4 Principles for Creating a Wellness Program

Today’s most successful companies know that creating a healthy environment for employees is the most direct way to achieve an increase in productivity and encourage employee loyalty.

Dollarphotoclub_70570751.jpg

With so much time spent at work, it goes without saying that a healthy work environment is vital to your employee’s health. Creating a successful wellness program can ensure that your employees are happy and healthy, and therefore more productive at work.

The following are 4 principles to consider when looking to implement a successful wellness program for your company.

1)   Educate

The most important factor in moving towards a healthier workplace is educating your employees. Choose an educational approach that encourages open communication between employees and management and ensure that the management team are strong leaders who make their employees feel safe and supported. Consider the group diversity and design activities that cater to all employees. Some employees may have prior knowledge or experience, so ask them to share their ideas with the rest of their peers to help motivate and engage the group.

2) Engage

Engaging employees in a workplace wellness program can be difficult without the correct leadership. Make it known to your employees that you are dedicated to the program by showing your appreciation at every level and ensuring that employees clearly understand expectations by management. Relating the program’s goals to your employee’s personal goals can also help the program succeed, along with a strong social presence.

3) Empower

Shifting authority and responsibility from management to employees gives the employees power over their own jobs and entrusts them to take charge of their own wellness program.  Empower your employees by asking questions and carefully listening to their answers and suggestions. Frustration occurs when employee thoughts and suggestions are not accompanied by an action.

 

4) Evaluate

Evaluating wellness programs is an ongoing process, so obtain statistics wherever possible to create comparisons on how the program is working and what can be improved. Use a range of techniques to get an understanding of how well employees are receiving the program and try to use alternative evaluation methods to suit everyone’s needs.

 

Optimity provides a highly-engaging adaptive coaching program to connect all of your company initiatives and assist with boosting employee engagement. Our App lets you see results and gain insights to make smarter, data-driven decisions. Join the community, sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

iOS | Android

 

Optimity_-_Trista.jpg

 

Trista Chan is a Client Services Associate at Optimity.  She leverages her education in nutrition and experience in corpoate health to guide organizations in building healthy, engaged employees.  Her “me-time” activities include yoga, reading health blogs, cooking….did she mention she likes wellness?  Her passion for all things health-related shines through in both her work and personal life.  

Employee Programs Best Practices: Setting the right kind of goals

Posted by Nicholas Raditsis

Setting goals effectively is critical to employee success! Whether they be long or short term goals, the process of goal setting should be a combined effort between an employee and their manager.

Goal setting also helps to focus on employee’s problem areas. The goal is to develop skills, increase knowledge and to raise confidence by having some quick wins.

Employees also need to experience quick wins to boost their confidence within the workplace. A quick win is an improvement that is visible and has immediate benefits. The quick win does not need to have a long term impact on the business, but needs to be seen as having a positive impact on the business.  Quick wins that have the most impact on a business are easy to implement and inexpensive.

2_New_HR_Tech_webinar_promo.jpg

Watch the recorded webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kZlCJIhjkU

The most popular framework for goal setting is S-M-A-R-T.

Specific: Knowing exactly what the goal is, what the expectations are and be easily measurable.
Measurable: Can be measured in milestones to track progress.
Attainable: The goal needs to be attainable and cannot set the bar too high or too low.
Relevant: The goal should focus on an important aspect of your project or the company.
Time-bound: Establish enough time to achieve the goal.

Here are 4 key factors to employee development and focusing on problem areas.

Coaching
Regular meetings between a manager and employee can identify problems within the workplace and help to improve performance. Discussions can be had on the problem areas that the employee needs to improve on, developing a plan to increase employee skills and meeting regularly to discuss the employee progress.

 

Counselling
Discussion between employees and managers can assist in sorting out any personal or emotional barriers that may be preventing the employee from performing at an optimum level.

 

Mentoring
Managers who mentor their employees motivate them to reach their potential in the work place and can assist with developing a career plan for the employee’s future within the business.

 

Training
Training employees is an essential part of employee development. Managers should encourage employees to take classes and attend seminars to further their knowledge.
Here are a few tips to identify a quick win.

  • Requires minimal or no capital expenditure
  • Low risk
  • High confidence of a positive impact
  • Improvements may be implemented within 60 – 90 days

Quick wins provide confidence to the employee and business and also reduce stress. Here are just a few ways you can achieve a quick win:

  • Change an inefficient procedure
  • Improve communication between two departments
  • Obtain a price reduction from an existing supplier
  • Train other team members on best practise
  • Proof read existing processes for errors

As always, we are here to support you and your employees in daily success. Let us know your feedback and reach out to me if you need any help!

