Laughter: Enemy of Stress

Everyday problems, like work pressure and family responsibilities, can get us down and cause unnecessary stress. Stress isn’t always a big deal. But chronic stress can lead to serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure or heart attack.

happy-project-team-together-1.jpg

Many studies have suggested that a good laugh may be the key to decreasing elevated stress levels. Apart from improving your emotional wellbeing, a giggle here and there can have a great impact on your mental and physical health. Laughter increases your breathing rate, increasing your intake of oxygen, which stimulates parts of your body like your heart, lungs and muscles. Laughter also releases endorphins—responsible for pleasure and euphoria—into your brain. We all know that laughter is contagious. But more importantly, it induces a state of relaxation while reducing your stress and tension. Here are a few tips to help you laugh off that stress!

Try laughter therapy!

You can try it at home yourself or with a group of family and friends. There are many classes for laughter therapy available, so find the one that works for you and make it a part of your schedule.

Include humour in your everyday life!

Take the time to read those jokes that your friends forward you or watch a funny video on your Facebook newsfeed! Don’t shy away from laughing! There’s something funny for everyone!

Socialize!

Spend time with your most lighthearted friends and share some fun memories from the past. Laughter is contagious and spending time with people who make you smile is one of the best things you could do for yourself. Spending time with kids can also do the trick; they are experts at being silly making people laugh!

 

Laugh at yourself!

Learning to laugh at ourselves is also really important. Don’t take yourself too seriously! Make other people laugh then join in on the laughter at your own jokes. This can be an amazing way of cheering yourself up and maybe even give your confidence a boost!

It is often said that laughter is the best medicine. Maybe in time we’ll start believing it. There is nothing as simple and as natural as laughter when it comes to reducing stress. So, keep smiling!

Sign up for Optimity to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

iOS | Android

How Optimity Helped Me Lose Weight!

I got in touch with one of our Optimity users over the week and asked how Optimity has played apart in their life. Today I’m joined by Stephanie, who has been an Optimity user since early 2017, to share her user experience.

Hi, I’m Stephanie, and I’m really happy to be able to share my health journey with everyone.  I’m 24 years old and Optimity helped me get healthy during my last year of University! Growing up I’ve always been a little bit “bigger”. It was normal for me to think being overweight was genetics and there was no way around it. So I ate the same food my family was eating, which obviously didn’t help because they were on the heavy spectrum. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I realized that I was heavier than my other friends.

I went through some high and lows throughout my teen year because of my weight, I always felt a little insecure about the way I looked. It also didn’t help that my relationship with food wasn’t all that great. I had tried different dieting techniques, and weight loss programs but would just give up easily and the weight would come back on. I have unhealthy parents and I could see their health deteriorating as they got older with their unhealthy habits.   

I decided it was about time I did something about how I looked, but more importantly, how I felt inside. I didn’t want to get old and regret not trying to improve my overall health when I had the opportunity. I’d tried a lot of fad diets and the newest gadgets and they were great at first, until I would quit or stop using them. My biggest problem was about keeping a sustainable healthy lifestyle, with constant tips and reminders to stay on target with my goals. I was in this for the long run and I needed something that would help me continuously improve my health.

It was about a year ago when I had a friend introduce me to Optimity, I never took it seriously at first, it was just a great tool that provided me with useful notifications to help me build healthier habits and had a huge library of content. It wasn’t until a quarter way through the year that I noticed I developed a lot of new habits and I was actually losing weight! I was sitting in the library one night studying when I got a sudden urge to get a snack, and the old me would have went straight to the vending machine but instead, I walked to the nearby cafeteria to buy myself a yogurt parfait and some water! Who would have thought that I would one day walk right past the vending machine. It was then that I realized all those small quick activities I was doing from the Optimity app actually helped me develop new nutritious habits and help curb my usual unhealthy snack cravings. Thanks Optimity!

