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Employee Wellbeing Programs: Make Your Team Members Happy Campers

Jane Sarles Larson

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happy campers smiling because of great employee wellbeing and recognition programsIn WorldatWork’s 2015 Trends in Employee Recognition report, 80% of respondents said their organizations have budgets for employee recognition and employee engagement programs. These aren’t just “feel good” programs, either—they’re recognition and wellbeing programs that drive real results. Programs that help create wellbeing, including recognition for above-and-beyond performance or peer-to-peer recognition programs that motivate specific behaviors, are becoming more popular. 

Stand Up For Employee Wellbeing

At ITA Group, we’re getting in on the wellness program action. For example, we just completed a wellness program to get people to stand more at their sit-to-stand workstations during the workday. “Get up! Stand up! Stand Up for Your Health!” Not exactly Bob Marley’s song, but this theme was a fun way to encourage people to spend at least part of the day standing. We know sedentary lifestyles lead to all sorts of health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and related illnesses. Standing helps because it can increase energy and burn extra calories. And with global studies indicating that people sit 7.7 hours a day on average (with some people sitting an average of 13 hours a day), it’s time to consider changing it up. In our stand-up activity, team members “caught” standing had their names thrown in a hat for some cool prizes. People got into the spirit of it, and by the end of the wellness program, we saw one-third of the workforce standing at their workstations at some point during the day.

Obesity, smoking, depression, heart disease—they all inflict health and wellness consequences on employees, so it’s critical for employers to curb this trend. It will take some effort by management to help their employees make better choices and begin to change bad habits, but there can also be a significant return on value measured in terms of absenteeism, presenteeism, employee retention, employee and customer satisfaction and more.

For instance, to help team members be attuned to their own health, our company started providing biometric screenings back in 2008. To boost participation in the screenings, we offered an incentive that resulted in an 84% increase. And in 2014, the collective savings for team members totaled well over $100,000!

Employee Wellbeing Makes Happy Employees

Take the first steps toward change by enhancing your current incentive or recognition programs that encourage employees to make better decisions regarding their health. Start with something fun like the “Stand Up For Your Health” initiative and add more wellness programs throughout the year. The WorldatWork report shows that companies implementing two or more such recognition programs believe they are meeting their objectives or goals. In addition, each time the number of programs goes up, reports of success increase by 6 to 12 percentage points! Employee wellbeing, motivation and satisfaction also improve with each added program.

Happy employees are those with a high level of wellbeing. They’re more productive and more likely to stay and help fuel a profitable company—all while making stockholders happier, too. It’s no longer about employee recognition or employee wellness, but rather about playing an active role in enhancing their wellbeing by balancing different factors, developing and making use of resources, and responding to issues blocking productivity and employee engagement.

Should You Create a New Wellbeing Program?

WorldatWork indicates that 47% of those surveyed are considering implementing new or additional recognition or wellbeing programs in the next year. It makes sense to integrate strategic employee engagement programs to ensure they’re mutually dependent. Just as importantly, one platform for communication and administration helps balance the needs of a multigenerational workforce. Designing an overarching employee engagement program that integrates traditional recognition programs with safety, wellness, financial and communal initiatives will help maximize the wellbeing and productivity of your employees.

Find out more—and get details on what wellbeing means to your bottom line—in ITA Group’s new ebook, “Are Employee Engagement and Wellbeing Part of Your Bottom-Line Success Strategy?” 

Jane Sarles Larson's picture

Jane Sarles Larson

As the Research Manager for ITA Group’s Marketing Strategy, Jane is on the forefront of market research and thought leadership. Her interest in neuroscience and how it applies to human behavior and engagement has led to the development of ITA Group’s approach to motivation called Motivology. Her 30+ years of international advertising, sales and marketing experience is second only to her knowledge of dark chocolate.

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