Or join the community by signing up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming FREE rewards!

iOS | Android

Nicholas Raditsis

VP of Client Success

Nraditsis@myoptimity.com

Understanding the Numbers Game – The Real ROI Story for Engagement and Wellness Programs

Posted by Jane Wang

Unhealthy and disengaged employees are costing North American businesses a whopping $1,100,000,000 per year. Smart organizations are looking to wellness and engagement programs to change their costs, with the average corporate wellness program averaging at $700 per year. But the average participation rates for these programs are below 30%: many organization have little to no tracking of metrics or ROI. This often has people questioning whether wellness programs actually deliver returns, but the real question you should be asking is what type of wellness programs can reduce claims and lower insurance premiums.

The answer is, programs that are tailored to target “at-risk” and “high-risk” employees and also those with >70% participation from all employees to prevent them from becoming disengaged and/or chronically ill.

 

voluntary-wellness-programs.jpg

The most difficult factor in implementing a wellness program is employee participation. Participation penalties do not have a place in the workplace and incentives, while great, can’t force employees to make their lifestyle change alone. The key to a successful program is excellent leadership from the CEO and explanations as to why the wellness program exists and rising health care costs throughout the business.

 

According to a study done by the Gallup State of the American Workplace in 2012, employees that have an overall higher “well-being” have 41% lower health related costs, compared with employees who are struggling with their health, and 62% lower costs than employees who are suffering with their health.

 

Diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and being overweight are just a few factors that at-risk employees endure that can lead to expensive health claims. There are also the employees that are chronically ill and suffer from conditions such as cancer, heart conditions and advanced diabetes. Creating a disease management program for these employees can easily and effectively prevent your insurance premiums from rising. A program that pre-empts 20 unnecessary emergency department visits can easily save a business $50,000.

 

The science of wellness programs improving health is proven, but it is imperative that these programs are targeted at the right group of employees with the right programs with the right level of support and relevant content to ensure success.

 

The key is to engage in proactive health culture to support 100% of your employees, and allow highly data-driven specialist firms (such as Optimity) to use dynamic health risk assessments algorithms and smart targeting coaching programs to find the high-risk employees by engaging your employees in actively participating in their success. It is about building a culture of awareness and self-improvement to be able to achieve ROI.

 

Really and truly, any organization can do it. It is just about committing to change and getting the right experts on-board to help train and support you in understanding your own number and succeed in launching your proactive employee success practices.

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

iOS | Android

 

 

Sources

https://hbr.org/2016/04/meet-the-wellness-programs-that-save-companies-money

Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money?,

2012 Gallup State of the American Workplace study,

The Trillion Dollar Price Tag on an Unhealthy Workplace

Posted by Jane Wang

If serious health risks caused by stress, poor diet and lack of exercise aren’t enough to make a case for the dangers of an unhealthy work environment, how about 1.1 trillion dollars?

According to the Milken Institute, studies show that unhealthy workers cost North American employers approximately that much in lost productivity every year.  Sure, a job well done often requires sacrifice – extra hours, sometimes skipping meals, rearranging the exercise routine – but at what point does that sacrifice become counterproductive?

An unhealthy workforce is going have repercussions on your business’ bottom line

piggy.jpg

Unhealthy workers are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, require prescription medications and seek healthcare, driving up insurance and short-term disability costs.  At the office, these workers are typically unable to perform to their full capacity and are 27% more likely to call in sick than their healthier counterparts.  No matter how you look at it, an unhealthy workforce is bound to make both productivity & profits suffer.

 

According to Mayo Clinic Health Institutions, American employees that carry 5 or more health risks (such as poor nutrition, emotional health, safety and weight), incur an extra $3,321.00 above average in annual medical costs per person. They are also 12.2% less productive than employees that carry two health risks or less.  Even common, on-the-job pains like headaches & back pain come with a steep price tag – $47 billion in decreased productivity each year.  Clearly, unhealthy employees don’t come cheap.

livingoptimity.jpg

Health initiatives are worth investing in

Considering the numbers, employers stand to gain a lot from investing in wellness programs.  Taking a proactive approach to promoting healthy habits will not only improve productivity, financially, it’s simply smart business.

Corporate wellness doesn’t have to solely consist of health scans, gym memberships and reimbursements. There are more creative ways of cultivating a healthy office environment.

The goal is create a culture where employees choose to live a healthier lifestyle, rather than being forced to do so. Wellness works best when the experience is a shared one either through communal goals or — taking the opposite approach — pitting employees against each other to create healthy competition. Different people are motivated by different things.

