Are You Making These Biggest Mistakes in Your Company Wellness Program

Ideas to Prevent the Biggest Wellness Program Mistakes

reason for so much failure in wellness programsAustin, Texas:  If wellness programs are so important for employers to help reduce insurance costs, and so much money is being spent on these programs, why do so many wellness programs fail?

I was a on a blog the other day which was discussing how so many wellness programs fail over a short period of time, and I shared my experience on the major reason for most failure: Poor Communication and Follow up.

I’ve been in the incentive business since 1985…and have always noticed that the keys to any program are the kickoff and the communication–whether it is a sales incentive program, employee incentive or wellness incentive.

You can have the greatest program in the world, but if it is not properly announced, explained, and consistently brought to the attention of the employees, the program will die quickly — or only the most fit employees will participate, because they would have done those goals any way.

Most wellness coordinators tend to spend 95%+ of their time on the logistics of a program — while tending to ignore implementation and communication.

The proper and standard rule of thumb for effective incentive programs is about 80% on rewards and the balance on communication (engagement) and technology.

People are creatures of habit and the goal of a wellness program should be to change behaviors–over time. It takes constant reinforcement, cheer leading, hand holding, encouragement, “atta-boys” and peer recognition before significant nutritional, health and fitness goals can become second nature.

There are no quick fixes.

That being said, communication and engagement are usually the lacking ingredients — either for poor planning, budgetary reasons, loss of interest by the person heading up the program, apathy by the C-Level executives, other time constraints or lack of personnel.

We try to encourage wellness coordinators to have a big wellness program launch to get employees fired up.

Hold raffles and giving out lots of prizes for signing up–imprinted T-Shirts, promotional pedometers, wellness info guides and booklets and sports bottles.

In addition, we also encourage the use of logo promotional merchandise branded with the program’s logo on weekly contests — such as reaching a miles-walked goal, trying a new fitness goal, getting a friend or family member to walk with them one day, etc.

Keeping the program fun and reminding employees that the program is still alive & kicking helps to maintain interest.

As these weekly, monthly or bi-weekly contests are held, peer recognition and program reinforcement takes over–which are the greatest motivator.

That is where we can really help — as those companies that budget 8%-10% of their programs budgets for the kickoff and monthly reminders will be much more successful in keeping the program “top of mind”.

Our company, Wellness IncentivesPlus.com, for example, has thousands of wellness-oriented promotional items that can be imprinted with a wellness program’s logo.

Keep inspiring and motivating your employees to push themselves just a little bit further each week – and you will avoid the program failure that too many other wellness programs endure.

Keep reminding your employees of their wellness goals.

Help them keep their eyes on the prize– a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s to a healthier workforce.

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives.

These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points-including over 800 different promotional pedometer styles in all price ranges.

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Build a Better Wellness Program With Wellness Incentives Plus

Wellness program reminders and promotional itemsLet Wellness Incentives Plus help with your wellness program.

We are the leader in promotional items designed specifically for the wellness industry– including imprinted pedometers, health guides, exercise and yoga mats and more.

Whether you are looking for wellness incentives or wellness reminders, contact WellnessIncentivesPlus.com

Here’s to a healthier workforce.

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points.

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3 Tips for Educating Your Employees To Improve Their Personal Wellness and Fitness

Welness Program ideas

3 Tips to Improve Your Wellness Program Results

Austin, TX: As we work with hundreds of organizations on their wellness programs, we feel that employee education and knowledge is still lacking.

You can have dozens of wellness meetings, talk about your point program all day long and put up wellness banners all around your office- but many employees still do not understand the basics behind proper nutrition, exercise, etc.

What can you do to improve this communication to your employees?

We suggest several steps to improve the wellness and fitness of your employees:

1) Have educational seminars, videos and presentations

Perhaps you can partner with a nearby fitness center or hospital for informative seminars, videos and other presentations in return for free advertising or discounts.

Can you bring in a psychologist to talk about smoking cessation ideas and tips?

Are there other professionals that you can bring in from the outside that can address your employees?

Be creative.

Keep it fun and interactive.

Reward employees for attending these “classes”.

2) Provide educational reports, articles, newsletters and information packets on fitness and wellness topics

Your employees cannot be expected to change their behaviors overnight.  Most studies say it takes a minimum of 30 days of behavior modification before an old habit is broken and a new one can begin.

Make information available to your employees and encourage them to read.

An educated employee can be your best ally in helping themselves and other employees.

Make the printed material easy to find, easy to read and on subject.

If you don’t have the time, budget or personnel to do this by yourself, we have made printed info slide guides available on dozens of wellness topics-all which can be imprinted with your wellness theme and logo. Click here to see more details about these wellness guides.