WhatsApp Image 2018-09-12 at 8.24.00 PM  FB_IMG_1537969533732.jpg

Tasneem: Wow! That honestly so amazing I’m so happy for your healthy progress and that Optimity was able to help you on your journey. Can you share some of your top activity packs that really helped you get to where you on now?

Stephanie: Ya for sure! So time was a big issue for me, I was still in school and working at the same time so I really utilized the activity packs that I could have done from anywhere and that were quick. My top 3 activity packs that I would highly recommend is: 60 Second Workout, Eat well, and Energize With food. These 3 are my holy grail activity packs, they made me squeeze in quick workouts literally anywhere, even when I was sitting in one of my lectures, I would do seated leg raises. The last 2 activity packs really helped me improve my relationship with food, I no longer looked at unhealthy food as “bad” it just became high calorie, low nutritious food. This outlook helped me figure out which food worked for me and when.

Tasneem: Thanks so much for all that Stephanie, I’m really happy you’re in a healthier place now and are happy with your experience with Optimity!

 

We’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to share your experience with using Optimity and how it impacted your life, please reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com.

Group 2

Not yet a user? Sign up now to join people like Stephanie and the rest of the Optimity Community to start getting healthier and claiming free rewards along the way!  

The State of Affairs with Engagement for Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Jane Wang 
Your people are your corporate competitive advantage. Most progressive leaders are actively investing in employee wellness. However, despite the amount of work that goes into implementing on-site and digital wellness programs, most corporate initiatives fail to engage 3 out of 4 employees. Let’s spend a little time dissecting what is happening and offer some food for thought.

The Gallup RAND Health Workplace Wellness Study has shown only 24% of employees at companies that offer wellness programs actually participate.We surveyed 200 professional services employees and there were many reasons why they didn’t participate in the 5K runs, yoga classes, & other wellness initiatives. The top 6 themes are:

  • not aware of the program
  • there was a lack of incentives to sign up
  • activities offered were not interesting to them personally
  • don’t have time
  • don’t know how to access the program
  • no one else is doing the program (lack of a wellness community)

More from the RAND study: Over 85% of companies offer some form of wellness program, with awareness levels with often less than 60% of employees.  40% of the employees who are aware, actually a sign up; and 30-40% of those who sign up end up not logistically able to show up to the actual events because of work priorities.

With another 10-40% simply forgetting, depending on the internal marketing efforts of the wellness champions on the day off, it is no surprise that companies with 200-1000 employees can’t get more than 50 people to any wellness event.
Health costs are rising, mental health and financial wellness training sessions coming up… it is time that you drive a paradigm shift in how you engage your employees in health & wellness.  Here are 3 quick tips on how to lead a movement of wellness and positively impact the bottom-line for your organization.
1. Build Momentum
Before launching or updating your wellness program this year, ensure that you take the opportunity to build awareness with 100% of your employee-base.Reach out to employees a couple of weeks prior to the launch date with on-site posters, email memos,  newsletters and on-site media outlets. A message, short video or presentation from your CEO, senior leadership or HR team supporting the program is always positive PR internally and externally. Remember to always add a call-to-action to each piece of your awareness campaign.
2. Make it Universal
Deliver wellness to your employees wherever they are. Design your program with context  and environment in mind.Leverage common technology they are already using, such as their mobile phone or computer. Provide practical activities that employees can fit into their 9-to-5, such as reminders to grab a drink of water, instructions for quick back stretches, and challenges to meditate for 60 seconds. These effective micro-actions are known to boost health & productivity, and can be quite engaging for even the most sedentary of office-potatoes.
3. Recognize Employees’ Individual Efforts
The majority of your employee base already use consumer health apps and wearable devices for activities tracking such as step counting, exercise logging, or nutrition journalling. Why not align your employees’ individual efforts to your organizational goals?If a fitbit is too restrictive in function or too expensive, Optimity also offer a great array of fitbit alternatives such as Apple Watches with more functionality, directly integrated with calendars or Optimity Mi Bands at just $30/band and with a 30-day battery life until the next recharge!
Recognize the activities they are already doing with your wellness platform’s points and prizes. We can connect your community by uniting them onto the same platform and gamify their work experience.Companies that employ this strategy has 2-5x more people participate in their programs!

