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6 Ways to Engage Your Multigenerational Workforce in Wellness

In workplaces with several different generations working together, how can you ensure that your wellness program resonates with all your employees? Wellness is for everyone, but it is important to understand key generational differences that may influence how employees interact with your program, and strategies you can use to maximize participation across all age groups.


There are several challenges your organization may face in meeting the needs of a multigenerational workforce, including differences in work-life balance expectations, which company benefits are valued most, and different preferences when it comes to technology and communication. Even more relevant to your program, different generations can differ in what motivates them on their wellness journey. The first step to overcoming the challenges of a multigenerational workforce is assessing your employees to recognize key differences and find common ground. Next, capitalize on that information to create a wellness strategy set up for success! Here are some examples of strategies that may help you reach a multigenerational workforce:

Choose variety:

While many wellness topics apply to all ages, different generations may have different interests and concerns based on their stage of life. To ensure all generations in your workforce are included, you can offer a wide variety of wellness topics and programs, such as nutrition, physical activity, chronic disease prevention, work-life balance, stress management, and productivity. In addition to variety on a big picture scale, be sure to incorporate variety within each individual program. For example, a nutrition-focused program should be inclusive of all ages and the unique nutritional needs of all stages of life. Feeling seen and included will keep all generations coming back for more!

Choose common ground:

Just as important as incorporating variety is designing a wellness program that covers as much common ground as possible. Choosing topics that will attract all generations to participate, rather than ones that may silo them, will contribute to your wellness program's positive and inclusive culture. Studies show that diversity, including age diversity, is very beneficial in a learning environment, with different perspectives and contributions enabling deeper understanding among all participants. The breadth of knowledge and life experience present in a multigenerational workforce is power at your fingertips if you can harness it strategically in your wellness program!

Be strategic with communications:

Depending on an individual’s generation, they may prefer to receive wellness information via social media, text messages, email newsletters, or even physical flyers or bulletin boards. This can be related to technological capabilities but can also simply be a matter of preference and habit. When communicating to a multigenerational workforce, you will likely see the best results with a communication strategy that covers multiple or all of these outlets. Today, there are many tools and services available to us that can easily integrate various communication channels and distribute information to all of them with a single click. Do some research into the best tool for you to minimize workload and maximize reach, ensuring all your employees are aware of – and can participate in – your wellness program.

Enable differences in motivation:

When it comes to changing health behaviors, there are two main types of motivation. Intrinsic motivation is when someone is motivated by internal factors such as personal goals or enjoyment. Extrinsic motivation comes from external factors, such as motivation to win a prize or earn a reward. Generational differences can be present in both types. For example, an older generation may be more intrinsically motivated by wanting to feel more energy, whereas a younger generation may be working towards running a marathon. A younger generation may be very extrinsically motivated by the chance to win an iPad or tickets to a pop concert, whereas an older generation may not be as interested in those items. Your wellness program’s incentive structure should allow for these variations in motivation. You can do this by choosing broadly appealing incentives, such as cash rewards or vacation time, or by offering a wide range of choices for incentive items.

Enable differences in learning style:

Similar to differences in communication preferences mentioned above, there can sometimes be generational differences in learning style. Some enjoy the convenience of a wellness webinar or an app-based wellness challenge, whereas others might think on-site programs or in-person interactions are easier to fit into their days. When planning your wellness program components, make sure there is an offering for everyone!

In addition to providing a variety of means to access wellness, it is also important to remove barriers that could lead to widening generational gaps. This could include offering a support line to assist those less familiar with your wellness technology or ensuring that management-level employees set the example that attending a wellness seminar during the workday is acceptable and encouraged. In this way, you can allow for preference and choice in your wellness program, while never permitting generational differences to act as gatekeepers to wellness.

Listen:

It can be difficult to know which, if any, generational differences are present in your employee population. These are by no means hard and fast rules, and generational stereotypes are constantly contradicted. Rather than making any assumptions, it is best to hear directly from your employees. Remember, though it may seem like a challenge to create a program that engages all age groups, there are immense benefits to doing so, such as improved program outcomes, increased learning and mentorship opportunities, and a more inclusive company culture to name just a few!

At Wellness Workdays, we can help you strategically engage your multigenerational workforce in your wellness program. Contact us to learn more!


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