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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Overlooked Employee Resources for Influencing Wellness Engagement

By Laurie Gondek, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, Welltok

As employers strive to drive greater participation in their health and wellness programs, they may be overlooking key factors and resources that influence engagement. These factors were uncovered as part of a 2016 research survey of over 1,000 employees asking them what their motivations are to improve their health and well-being.

The survey found that employers won’t succeed with a one-size-fits-all approach, especially if they want to maximize the investments they have made in their health and well-being programs. Employees desire a customized program that fits their particular health goals and needs. With the right mix of programs, outreach and incentives, employers can realize the results they envision. These resources, which are often overlooked, will help engage employees more effectively.

The Top Overlooked Employees Resources:

Manager and Family Engagement

One of the most effective motivators has nothing to do with communications coming from the HR department; employees say they want programs delivered to them that are customized and easily shared with others. They would like to participate if they can involve their friends and family. Programs that involve the family are likely to drive greater participation. Direct managers and colleagues are also a big influence when at the office. They help to create a culture of health and help to set an example that enables employees to spend time on these kinds of activities. 

Beyond Health and Wellness: Personal and Financial Support
Employers need to go beyond traditional offerings and add programs that include more than just physical fitness, including activities like stress management, employee assistance programs and counseling. One of the most overlooked programs in this category is helping employees to cultivate positive emotions by practicing mindfulness, expressing gratitude, conducting acts of kindness or even promoting better sleeping habits.

Offering a personalized financial program like financial counseling, financial planning, or retirement planning is an often overlooked but desired resource. Perceptions on the employer’s role in financial health are varied by age, gender and income, so it’s important to have personalized programs that meet the needs of your employers no matter where they are in life.

Rewards/Incentives
It’s so simple, yet many employers don’t think to offer rewards. Nearly all employees (91 percent) say that they would engage in healthier behaviors if they received an incentive or reward, such as lower premiums, co-pays, gift cards, sweepstakes, or a charitable donation. This is true across all age groups with a slight decline as employees got older.


The good news is that the majority of companies can maximize the value of their offerings, regardless of their current levels of employee participation by offering the right mix of customizable programs. However, it’s important to note that not every employee is motivated by the same drivers. Employers must think more carefully about how to leverage these overlooked resources to connect individuals with the right programs at the right time, as well as how to create the right support networks and incentive design structures in order to generate the highest possible return on their investments.

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