How to Make Employee Wellness a Must-Do
Jill Rainford, Wellness Manager at the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), inspired attendees at our 6th Annual Emerging Trends in Wellness Conference outside of Boston to make employee wellness a must-do. With 1,200 employees at her organization who are dispersed across five locations, Jill identified four principles for making wellness part of any organization. As a gold certified 2019 Best Wellness Employer, Jill has had success using these steps to develop a robust wellness culture at OUC.
#1: Create and Use a Strategic Plan Develop and follow a strategic plan so you and your organization have a blueprint to work from. Having a plan also allows you to efficiently communicate with company leadership so they can understand the wellness program and buy into it. Your strategic plan should have a clear, well-developed mission and vision of your program and should include SMART goals and metrics. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Define what you want to achieve, set goals that are attainable with hard work, choose goals that are measurable and schedule a realistic deadline.
#2: Provide Specific, Dynamic Evidence-Based Programming Offering programs that your employees need and that are fun and engaging and based on medical evidence and best practices will boost participation rates. When developing the OUC wellness program, biometric and aggregate data for employees was gathered and organized by job description. The data was used to identify the health risks and trends that presented within each job.
Specific Programming For example, at OUC it was found that employees working on the line experienced low back injuries/pain so developing a program that offered daily stretching exercises could be beneficial.
Evidence-Based Programming The OUC wellness solutions were all CDC or .gov approved and were supported by evidence that showed the benefits have worked and do make a difference.
Dynamic Programming This can be more challenging and is unique to each workforce. Jill strategized about the best approaches to engage employees in the OUC wellness program. She identified the top five health risks and created a quarterly calendar; each quarter focused on programming for one of the health risks. She also implemented a user-friendly wellness portal, offered financial incentives and created a buddy system that paid for a buddy to complete the program with an employee. The buddy did not have to be a company employee; it could be a friend or family member. This allowed employees to have someone join them in their wellness journey.
#3: Use and Engage a Champion Network Internal champions – at all levels of your organization – can promote your program, create excitement and boost participation rates. An effective champion does not need to be a marathoner. He/she needs to be an advocate for wellness – someone who is on their own wellness journey. Jill identified champions within the OUC wellness program to help get other employees engaged and to help them succeed. She selected a champion each quarter and trained them on a quarterly health risk so they could teach other employees about the subject. To recognize them she highlighted their accomplishments and provided incentives.
#4: Persevere Creating a robust wellness program is hard work. To help keep both herself and her team focused they developed a motto: “We’re going to be consistent; we’re going to follow through; we’re going to show up with a servant heart.” The wellness team at OUC repeats this motto each day to keep themselves on track, especially on the days when it is hard. As Jill noted, not every day will be full of success; it is important to find the small successes along the way. The team at OUC also stays motivated by posting program success stories throughout their office space. It might be an email, a letter or a photo – but all have an employee and a well-being success as the focus. These act as daily reminders of why they do what they do and keeps the team focused on their wellness mission.
Jill was just one of the dynamic and informative speakers at our 6th Annual Emerging Trends in Wellness Conference. To stay on top of the latest trends in employee health and well-being, save the date for our 7th Annual Conference, April 1-2, 2020.