 

Sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming FREE rewards!

iOS | Android

Fundamentals of Wellness Habits

Success of Habits

The importance of establishing healthy and productive habits has always been essential. Whether it be at an individual or organizational level, habits can play a key role in quality of work, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

What is a habit?

A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated and tends to occur subconsciously (Definition of Habit. Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved on August 29, 2008). Developing a good habit and breaking a bad habit can be hard to do, but understanding how habits work, as well as their effects, can make a big impact.

The Habit Loop

wellness

One of the most popular recent mentions of habits and habit training is in the bestselling book, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. The book popularized the applications of habits and how to harness them to your advantage. Duhigg describes the Habit Loop as a three-step process, a uniform formula for any habit:

  1. The Cue
  2. The Routine
  3. The Reward

The first step, the cue, is the trigger that initiates the Habit Loop.

Here’s an example of a Habit Loop. Every time you are bored at work, you walk to the kitchen and grab a cookie. The cue, or trigger, is being bored. The routine is walking to the kitchen and grabbing a cookie. And the reward is a sweet crunchy cookie and more importantly, relief from boredom for a few minutes.

Over the course of a few months, you may find yourself gaining weight from the frequent cookies. It develops into a bad habit that you’re struggling to break.

So how do we overcome this habit loop? Studies described in The Power of Habit suggest that the easiest way to break a habit is to change the routine. By only replacing a single step of the Habit Loop, it makes changing a bad habit into a good one much easier. Going back to the snacking example:

Previously the Habit Loop was:

  1. Cue: boredom
  2. Routine: getting a cookie
  3. Reward: relief from boredom

But you can change it to:

  1. Cue: boredom
  2. Routine: chatting with a coworker
  3. Reward: relief from boredom

The cue and the reward are the same, making the habit much easier to change. However, the habit routine has now changed from a calorie-intensive one to a social, guilt-free solution.

So why are habits important?

Habits can be incredibly powerful. A single habit’s effect can trickle into every aspect of  your lifestyle—even in ways that you would not expect. These habits are called keystone habits. For example, starting to go for a 20 minute jog every morning can improve job performance and help develop positive relationships. There is no obvious relationship between going for a job and getting a promotion at work. However, keystone habits have a subtle way of impacting a lifestyle change.
When people aim for small and manageable behaviour changes, they can set off a ripple effect and stimulate further changes. Forming one small positive habit can increase self-confidence for working towards other health-promoting habits. In the workplace, habits can affect employee behaviour, productivity, and workplace culture. Making sure that the habits that are formed in the workplace are positive and healthy is vital.

Employee Wellness

Employee wellness has been climbing peoples’ lists of priorities for the past few years. From yoga classes to snack programs and even smoking cessation courses, the variety of wellness initiatives has substantially grown as the positive correlation between employee health and productivity has become irrefutable.

However, such programs have been around for years––they are categorized as Wellness 1.0. These methods are time consuming, often rely on external expertise, and require groups of people to be physically present and the same place and time during a workday. Since then, new data has emerged to develop the modern-day wellness program: Wellness 2.0

What is Wellness 2.0?

Today’s most effective wellness programs use digital tools and artificial intelligence to not only provide employees with holistic health solutions at any place and time, but also a centralized platform to track program data and employee progress. These programs shift employees’ notion of health from something that requires additional time to perform to something that is practiced every day through small habits.

Why does wellness matter for employees?

Let’s talk about why employee wellness is imperative to everyone. Here are the top few reasons employees and employers should care:

Productivity

For businesses to thrive, their employees must perform efficiently with their best capabilities. A survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that among employers offering and measuring wellness efforts, over half saw a decrease in absenteeism, while 66% saw increased productivity.

Furthermore, 31% of respondents have rated mental illness as the number one reason for loss of productivity. Holistic health and productivity come hand in hand: Programs that use Wellness 2.0 concepts can effectively improve and maintain employee productivity without excessively cutting into excess work hours. 