Dollarphotoclub_73498966.jpg

Generally, companies will use the trackers as a motivator as part of a rewards program or company-wide competition. Then, they can use a Optimity dashboard with aggregated data to track steps, calories burned, active minutes, distance, hours of sleep etc.

BP, for example, has run a one million step challenge with Fitbit, where employees who hit the mark over the course of a year are eligible for a more deductible health plan. In one year, 23,000 employees took over 23 billion steps. Another company in the program celebrated the World Cup by challenging teams to walk a distance comparable to that of the company’s HQ to Rio de Janeiro — a total of 5,547 miles, or 4.4 miles (8,804 steps) per member per day.

 

You can run seasonable challenges, let employees bring their own wearables since Optimity syncs many wearables such as Fitbit, Misfit, Jawbone, Amazifit, Mi Band, etc. and normalizes all their step data to produce an equalized database.  This way rewards and team challenges will be perceived with fairness.

The normalized database also powers the Optimity dashboard to produce real-time analytics on the population’s behaviours with associated health and business risks.

Client Success managers can help you to make data-driven decisions using the dashboard to drive down your population risk for diabetes, heart disease and depression. Clients such as CST Consultants and Windley Ely are leveraging a cross-sectional team of employee success champions within their organization to boost rewards or change up their program systematically to achieve 80%+ participation! ( See more in our case studies section)

 

After all, a whole lot of good can be accomplished with a trillion dollars.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Have anything to add to this story? Tell us in the comments, and sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

iOS | Android

What Gen Y Teaches Us About Performance

Posted by Paul Boston

Gen Y is now entering the workforce and questioning some of the traditional management and leadership styles. As a result, they often receive some unflattering labels, such as “needy” or “entitled”. Often these labels have nothing to do with Gen Y, as there have always been needy and entitled people within organizations. If we stop and look past the labels, Gen Y might be actually teaching us how to improve workplace performance. In fact, they might have a significant role in redefining and elevating human performance within many organizations.


Looking at the performance sciences behind these Gen Y labels, you will start to uncover many performance skills and attitudes that are essential for human performance. Here are a couple of those labels and what they can teach us about improving human performance in our organizations regardless of generation.

Always requiring praise

I sometimes hear: “Oh, Gen Y always need to receive praise about their work”. I will be the first to point out to anyone that you are not always going to receive praise for the work you do. This is why the skill of self-motivation is essential. In fact, what Gen Y are asking for is performance feedback. They need to know what they are doing well and where to improve in order to better their performance.

I couldn’t imagine a high-performance athlete receiving performance feedback twice a year from a coach, and honestly being able to improve performance. However, many current performance management systems are based on reviews that happen twice a year. This might explain the growing trend in many organizations that are starting to replace old performance review processes.

Looking for quick advancement

It is said Gen Y is just looking for quick advancement within an organization, and if they don’t get it, they will look outside the organization for better opportunities. What this actually translates into from a performance standpoint, is that Gen Y wants to be challenged and need to advance their careers, both financially and professionally. This attitude is very common attitude by most high-level performers who are looking to grow their career.

Organization’s performance benefits are numerous with these types of employees. They are keen and welcome challenging assignments and new responsibilities. Organizations that can retain this type of employee will be on the road to creating a strong human performance culture.

There are many ways organizations can improve organizational performance, and perhaps one place to start is to fully understand the performance improvement attitudes and skills Gen Y are now bringing to our organizations.

All the best in achieving your highest performance.

Paul Boston


Paul Boston is the president of Actus Performance Inc., a high-performance development firm. Paul started his professional career working in the fast-paced and demanding world of marketing and advertising with Fortune 500 companies and organizations around the globe. At the same time, he started racing at the elite level of triathlons and qualified four times for the World Triathlon Championships. At that time, he discovered similarities between the approach to performance in his athletic and professional career. He then went back to school to study adult training and development, specializing in workplace performance skills. As an organizational high-performance development specialist, Paul works with clients to help them understand the fundamental performance values, attitudes and skills people, teams and organizations need in our ever-changing modern-day work world. Paul has published numerous articles and spoken to professional organizations across North America on 21st century workplace performance.

To learn more on how business performance is like athletic performance visit,www.actusperformance.com

 

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

iOS | Android

A Long Look at Office Well-Being

Posted by Jane Wang
Managing work life and personal life is a continuous struggle for most professionals. It is especially apparent in the professional services industry. When you are in a client-facing position, where billable hours dictate your performance and compensation, it is not always an easy task to juggle work assignments and personal issues at the same time.

