental, physical, and emotional health.

2. Focus on Three Pillars

Time and time again, humans are reminded of the importance of three key pillars: optimizing sleep, hydration, and healthy eating.

Obtaining a solid 7 hours of sleep every night influences cognitive function, energy levels, mood, eating habits, stronger functioning of the body’s systems, and more. Furthermore, adults are made up of 60% water. To not only survive, but for bodies and minds to function optimally, water intake is considered essential. And along with sleep and water intake, 75% or more of Americans confirm they at least try to eat more veggies, fruits, poultry, and fish.

Encouraging employees to strive for adequate sleep, consistently stay hydrated, and follow a healthy diet can prove to have a direct correlation with well-being.

3. Be Mindful of Company Culture

Create a culture of wellness that supports meeting and exceeding goals, especially from leadership. What does this look like?

Constantly provide feedback and recognize growth in performance and development. If leaders are paying attention and demonstrating a genuine interest in overall, holistic well-being – social, financial, career growth, physical, and mental – it will be much easier for employees to see themselves as assets. Proving this point, 82% of employees say it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee.

To fully embed wellness into the fabric of the organization, it must be part of the company culture daily throughout the year.

4. Encourage Brain Breaks

Micro brain breaks can be an effective strategy for calming an active brain. From meetings to tasks, employee brains are wired to constantly be on the go. Encouraging employees to take small breaks and eliminate any disruptions for shorts spurts of time can reenergize and reduce the fatigue often felt from workload.

In fact, contrary to the often forced focus many employees believe they need to zero in on, brain breaks – everything from a break from screens to focused breathing – offer space, build creativity, and increase energy levels.

5. Successfully Communicate

Health and wellness offerings can become overwhelming to say the least. Employees can easily become bogged down in all the details of benefits available to them – not just the obvious ones like compensation, healthcare, and time off. It is reported that less than 30% of employees view existing employer resources as helpful in meeting their benefits needs. With such a small percentage, there is opportunity for growth. Consider implementing ongoing communications that are tailored to the needs of the employees. The deliverables should also be shared in a way that is receptive and accessible.

6. Incentivize Health and Wellness

Be it cash incentives or additional wellness programs perks (like gym memberships, fitness stipends, or fitness swag and tech), HR reps who are attuned to what employees actually want are more likely to set up their employees for success. Incentives can be great motivators for setting, meeting, and exceeding health goals.

7. Create a Wellness Calendar

Consider creating a wellness calendar with monthly themes to kickstart and maintain wellness 12 months of the year. Each month can focus on a different area of well-being – from healthy eating habits during the tempting holiday months to outdoor workouts during the warmer weather months. Further, plugging in consistent, actionable, bite-sized steps for all employees, no matter where they are on their wellness journeys, can ensure the program is inclusive for everyone.

8. Offer Flexibility

Offering flexible wellness benefits and arrangements while promoting them year-round allows employees to choose activities that align with their interests and lifestyles. Examples of this include loosening time constraints so employees can access wellness classes at certain times, subsidizing wellness apps, and supporting the balance between professional and personal lives by expressing family-supportive behaviors.

Redesigning what the typical work-life balance might look could easily be favorable for HR professionals. By offering this personalized flexibility in both interests and time, employers empower employees to explore different avenues of well-being and find activities that resonate with them, fostering long-term commitments.

9. Explore Educational Methods

Employers can provide ongoing education in the form of intranets or portals, communications materials, workshops, and webinars on a variety of wellness topics including nutritional intake, mindfulness, and fitness endeavors to keep employees informed and engaged.

This is two-fold. By first acknowledging and addressing the well-being of employees by offering these resources, employers put themselves in a better position to advocate for their employees’ personal needs. And by offering opportunities to address health concerns, employers are adopting proactive strategies to keep their employees healthy and retain talent.

10. Promote the Importance of Taking a Break

Be it using that PTO or blocking off time on a calendar for a breather between meetings, employers should encourage employees to carve out set times to dedicate to themselves or to specific tasks. Even something as simple as walking away from work duties and taking a 10 minute walk can reinforce regular exercise, which ultimately leads to a positive change in wellness. Fostering regular breaks can increase efficiencies by tracking tasks, keeping organized, improving mood and energy, reducing stress, and creating a sense of control over what matters most.  

Integrating wellness into the company’s values and daily operations reinforces the importance of health throughout the entire year and HR professionals play a crucial role in guiding those endeavors. Recognizing the impact of healthy habits, employers should prioritize various avenues of supportive health initiatives.

Need help creating a supportive environment where the entire organization actively participates in wellness activities? Contact us today.