Mood

A study from the University of Sheffield found that happier employees are higher performing. Mental health, stress relief, and physical activity are components of a well rounded wellness program that can lead to happier employees, and therefore better employees. 

Healthcare Costs

Did you know that Americans spent an average of $714 on out of pocket healthcare in 2016? With these numbers increasing each year, employers are beginning to spend more money on their employees’ health as well. Wellness programs help cut annual increases in medical care costs. A meta-analysis shows that medical costs fall by $3.27 for ever $1 spent on wellness programs, and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every $1 spent. The negative correlation between an effective wellness program and medical costs is clear and crucial to address.

Lower Turnover

A study by Leadership IQ showed that almost half of new employees left a company within 18 months, with 89% of these failures resulting from poor culture fit. Implementing an effective wellness program not only helps employees feel happier at work, but also creates a sense of community and care in the workplace.
Employee wellness should be a top priority for everybody. Prioritizing health by implementing Wellness 2.0 strategies in the workplace not only benefits employees, but also the company by decreasing healthcare costs and turnover while increasing productivity. Investing in employee wellness means investing in the future of your company.

 

Preventive Medicine

“Treatment without prevention is simply unsustainable.” – Bill Gates

What is preventive medicine?

Preventive medicine’s goal is to protect and promote health to people before they become sick. It’s about preventing disease and illness rather than treating it after people get sick.

Why is preventive medicine important?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans use half of the preventive services offered to them by employers.

Preventive medicine is critical to human health. In and out of the workplace, preventive medicine has been transforming healthcare. The first and most obvious reason is that employees deserve to maintain their health and be healthy. They are the most important resource of a company, and human capital can make or break an organization.

The second is that from an organizational perspective, it makes fiscal sense to invest in preventive medicine. By taking the necessary steps to prevent illness, this translates to reduced absenteeism, reduced health care costs, and increased productivity. A survey reported that employer health care costs have increased 36% in the last five years. Now is the time to invest in preventive healthcare for employees.

Effective and meaningful investments in health and wellness can be done through investigating health risk factors, including disease, disorders, and chronic pains associated with a group of employees.

Furthermore, preventive health also applies to leadership. A study shows that when leadership within an organization is participating and engaged, it gets the best engagement and returns with preventive health within the other employee groups (Goetzel et al, 2010).

Sometimes a certain subgroup of employees can be at high risk for certain diseases, including but not limited to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Using personalized and customizable preventive wellness programs can target and provide the appropriate programs for those subgroups. Common risk factors associated with chronic disease are: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and unhealthy eating. Read Optimity’s blog for an example of focusing on a subgroup: https://blog.myoptimity.com/2018/02/20/how-to-promote-healthy-heart-lifestyle-choices-at-your-company-webinar-recap/.

Healthy Habits in Group Settings

Businesspeople having a lunch break.

Jim Rohn, motivational speaker and development coach, said that any person is the average of the five people they spend the most time with. Our thinking process, self esteem, and decision-making are all affected by our close peers. Most importantly, those around us influence our habits, which are the regular tendencies that we perform as directed by the subconscious mind.

How does this rule apply in the context of workplace wellness?

We tend to adopt the characteristics of groups that we are part of, associating ourselves with the group and its characteristics. Promoting a culture of wellness and implementing health initiatives will directly impact many employees, leading them to make lifestyle changes and increase productivity. However, these employees will also positively influence others, creating an environmental norm of healthy habits. Spending time with people who value and model healthy lifestyles changes a person’s definition of “normal”, leading to cognitive and behavioural shifts.

How can I use my wellness programming to optimize this rule?

To truly benefit from this rule of averages in the workplace, employers must establish above-average habits in their employees. Wellness is no longer simply fostered through lunch-and-learns or healthy snack programs; it is a continuous, social aspect of the workplace that should be as habitual as other regular work duties. Today’s digital wellness platforms provide accessible, enjoyable health solutions that are easily integrated into anyone’s life. Employees see their coworkers immerse in community-oriented programs and look to do the same, leading to higher engagement, better health, and increased productivity.