Dollarphotoclub_93024443.jpg

Reactive vs. Proactive

Do you foster everyday well-being as an organization? Do you do it to control costs or do you up-stream the issue to help support employees in building sustainable habits and work-life routines?
Coaching employees to deal with stress before it happens becomes key to the success for the HR teams who aim to keep their star players performing. Top firms internally promote their support programs, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to help their team deal with mental health and stress issues when they arise.
egg-employees.jpeg
EAP is a great start to supporting wellness at work. But the problem with just relying on EAP’s is that often they are reactive, versus preventive. Heavy usage is also increasingly expensive. There is often a negative stigma surrounding their usage preventing employees from using them or talking about it openly to their peers.
This is why there is a stronger engagement with proactive programs, like those being offered by PwC through Optimity. Our unique approach opportunitistically inserts micro-exercises that improves your quality of life during your 9 to 5.

You know you do not get up enough at work. But even if you do, do you know what you can do for your neck, back, wrists and mind? Focusing on managing stress is not enough. Top firms understand that they need to provide coaching, at work, to prevent physical and cultural issues.

website-centralizedhub-01-1.pngResearch proven content: Delivered via mobile

  • 1 min long meditations at your fingertips to regain focus and reduce stress
  • 1 min desk-ercises throughout the day to reduce back pain
  • stretches for your neck
  • exercises to reduce eye strain

Micro-breaks leading to significant impact

  • Sync up to your habits through calendar-integration, and creates a smart schedule with micro-exercises optimized to create highest impact
  • Access to coaching by medical, nutritional, and mental health experts
  • Bring any wearable to the platform, and we helps you stay engaged on the go. Making it easier to keep on track to making consistent improvements.

Picture

Case study

McMillan LLP is a Canadian business law firm with offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montréal, and Hong Kong. Nisha Rider, Director of HR, leads the HR team in supporting employees in maintaining their positive mental health. “Managing stress and mental health is a key focus in law,” says Rider. “No firm has completely figured it out yet. We need to work with our employees to find solutions that works for them.”

This means helping employees deal with some of life’s most stressful issues, including chronic illnesses and becoming a new parent. McMillan has put together a Parenting Committee that runs programs for employees who have children. The program is open to mothers and fathers, with monthly meetings. There is no set agenda. Discussions are free-formed around any topics the attendees wish to talk about. “It’s a great way for people to support each other and share ideas,” says Rider.

McMillan also offers flexible work arrangements and provides on-site cooking demonstrations, nutrition seminars and personal training sessions to help new parents work quick exercises into their days.

Picture

To support work-life balance, you can run programs to help your employees with chronic conditions and lifestyle, such as having a 24-hour support system in place and taking a preventative stance on mental health and financial wellness. These 24/7 digitally accessible programs provide advice, information and support to employees and lift the burden of dealing with stressful or chronic situations alone.

Weave happiness into the everyday!

Innovative firms continue to invest in employee health- and lifestyle-related training. They pay attention to program design and adopting systems that integrates positive habits into their staff’s lifestyle and workflow.


So smile a little and enjoy the rest of your day!
Why not engage your whole office in the wellness game using Optimity? The Dooo Wellness program is an integrated digital full service program leveraging mobile, wearable, and online portals.
As featured in  YahooRecruiter.com and the Wall Street Journal

 

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

iOS | Android

5 Activities for Workplace Zen

Our team at Optimity often laugh about the buzzing, dizzying professional world we inhabit as a wellness company. Indeed, it has been a hectic season again. Our organization runs lean and everyone wears a lot of hats. The demand on time and energy is high every day. So under this relentless drum for productivity and progress, we are determined to stay sunny and upbeat.

Here are 5 little exercises that has made our work-lives more enjoyably zen.

  1. Shrink the list – Prioritize the day using the ABC system (A for Urgent and important, B for Important but can wait, C for Nice-to-haves). Then proceed to only do the As. By making peace with the fact that we often cannot do it all, we enable ourselves to focus on what is the best use of our time to get to our desired outcomes.
  2. Start with deep breathes – We can get energized throughout the day if we condition ourselves to take a couple of deep breathes every time we start a new task. We often get tired because we are not getting enough oxygen consistently into our brains. So avoid those headaches, and get into the habit of using more of our lung capacity throughout the day.
  3. Queue it up – Another item for the to-do? Don’t jump into right away. Instead, put it directly into your to-do list and continue on finishing your current task with focus and swiftness. This actually saves us time in the long run and prevents errors that occur when we switch contexts too often.
  4. Noise control – Be aware of your work environment and the noise level, and find your optimum ambient sound environment. Tuning your work settings will help you stay focused, calm and head-ache free all day.
  5. Easy path to victory – Do the most difficult task first, and the day is just strolling through a progressively easier path to getting things done. Remember to smile and enjoy every little victory.

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

iOS | Android