Use Your Wellness Program to Improve Your Company Culture

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If one of your goals this year is to use your wellness program to improve your company culture, you'll want to transform your traditional habit-changing program into a community-building one. The first step is to build a community of employees who are already healthy and active - they'll serve as the foundation of your culture by setting a positive example and encouraging others to join them.

One of the most effective ways to build this foundation is by adding a few challenges that are designed to appeal to your active employees. Many of these employees are in the habit of ignoring their company's wellness initiatives, so here are some things we recommend when putting together community-building challenges for our clients: 

Make it fun: This might be obvious but active people already like working out so make the challenges fun and competitive.

Keep Live Standings Front & Center: Building camaraderie and immediate gratification are what make challenges fun for active employees. If you do it right, I guarantee you'll hear the phrase “I'm gonna take you down” more than once.

Give Points for All Types of Workouts: Most active employees already have a good routine that works for them. They want credit for their bike rides, classes and adventure race training no matter when or where they do it. While steps, gym check-ins or group activities are easy to measure, most active folks will opt out of a challenge before changing their routine.

Make Manual Logging Easy: While devices are great, manual logging is important to capture just how hard a workout was, especially for yoga or weight lifting – they may not require a lot of steps but can kick your butt just the same.  But it’s got to be easy. Mobile apps with simple logging will yield higher participation than a spreadsheet at the office.

Maximize Social Interactions: People love to see photos of what others are doing to workout. This leads to trash-talking and story swapping, which goes a long way in building company culture. I’ve sat through countless conversations between newly-introduced coworkers who quickly begin comparing trails, gear and apps simply because they enjoy the same sport.

Don’t Focus on Prizes: Winning is the ultimate carrot, so don’t waste your money on expensive prizes. It can be as simple as a donation to their favorite charity or a fun trophy that gets passed around.

Time It Right: If your employees love to workout outdoors, time your challenge(s) so they can take advantage of being outside.

Communicate That It’s Different: Finally, when you communicate the challenge, make it stand out from your other wellness initiatives. Something that says “this isn’t your ordinary wellness challenge.” Emphasize the competition and not the health benefits by focusing on taking down their coworkers and leaderboard standings.

These are some guidelines we follow when putting together challenges for our clients.  If you want someone to take care of the heavy lifting and involve active employees in your wellness initiatives, check out Rumblesum.

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