How to encourage healthy habits in employees

This is how HR can get staffers to take ownership of their well-being at the workplace

How to encourage healthy habits in employees

Employee well-being is about more than just gym memberships, team events, challenges and other wellness solutions. Here are some ways you can affect real change and get employees to adopt healthy habits that improve their well-being.

Why focus on well-being?
Sure, you want to reduce healthcare costs and have a well-being program that makes you an attractive place to work. But well-being is about much more than that. It’s about building a culture that helps employees perform at their very best, in a way that is aligned to your company’s priorities and values.

How to create healthy habits
According to Dr B.J. Fogg, a renowned behavioural psychologist at Stanford University, there is a proven model for creating healthy habits. It includes making behaviours easy to do and helping people feel successful when they do them. As you look at your well-being solution, keep this model in mind.

1. Focus on the right behaviour – Personal autonomy is essential. Help people focus on the behaviours that they want to change, not just generic ones.
2. Make it easy – Goals need to be both easy to understand and easy to do. Focus on small and simple behaviours.
3. Trigger the behaviour – Most habits have a trigger. Create ways to trigger the healthy behaviour you’ve chosen.
4. Reward success – Habits are developed on emotion and reward.
5. Practise and repeat – Building a new skill takes support, repetition, and practise.

Helping people be successful
Recognition for achieving healthy habits is the best way to make people feel successful for even the smallest changes in behaviour.

Whether it’s as small as taking a walk instead of grabbing an unhealthy snack, or something bigger like running their first marathon, saying “great work” when employees exhibit healthy behaviours ensures employees do it again.

In fact, appreciation impacts all areas of well-being—employees who feel appreciated:

As you work on your well-being strategies and initiatives, make change contagious by helping people build healthy habits at work. You’ll create a culture where employees feel and do their very best, every day.

The article originally appeared on O.C. Tanner

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