Recruit Top Talent by Stepping Up Your Wellness Game

November 28, 2017
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Wellness programs don’t just speak to the well-being of your employees — they say a lot about your work culture.

Wellness programs have a huge impact — not only on your employees’ well-being but also on your company’s success. According to a 2014 Virgin Pulse report, “Beyond Participation: How to Sustain Healthy Changes in Employee Behaviour,” 70% of employees say wellness programs have a positive impact on work culture. So it should come as no surprise that wellness plays a key role in attracting talent. In fact, the same report revealed that 87% of employees take health and wellness offerings into consideration during their job hunt.

Wellness programs are no longer a perk but an expectation in the workplace. The 2013 Sun Life– Buffett National Wellness Survey found that 90% of Canadian employers offer some sort of wellness incentive. A company not offering any wellness initiatives may be seen as a “black sheep” for job seekers. But even if your company is offering wellness, how do you compete with the other 90% of wellness aware companies out there who are competing for the same talent?

First, you must understand why wellness initiatives are so important to your employees. You may think the biggest reason is to improve their health, and this is true … for the employees who participate in the initiative. One 2014 GuideSpark survey found that while 70% of respondents say wellness is valuable, only 9% take full advantage of wellness programs offered.

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How can we see such increases in productivity and innovation with such low participation? Because the number one benefit from wellness initiatives is not improved health but improved workplace culture. It’s worth repeating that 70% of employees say wellness programs positively impact work culture. This means that your wellness offerings can have a significant impact on the productivity of your employees, even if they don’t participate in the program. You’ve made the biggest impact by making your employees feel encouraged and cared for. What better way to stimulate growth and productivity? It’s like saying: “We’ve got your back — we’re here for you.”

To attract the best new talent, consider these four tips to make your wellness programs stand out:

  1. DON’T SHOOT BLIND: Avoid choosing programs that “look good” just to be able to say you are offering wellness. Ask your employees what they are interested in and align your wellness offerings with their needs. This information can be gathered with a health survey, town hall, team huddles, etc.
  2. ALIGN YOUR WELLNESS PROGRAMS TO YOUR COMPANY’S CULTURE: If you have a “work through lunch” culture, don’t exclusively offer lunchtime wellness programs. If you have a team-building culture, offer wellness initiatives within teams, tailored to the team’s needs. If you have a workforce that is on the road a lot, offer webinar or teleconference programs.
  3. OFFER A VARIETY OF INITIATIVES THAT ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE: This can be any number of combinations of wellness offerings such as workshops on stress management, healthy cooking demos in the lunchroom, tai chi classes before work starts, healthy snacks in the vending machines, standing workstations, free step counters, “fresh air breaks,” wellness apps that push reminders to drink water, fresh juices and herbal teas.
  4. MAKE YOUR MESSAGE CLEAR: Along with being too busy, one of the top reasons why employees don’t participate in wellness programs is because they are not fully aware of what the company is offering. Find a way to get your message out about your wellness programs, starting with your wellness mission. Let your employees know why you are providing wellness and how they can stay tuned in to what is being offered. Be sure to disseminate your message in a way that fits your culture — if you have a tech-savvy workforce, push reminders with an app, an online calendar or through video-embedded emails; if you have employees that like old-fashioned tangible messages, try using a large wall calendar or desk-delivered flyers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jaty Tam
Dr. Jaty Tam, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor and Founder/Medical Director of Well Street, a workplace wellness provider specializing in holistic and education based wellness solutions to corporations across Canada. A highly sought-after speaker and developer of innovative wellness programs, Jaty empowers her audiences to ignite their highest potential through optimal wellness.

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