Why Corporate Wellness needs Corporate Willpower? Employee wellness should go beyond traditional health insurance coverage and become an optional activity to a central organizational theme

By Niveditha Viswanathan

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It is evident that employees and employers are narrowing the space between work and outside-work schedules globally. Today, companies are increasingly investing in bringing health and wellness to their employees. Across all markets, an impressive 88% of employers are planning to have a strategy in place in by 2018, according to Employee Health and Business Success report by Willis Tower Watson. A workplace isn't any more just a place to do work; just as health isn't just about reactively addressing health conditions and this has created an active ecosystem of wellness providers and corporates coming together with a unified mission - making employees healthier, while at work.

What Constitutes a Successful Corporate Wellness

A successful corporate wellness program though takes more than just an a-la-carte menu of popular classes or exercise sessions. Employees need something that fits into their current lifestyles. Asking employees to go to the gym every day, for example, is an additional step and results in low traction whereas, impactful corporate wellness programs are designed to be sticky. The key to ensuring stickiness and habit formation is to create a program where employees can go about their lives as it is; and still, achieve significant outcomes starting with incremental lifestyle changes.

It takes a personalized, contextual and digital program to be able to create sustained impact within the existing corporate lifestyle constraints. In our experience of working with large and small MNCs as well as Indian companies, there are three things that ensure successful wellness programs.

Related : #5 Tips for Managing Your Health and Wellness as An Entrepreneur

Focus Should be on Health

The most important aspect of creating an engaging program is to create hyper-personalized health journeys. No two employees in an organization are identical. Therefore, a successful wellness program aimed to create impact needs to ensure that each employee can create their individual health goals and journeys; while also working with their colleagues. With the current market of digital wellness solutions, both personalized data, as well as gamification, are driven right to the end user.

Need for Leaders Who Champion the Cause

Just gamification and digital solutions are still not sufficient to ensure a successful program. Every corporate also needs to identify champions of change. While most corporate wellness programs are spearheaded by HR leadership, the difference between good and great is evident. The great programs all have one thing in common - a set of passionate business leaders who champion the cause of wellness. Having these torchbearers sends a strong signal - that wellness is not just an HR concern; but rather a central objective of the company. Even a couple of passionate leaders can go a long way in ensuring outcomes across the company and tying it all together is the design of a relevant and visible rewards framework.

Related : Why Well-being, Wellness and Mental Well-being Should Be Part of Your Daily Dialogue

Supplement Monetary Benefits With Others

Most programs offer monetary benefits and prizes to incentivize employees to keep up active engagement and desired behaviors. While this does incentivize employees, it needs to be supplemented with other recognitions; for workplace wellness to become a successful movement. Getting colleagues to encourage each other, calling out laudable efforts among peers, creating teams to bring social commitment are some ways of ensuring that colleagues support each other and maintain momentum. The rewards framework isn't necessarily only for the outcome but also for the journey and the many small milestones en-route.

It is evident that corporate employees today, operate under demanding, stressful and ever-changing environments and as companies adapt to changing needs of doing business, consistent growth and successful outcomes can only be achieved with healthy and productive employees. In taking employee health seriously, companies are not only ensuring better productivity but are also significantly impacting their personal lives for the better. In the years to come, we can only expect employee wellness to go beyond traditional health insurance coverage and from being an optional activity to a central organizational theme.

Niveditha Viswanathan

VP, Business Development, Healthifyme

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