 

Habits and Employee Engagement

Employee performance is often related to employee health, happiness, and financial security. With high employee engagement, employers can channel the positive attitudes so that employees are more loyal, productive, and healthy. Employee engagement is important because when employees are engaged, they are more efficient, creative, and motivated to produce good work.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is about getting employees excited, loyal, and motivated. The two-way commitment between the organization and its employees is vital to the culture and livelihood of the organizational community. Employee engagement is about “how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential.” 

How do habits affect engagement?

Developing positive workplace habits can build up on employee engagement. Some examples of good company habits are daily huddles, weekly messages, forums, and holistic training. At an individual level, effective workplace habits include looking for leadership opportunities, being punctual, and listening to feedback. These measures are great for individual and company success, but there are habits that are even more important than these.

Possibly the most important habits in the workplace are habits related to health and wellness. When employees are healthy—physically, mentally, and financially––they perform better. They also have the energy and ability to perform other positive workplace habits.

Habit development is gradual and sustainable. This means that when organizations invest in habit training, the results are long-term. Using habit-science, we can identify keystone habits that correlate to other good habits. Furthermore, by focusing on the process of habit training, we can improve engagement and create consistency. Continuous improvement of workplace habits can lead to breakthroughs in engagement and productivity.

Microlearning

Microlearning: Another temporary health trend? Just bite-sized training?

Employers may be hesitant to shift from traditional training methods to microlearning; however, using this convenient, focused, and adaptable form of learning can be beneficial for various functions within the workplace.

So, what exactly is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a focused form of training that provides information in the appropriate amount at the appropriate amount to help a learner achieve specific business outcomes. It easily fits into the natural flow of a workday and is based on voluntary participation, thereby giving employees freedom to learn when it is convenient, rather than at a set period in the day such as with seminars. Furthermore, content must be science-based to be considered as microlearning. For example, nutrition facts are based on scientific data rather than the latest celebrity trends. Additionally, microlearning is continually adapted to drive behaviours for specific business results. An organization’s goals are constantly changing with its environment and target market’s needs. With microlearning, employees can be taught new functions and habits that are required to meet these needs without investing in a full-blown training intervention.

How can I create a microlearning strategy?

There are four general steps to creating an effective microlearning strategy. Each strategy will be different depending on your business and goals; however, these steps are a great place to start.

1. Identify End Goals

What is the problem you are solving? How will you measure success? These are questions that you and your peers will have to answer as quantitatively and specifically as possible. Target the aspects of the business or past incidents that led to these conversations and needs.

2. Required Behaviours

What steps are required by employees to solve this problem? Again, the more specifically these steps are broken down, the more efficient the process will be. Avoiding ambiguity is key to any microlearning strategy.

3. Separate Foundational Knowledge

It is crucial to distinguish knowledge that is necessary for the behaviours and knowledge that is simply nice to know. Microlearning should focus on the crucial information required to execute the behaviours, while knowledge that is nice to know can always be added on-demand. For example, to execute a manufacturing step, it is crucial to understand how to use a particular machine and safety precautions in performing the step.

4. Build Content

With all these steps above in place, you and the key stakeholders in the organization can consider what kind of content to implement. Short videos? Reminders? Reinforcement questions? There is a large variety of content type; however, it is important that the content is suited to both your organization and its needs.

 

wellness

Health does not simply come in the form of a lunch-and-learn or an hour-long workout session; it is a lifestyle consisting of habits that address health from a holistic perspective. These habits are trained through practicing a routine that is started by a cue and leads to a reward. Such habits are gradual and long-term, leading organizations to healthier employees, higher engagement, and more efficient operations. Furthermore, habit training does not require a comprehensive training intervention. Rather, organizations can incorporate micro-learning so that employees are constantly adapting their habits as the organization’s goals evolve. Healthy employees not only improve a company’s bottom line, but also help individuals lead a more fulfilled life in and out of the workplace.

