Top 15 things we’ve learned throughout our 15 years of corporate wellness experience

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2016 marks 15 years that AdvantageHealth has been in business. With over 225 past and present clients, and having worked with organizations of all sizes in over 20 states, we’ve learned a thing or two about the best practices in corporate wellness and managed corporate fitness centers. We’d like to share some of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned with you since starting out.

  1. Start communicating early. In the world of advertising they say that someone needs to see or hear an advertisement at least seven times before acting on it. Create a clear and creative communication plan, think outside of the communication box, and get the message out about your wellness program.
  2. Ask the employees want they want. Sure it might be an amazing wellness program that you are rolling out, but if it’s not want the employees want, the program could flop. Needs and interest surveys are crucial.
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of a wellness champion. Identifying and communicating on a regular basis with wellness champions, or those employees who believe and advocate for the wellness program, is one of your most powerful assets. Show these folks appreciation for their efforts.
  4. Share stories. Stories are one of the most powerful ways to share the impact of your wellness program. Collect and share personal stories, before and after photos, and quotes from employees who have reaped the benefits of your wellness program. People will forget facts and figures, but stories tend to stay in our memories
  5. Walk for wellness. Walking programs / step challenges are still one of the most powerful wellness programs you can offer. Team challenges promote comradery and walking is one of the best, easiest, and cheapest forms of exercise.
  6. Create 2 – 4 new cultural norms each year. Each corporate culture has its own set of norms, or the beliefs and behaviors of employees. A good rule of thumb is to strive to create a few new healthy norms each year, such as drinking water instead of soda or using work breaks to exercise, eat healthy and connect with others.
  7. Create ways for employees to foster relationships. Relationships are one of the top determiners of health and happiness. Create ways for employees to foster new relationships as well as strengthen existing relationships.
  8. Move toward intrinsic motivation. Sure the large cash incentives can get more people participating, but when it comes to long-term behavior change, intrinsic motivation is crucial. Autonomy, mastery and purpose are three key ways to build intrinsic motivation.
  9. ROI is good, but VOI may be better. Value of Investment captures the intangible effects of a wellness program. Increased resilience, happiness, satisfaction, and sense of purpose are all VOI components.
  10. Patience is key. Great wellness programs don’t happen overnight, or even in a year. It takes time to lay the wellness foundation and build it up. Stick with it.
  11. Senior leadership support is crucial.  Without top down support, the wellness program may not be viewed as an integral part of an organization and could be easily cut during budget time.
  12. Build wellness into your company mission.  Stating the value of a healthy workforce in an organization’s mission is a huge way to increase engagement and sustainability in a wellness program.
  13. Create a strategy.  By creating a strategy, you can show that wellness program is carefully researched and thoughtfully planned with specific goals and objectives.
  14. Create a supportive environment.  It takes so much more than offering a program to change someone’s behavior.  A supportive environment plays a critical role in helping employees to adopt and sustain healthier behaviors.
  15. One size does not fit all.  Every worksite is different and AdvantageHealth has always understood that.  We create wellness programs that fit the needs, interests and risks of each unique group that we work with.  We don’t believe in “cookie cutter” programs.

Are you ready to take your wellness program to the next level? View all of AdvantageHealth’s SERVICES or CONTACT US with any questions you may have.

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Mike Olson & Kristine Keykal, Co-Founders of AdvantageHealth Corporation, have been delivering best-in-class corporate wellness programs and managed corporate fitness centers for 20 years.