Opinion: How to be a wellness innovator

by External23 Mar 2016
Want to be an innovator in the area of corporate wellness? Georgie Drury outlines how.

Welcome to the third article in Workplace Wellness Programs 101, where I’m going through the basics of introducing workplace wellness programs.

In the last two sessions we covered wellness programs themselves and the cultural foundations needed for them to succeed. This article deals with the nuts and bolts of introducing them.

Workplace wellness programs can’t just consist of three or four – or more – activities you hope your employees will follow. To make the process succeed, you have to:
  • Educate your employees on the five pillars of wellbeing (physical, emotional, social, financial, career).
  • Measure your employees’ wellbeing data from the start, so you can understand your company’s wellbeing profile and measure improvements later.
  • Offer a range of activities and support to inspire employees to take action. These could be internal or external and could include things such as pedometer challenges, exercise programs, financial coaching, health checks, and EAP.
  • Help employees track and measure their progress.
Very few organisations have the expertise to manage this whole process. In the first place, wellness programs are specific, either to a company section (a certain department might want, say, an OH&S program) or to an employee (each person starts off in a different place and works at a different level). So a one-size-fits-all approach can’t work. On the other hand, making wellness programs to order would mean higher costs, reduced margins, slow growth and failure.

The answer of course is technology. Through wellness hubs, online courses, wearable devices and tracking software, employees can go through activities at their own pace. And the programs themselves can be gamified. (I’ll talk about gamification in my next article.)

If you don’t have access to this expertise in-house, or the resources to develop it, and you want your workplace wellness project to succeed, you need to partner with a wellness expert.

An expert wellness company like Springday – my company – can support, and bring creativity to, the workplace wellness process. We partner with large organisations, acting as their technology innovators. Companies like us have learned what consumers want in terms of wellbeing and how to use technology to drive it. We can bring in any third party programs needed. We become the engine driving your branded programs, without you having to buy in resources that could become obsolescent very quickly.

And, because we’re small and flexible, we stay at the cutting edge of HR, technology and health and can bring larger companies innovation without risk.

There are, however, some key steps to making this kind of partnership succeed:
  • Start by knowing your baseline measurements: you can’t manage what you can’t measure. You need to know what’s going on inside your business. It seems obvious, but do you know the major issue your business is facing? Do you have a handle on employee turnover? Employee engagement?
  • Present some options: before you spend anything, get a snapshot of the CEO’s goals, the HRD’s goals and the employees’ goals. Then use them to work with your partner to present solutions.
  • Get buy-in: the most successful programs have both executive and employee leadership engagement. For example, one client of Springday, Randstad, surveyed all their staff and the results were presented to the executive team, so that everyone had buy-in.
  • Deploy: plan the rollout. What is the best time in the business cycle to deploy your program? You don’t want conflicting communication. You don’t want to roll out internal and external programs at the same time.
  • Follow up: follow up not only with employees, but also with your partners. Some partnerships will need only occasional contact. Others, particularly companies lacking resources, will use their partner as an outsourced bureau service.
In my last article, I’ll talk about gamification and how important it is to workplace wellness programs.
About the author
Georgie Drury is the CEO & Founder at Springday. Her background spans education, management consulting and technological innovation, particularly applied to consumer needs.Georgie applied her experience to create Springday, a company which integrates cutting edge technology, human resources and wellbeing. Springday develops, sources and collates wellness programs, material and expertise. Companies nationwide access these resources and improve employee wellbeing and engagement via Springday’s powerful, infinitely flexible, cloud-based platform.