“How many points does your team have for the August competition, we were in fourth place last time I checked?”
“Have you tried the 8am spinning class at Equinox?”
It’s a good sign if your employees are talking and asking about wellness at work – we call this wellness chatter. Wellness chatter keeps the wellness program alive and encourages participation. Talking about wellness implants wellness into the company culture and helps maintain a successful and high-engagement wellness program and also prevents wellness from getting lost amongst other workplace priorities and initiatives.
Successful wellness chatter is organic, not forced. While not forced, wellness chatter can and should be encouraged. Providing the right environment and tools to encourage wellness talk is key… here are three tips to help:
#1: Official Start
Make sure that your wellness program has a formal start. An official kick-off event is a great way to jumpstart the program and bring awareness. For smaller companies, we recommend blocking off 20 minutes on all employees’ calendars and bringing the whole company together in one location. For larger companies this can be accomplished with video conferencing across multiple locations. Use this kick-off meeting to connect wellness to company’s mission and to unveil the new wellness program, answer any questions, and allow employees to start chatting about the program. If a budget allows, a healthy company lunch is a nice added touch. Make sure that senior leaders are involved in the kick-off so that employees understand wellness is a priority for the company. Bringing the company together makes a powerful statement that wellness is a company-wide initiative. A kick-off event will create buzz for the program and get employees talking about wellness from day 1.
Incorporating teams into a wellness program adds a social component and can encourage wellness chatter. Team members can help encourage, remind, and support other team members throughout the program. There are a number of ways to add a team component – one way is to create team-based wellness challenges. Having teams makes it easier to organize a group activity like a walking meeting or a gym workout. For some, team-based wellness activities may simply be another opportunity to socialize while doing something healthy. Regardless of the exact role teams play in a wellness program they will create additional wellness chatter.
To keep employees talking about wellness it’s important to remind them about wellness. Employee wellness communication should come in a number of forms (email, in-person, and text are a few options). We encourage employers to put up a wellness fact flyer in break room or communal space. A short but interesting wellness fact flyer can help keep wellness chatter going and subtly remind employees about the program. Be careful – finding the right communication balance is key; over communication can have a negative impact and discourage participation.