Optimity can help make the wellness needs for your employees easier to manage. Optimity’s platform is scientifically supported to provide health content and micro activities that are 30 seconds to 2 minute long in order to prevent chronic health outcomes. The proactive approach will produce better workers, who are more healthier, happier and more productive, while bringing down health care costs for the employer. If you want to learn more about how Optimity can help your employees and your organization, reach out to engage@myoptimity.com to get started.

 

cropped-screen-shot-2018-05-02-at-2-05-59-pm.png

Sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!   iOS | Android

Employee Engagement: Are Your Benefits Addressing the Main Issue?

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

We had a great webinar in June to talk about employee engagement. I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang, to talk through how to engage employees in the workplace. You can watch the full webinar here. Here are a few key takeaway points from the webinar.

What do your benefits look like? If it’s like most traditional benefits programs, it probably includes the usual retirement or pension plan, some health care coverage and paid time off. These are great, but it’s really only useful when you’re trying to attract employees to your organization and less so when it comes to retaining employees. In a study conducted by Mercer, “Inside Employee’s Mind,” survey results from over 4000 employees identified key aspects of a company that are valued by employees from the following choices: pay, benefits, careers, engagement, leadership, performance, and culture. The results showed that over 40% of employees are currently thinking about leaving their jobs, even though they offer benefits. What does that tell us? Well it just means that benefits packages aren’t strong enough to keep employees from leaving their jobs. Oddly enough, there are no real concrete studies that can testify that traditional benefits alone can retain and engage employees with their work. However, there is an abundance of evidence that support the value of workplace wellness programs. To be clear, benefits and wellness programs aren’t interchangeable as they provide two different purposes; however, you can easily incorporate wellness programs with your benefit programs.

With the recent trends, an increasing number of companies are working with digital wellness programs to maximize the money employers are investing into the health and wellness of their employees. To put it blankly, benefits are essential for attracting but do little for retaining –wellness programs are where the real benefits comes from!

Champion Employee Success

So now you may be wondering: If benefits aren’t enough, what should I be doing to keep my employees healthy, happy and engaged with their work? You simply need to provide an effective workplace wellness program that engages your employees. When your employees are engaged, they have a strong sense of pride in their work and an innate desire to go beyond their regular duties and do more for the organization. Unfortunately, only 29% of employees are engaged in their work, 45% are not engaged, and the remaining 26% are actively disengaged. The following are 3 tips on getting the rest of your employees more engaged in their work.

1. Health and Wellness


Encourage your employees to live a healthy lifestyle, which means that employees are getting the recommended amounts of exercise, sleep and nutrition in their life. A healthy employee is more productive, energetic, resilient, and less stressed. Wellness is not longer simply about the employees physical health. Help your employees build a habit of practicing holistic health topics they care about such as financial wellness and community involvement.

2. Learning and Development


Give your employees the opportunity to learn and develop new skills that are outside of their typical job function. Only 24% of employees feel that they have access to the learning and development skills that they need. Providing employees with the opportunity to learn and grow will help retain talent because you’ve engaged your employees by providing them with the ability to build their muscle for learning.

3. Empower your Employees


The best way to empower your employees is by providing leadership opportunities. This allow them to explore their capabilities without micromanagement, which often leads to employees disengaging due to a lack of trust and value their ability to make independent decisions. So as an employer it’s about time you give your employees roles that let them them have more responsibility and influence in their organization.

Employee engagement is a crucial pain point for many organizations, so you are not alone on this mission. However, we’ve seen many organization successfully increase their employee engagement levels by turning to technology. With a digital wellness program, scheduling time for in-person events and neglecting your shift workers or remote workers are no longer problems. Participation with traditional in person events is significantly lower, and tracking your initiatives become tedious. However, with a digital approach, employees are provided with a personalized coaching tool that allows them choose which aspects of their health they want to focus on and when they want to do so. You get to include all segments of your population and increase social communication between coworkers. Technology allows for the gamification of wellness habits as well as simple tracking of progress and participation.

