It’s January, let the resolutions begin! Whether it’s losing weight, eating better, or getting off the couch—now is the time to commit to self-improvement. Unfortunately for most people, heartfelt New Year’s resolutions are often forgotten by February.
Employers, however, can be major drivers to help staff achieve their health goals, and when that happens, it’s a win for everyone. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), businesses of all sizes can influence staff wellbeing without requiring an immense effort or vast resources. Like most things, a good workplace health program starts with strong leadership and requires top-down engagement to achieve lasting results. Smart leaders understand the value of these programs and allow time and space flexibility to support the effort. (Think early-morning yoga in the conference room.)
Creating a culture of health can bring lasting benefits to an organization even with minimal investment. Ambitious programs offer various levels of company funding depending on available resources, such as on-site equipment, classes with certified fitness trainers, or organized sports. Smaller programs may include company-subsidized programs at nearby gyms, organized events such as team walks or jogs at lunchtime, or healthy potluck meals with different themes. Whatever the size of the program or commitment of funds, successful workplace health initiatives result in individual and group benefits that go beyond losing a few pounds or lowering cholesterol.
Workplace-health programs aim to improve employee wellbeing and reduce sick time, but they also contribute to increased productivity and a health-focused company culture. Using team-building skills and shared goal setting as a basis for achieving health-related outcomes leads to personal satisfaction as well as a stronger sense of community. In today’s challenging market for skilled talent, attracting and retaining top performers requires more than simply offering competitive wages: People want to feel connected to a culture where they are respected, valued, and supported to be their best selves.
Most successful workplace-health programs are customized to meet the organization’s needs, interests and resources. Start by asking for employee suggestions. Provide incentives and opportunities for staff to be active leaders and participants in the company’s wellness efforts. Run contests and give prizes for achieving exercise milestones, weight loss, or other health-promoting goals. Competition can be structured for individuals or teams, adding a fun incentive that helps with motivation. For more about how to initiate a health-based program, check out the CDC’s Workplace Health Resource Center.
While it has always been difficult to stay committed to New Year’s resolutions, a good workplace health program can help employees meet their health goals and at the same time, provide substantial and lasting benefits to the company overall. Happy New Year!