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The topic of workplace wellbeing and engagement is being discussed a lot lately. Some businesses have embedded it into their culture from the get-go, whilst some are just figuring out where to start. The best way to approach the topic is to first identify the needs of your business and your people, and then create a clear strategy for implementation and measurement. In this article, I’ve addressed some of the key considerations that are crucial in developing an effective workplace wellbeing program; from understanding what drives your people to ensuringthe most ROI on your program based on data-driven intelligence.

Some companies believe that it’s too hard or too time consuming to manage employee wellbeing and engagement in the workplaceand as such, decide to provide their employees with a cash subsidy to claim at a fitness center or gym. But is this really enough? Is it sufficient to provide subsidy for physical activity but then be disengaged throughout the process? It might be effective for some, but more often than not, the employer assumes no responsibility in actually promoting and encouraging healthier habits as they are disengaged from the journey. The notion here isthat engagement in any wellbeing program is crucial and without meaningful connection, the program or initiative runs a strong chance of wasted efforts and investment.

Another thing to consider when designing an effective workplace wellbeing program is to find out what drives and motivates people. It’s too vague to assume that every one of your employees enjoys the same thing - another mistake that companies often make, again resulting in disengaged colleagues and a low success rate. Consider human connection surveys; asking people what it is that makes them happy, what inspires them to move, how they find motivation to be a better version of themselves. These crucial learnings will enable you to create a program with data and purpose, and at the same time empower your people to share openly about ways in which they can offer the best of themselves, rather than the most of themselves.

Once you know your people and what gets them motivated, you should empower them with variety and breadth. Going to the gymmay not be for everyone, so it’s important to ensure that you provide flexible options that keep people engaged - and these options should encompass mind, body and soul because this is the triangle that makes for a complete, holistic and whole wellbeing journey. Another important factor is to accept that health and wellbeing is not only a physical game - and perhaps even more important, is the mental health of your people.

In order to fully drive a successful program, it is largely evident through ongoing case studies that your organisation must have an internal ambassador or committee that are fully engaged with the wellbeing initiatives conducted. People respond better to things in the workplace when there is a structured and focused approach. Sometimes wellbeing initiatives are passed on to marketing or HR functions, which is fine if it works for you, as longas the designated person/ committee is assigned various KPI’s/ objectives to ensure program success.

Once you’ve chosen the right tools and initiatives to create a workplace wellbeing program that you believe suits the needs of your people and your business, the ongoing success is tied to the metrics and analytics collected. It’s not enough to deploy a program that is open-ended, as doing so results in a vague outcome with no true understanding on the effectiveness. Conversely, data-driven programs allow you to analyse and assess the things that work and the things that don’t, enabling you to apply relevant decision-making to dynamically pivot and fine-tune your offering. This ensures that your investment has been worthwhile.

I’ve spoken about engagement but what exactly does it mean? Is a themed poster in the office kiosk enough to be considered marketing effort and expect an engaged response? From experience, it takes much more than that. Engagement should notencompass a single approach strategy but rather a multi-pronged effort keeping in mind physical and digital initiatives. Truth said, engagement is the heartbeat of any successful wellbeing program. Data-driven engagement is the source of awareness, education and motivation behind the program and something which should be highly considered and planned from the get-go.

People respond well to recognition, rewards and incentives. As such, it’s important to have relevant extrinsic healthy rewards andincentives that work, centered around your wellbeing program. These rewards should be conducive to the program, hence the mention of ‘healthy’ rewards. Perhaps an employee has had an active streak of 60 minutes of physical activity for 21 days in a row and this qualifies them for a gift card to a sports retailer where they can invest in fitness-wear to further promote their active journey. Again, recognition, rewards and incentives should be purposeful and geared towards the overall objective; getting your people healthier, happier and more motivated.

A common myth about workplace wellbeing programs is that theyare too expensive. This doesn’t have to be the case as creativity can take you a long way when you learn to optimize with relevance. Sure, an allocated budget is recommended to get things rolling, however first and foremost, shifting your mindset from an expense to an investment mentality, will help you look at the space of employee wellbeing differently. Think about it, happier, healthier employees equate to a more motivated workforce with heightened productivity, heightened loyalty and overall positive results. The equation is quite simple if you take a focused moment to reflect on it. Finally, the topic of workplace wellbeing in itself can be quite daunting because it’s a challenge knowing where to start, what’s most effective for the nature of your workplace, how to introduce the new culture and so on. But it need not be. It takes a few steps to understand the most effective approach for your organisation. It also takes openness to learn and trial because chances are that not every initiative you deploy will be a raging success. Like with all great things, it takes time to design, build upon and roll out something that has meaning to the people who drive your business.

At Switch, we believe that empowering our people and enabling them to live every moment is what drives the growth and successof our business. If you’re interested to know more about Switch for Business; our Employee Engagement and Wellbeing solution, reach out to me on

Until next time!

Wellness Regards,

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