Optimity

With technology, you make the wellness experience smoother for both the employees and employers! Want to learn more on how to implement a successful wellness program that engages all your employees? Reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com if you want to bring your average 30% engagement levels to over 70%.

Or sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

iOS | Android

Unlocking the Hidden Values of HR

Posted by Emily Guterres

You may have heard it before, “ HR is a cost center.” “What does your HR department do exactly?” At most times, the questions about HR’s value are not asked politely.

In 2016, engaged productive employees are the biggest investment and reap the greatest rewards. CEO’s are increasingly investing in health and wellness programs because it may be the single, most powerful enhancer of employee engagement. When business leaders recognize the remarkable benefits of a healthy workplace to the organization, they are more likely to commit the time and resources to support and implement the program.

A strategically designed investment in employees’ social, mental and physical health pays off. Better health often equals greater engagement. Research from Gallup shows that employee engagement is positively correlated with better health – engaged workers are less likely to be obese and have chronic conditions, as explained by Harvard Business Review.

Wellness incentives and benefits should not only be viewed as an-add on, but a strategic imperative. With an aging workforce and health care costs that are only rising. It’s that clear healthy employees are always more productive. Dale Carnegie Training reports that companies with employee-centric characteristics outperform those without by up to 202%.

So how do we empower our employees to be engaged and feel involved in the workplace?

Valuing People and Showing Them You Care

Dale Carnegie study shows that “employees want their managers to care about their personal lives and to take an interest in them as individuals, to care about they feel and support their health and well- being”. A manager’s abilities to lead and foster strong relationships with employees are key to helping employees perform at the highest possible level.

McKesson Canada in 2016 has shown that investment into employee wellness initiatives yields between 3-4x ROI within Canada, and 10-11x ROI in the USA (with about 15% participation in their active prevention programs).

Optimity has seen dramatic changes from hard ROI measures such as reduction to cost of designing and launching a program to cost savings from decreased claims and benefits cost. Not to mention the dramatic employee positive feedback in the forms of softer dollars: more productive hours, lower absenteeism, and improved engagement scores.

Investing in HR at every level

the_best_image_all_fixed_up_.png
If you want to attract and retain top talent, you have to invest in employee development. Almost all employees can benefit from an employee development program. However, often times with the pressure of day-to-day business this often gets puts to the side. As a business owner, the ROI when investing in your employees is priceless.

By investing in your employees’ training and development in an organization, you see many positive outcomes. The benefits of employee development seem endless. It includes employee loyalty, engaged employees and most of all it helps attract and keep the greatest employees.

The same can be said about other value-adding coaching functions: wellness, productivity, and fiscal responsibility.

When it comes to building that long-term sustainable competitive advantage – fostering that aspect of growth is key to retaining talent at your workplace.

Overemphasize your investment in your employees, and never underestimate its impact on culture, costs, and profits. Not only will you see short-term changes in sick days, stress leaves, utilization of benefits, the report on motivated people working together as a highly-functional team is never short of positive.

Tell your employees you do care, help them stay engaged and feel passionate about their work, by doing this you will realize there is nothing that they won’t strive to achieve.

Optimity is standing up for employee investment and the outstanding results that come with it.

Where do you stand?

Sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

iOS | Android

Wellbeing in the Workplace: Why Employee Engagement Matters (Optimity Webinar Recap)

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 


We had a great webinar in May, in honour of Global Employee Health and Fitness month. I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang, to talk about how to promote best practice tips in the workplace to promote employee engagement. You can watch the full webinar here. Here are a few key takeaway points from the webinar:  

Employee engagement is the number one problem to solve; with absenteeism and productivity as the second top concern for HR leaders.

wb chart-2
We took a quick poll at the start of the webinar to see what some of the leading issues were in the workplace, and it turns out employee engagement was a huge concern for 77% of our attendees, so our webinar topic clearly hit home with a lot of people.

With growing focus on employee health, corporate wellness programs are increasingly becoming the order of the day. Research shows, that those individuals who exercise frequently, stayed home from work on an average 2.11 days fewer annually and had 31% lower health care costs than individuals who didn’t exercise regularly. These numbers alone stress the importance of setting up corporate wellness programs.

Almost 50% of medical costs are incurred due to illnesses that can be avoided with small lifestyle changes. Corporations have begun to realize the importance of healthy employees and are working to encourage employees to lead increasingly healthier lifestyles.

One of the studies we discussed in the webinar by Aon Hewitt, established that successful employers make employee engagement a business priority. When employers care about their employees, the employees respond with a better rational and motivation. This leads to 20% increase in engaged employees. When putting this number into context, it means if an organization has 30,000 employees, then there are 6000 employees who are going above and beyond with their jobs to serve their customers and drive efficiency. The graph below reflects these stats, where there is roughly a 20% gap between “best employers” and others (employers who don’t prioritize employee engagement), and we can see the difference in how much more successful the organization is when employee engagement is at the top of the employers agenda.  

 Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 9.22.35 AM

Organizations know that wellness programs are key to addressing employee issues, which is why more than half the organizations already have wellness programs.

wb chart-2With the second poll that we took, it clearly supported the new industry norm of wellness programs being a prominent addition in majority of workplaces, with 77% stating they already incorporate a wellness program in their organization.

 

Wellness programs don’t just benefit employers, it also supports the needs of the employees, some of which are:

●  Improving their physical strength, stamina, and general well being
●  Improving their focus at work
●  Increasing job satisfaction and fostering a positive outlook on life
●  Bettering relations with co-workers and supervisors  

An effective workplace wellness programs is the backbone to improving engagement in the workplace. Gallup’s most recent global research finds only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, and according to the latest State of the American Workplace report, just 33% of employed residents in the United States are engaged at work.

Here are two important facts that came about a study done by The Corporate Leadership Council on employees performance and retention:

  • Engaged companies grow profits as much as 3X faster than their competitors.
  • Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organization.

Other key findings were that:

  • A disengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary.
  • Disengaged employees cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year due to lost productivity.

All these key findings suggest that if companies want to boost productivity and profitability, customer loyalty, and bring down attrition and disengagement losses, they need to start engaging employees.

So you may be wondering, what’s the solution, especially if more than half of organizations have already incorporated a wellness program, why is engagement so low? Well the problem and the solution lie in the approach to wellness. A lot of the organizations are still relying on traditional approach to wellness programs, and that’s not to say they’re not good, they’re just not as effective in getting high participation and and sustainability. What successful organizations are doing is going digital.

Non-traditional approaches to wellness are still the most common route used by many organizations. 

wb chart-3The last poll we did during this webinar was to see how our attendees faired with using a digital wellness tool. Although a few have had the chance to implement it, more than half do not, and this just shows why only a handful of organizations have such great engagement rates, they’re implementing wellness programs the right way, the digital way.

One of the main reason’s why a digital wellness program is so effective is with their use of a dynamic and innovative health risk assessment (HRA).

An effective HRA allows the wellness program to understand the nuances of an individual’s statistical situation by collecting their key biometric data and health information. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) we’ve now been able to integrate a wellness system to take information from the HRA and use it to automatically create a tailored program for the individual. This approach customizes, and tailors the program to the individuals needs which is a huge leap forward from traditional approaches that focuses solely on fitness and nutrition, and requires on site attendance for wellness programs. The digital approach gives the individual the power to create true and meaningful change. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 10.08.46 PM.png

To learn more about implementing a successful wellness program that increases engagement, be sure to check out our webinar, where we also go over our top 3 best practice tips that you can implement in your workplace, even if you don’t (yet) have Optimity.  

A comprehensive corporate wellness programs have proven to be beneficial and cost effective to the employer as well as the employee in the long run. If you’d like more information on implementing a successful wellness program, please reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com.  

Or sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

iOS | Android