3) Follow Up

Do not allow this information to be quickly forgotten.

Provide wellness reminders.

Have weekly quizzes (for prizes, of course) to ingrain these wellness and fitness ideas.

Give one on one attention to those employees that need a bit more “hand holding”, coddling or attention.

Encourage small meetings on particular topics or themes to gain employee participation.  These meeting groups can be for Smoking Cessation, Jogging for Beginners, Low-Calorie Cookie, STress Management, Introductory Yoga, etc.   You will be amazed at the power of self-directed employee groups and peer pressure.

Try these three tips and see how your wellness programs can be more effective.

Here’s to a healthier workforce.

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points.

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New Wellness Program Incentive Reward: Food Scale

imprinted kitchen saclesAustin, Texas:Wellness Incentives Plus has just introduced their newest wellness reminder gift– a stylish 2-piece kitchen food scale…fully customized with your logo and message.

These translucent scales measure ounces, pounds and milliliters. Scale tucks into tray for easy storage. Great for wellness programs,  dieting programs and health fairs.

Meets FDA Requirements. Complies with FDA.

Measures 4 1/2″ W x 6 1/2″ H x 3 1/2″ D

Comes in four stylish translucent color options:Blue, Pink, Green, Black

Available from WellnessIncentivesPlus.com

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When Was Your Last Wellness Motivation Meeting?

wellness reminders and meetings are crucial in motivatimg employeesAustin, Texas: Changing human behavior takes time.

Many studies show that it takes 30 days of daily practice to change a behavior, such as exercising, eating rituals, etc.

So, how do you expect your employees to make significant and meaningful changes to their wellness and health with one kickoff meeting and no followup?

Yet, that is what most health and wellness programs seem to do.

What a waste!

Wasted opportunity, because many of your employees are willing to try to change.

Wasted time in all those wellness planning committees, board approval meetings and other time and energy that was expended in order to launch a wellness program in the first place.

Wasted chances to reignite your wellness program.

The easiest way to keep your program fresh and alive is to have consistent wellness meetings, which can do several things:

  • – to keep your employees posted on how everybody is doing (peer pressure works very well)
  • – to let employees know about new updates to the program
  • – to explain new features of your wellness program
  • – to gather feedback and suggestions
  • – to reinforce management’s commitment
  • – to keep the program “top of mind”

At WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, we decided to spend less time on creating wellness programs and more time on wellness reminders and wellness rewards, since we know that is the most critical area that determines the success of your wellness program. It is better to spend $10-$20 on a series of imprinted wellness reminder gifts, such as imprinted pedometers, imprinted sports bottles, imprinted gym bags, imprinted wellness guides and imprinted T-shirts than it is to create a $20 incentive level.

One reminder every few days will go a long way to drilling your wellness theme and program into their minds and not letting them forget about it as time goes on.

There is no point designing intricate point programs and levels of fitness goals if there is no consistent push from the beginning.

Don’t “love ’em and leave ’em”.

Have daily or weekly reminders for your employees – whether it be email reminders, wellness guides, imprinted stress balls, imprinted pedometers or jump ropes or other reminder, mixed with meetings to inspire and to reinforce.

The first 30 days of your wellness program are the most crucial.  That will be the make it or break it period for the program. If you cannot get your employees to spend the next 30 days changing their old behaviors, then the program will be a failure.

Talk to each employee.  See what makes them tick.

Be visible.

Make the program fun — even silly.

Keep it fresh.

And, keep having meetings until the new, healthier behaviors become the new norm.

Here’s to a Healthier Workforce!

———————————————— Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points.

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Wellness Reminder: Custom Printed Nutrition Guide

Nutrition Guide For Everyday Foods Book

health fair giveawaysAustin, Texas: WellnessIncentivesPlus.com has just introduced their newest wellness guide, Nutrition Guide for Everyday Foods.

This convenient guide to living a healthier life and is ideal for health fairs and wellness programs.

Help your employees learn how to read food labels and understand how much your daily intake should be for each food group.

USA made. 36 pages in full color. Includes a 1 color, 1 location custom imprint.  Measures 3 3/4″ W x 6″ L.

Click at the link to learn more about the nutrition guide which can be custom printed with your program logo and message.

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How Often Should Your Company Remind Their Employees of Their Wellness Program and Goals?

Too Many Companies Overlook the Importance of Consistent Positive Wellness Reminders

How often Should you remind your employees of your wellness program?Austin, Texas  One of the most frequent questions we get is about the frequency of wellness reminders. Basically, the main question is: How often should a company remind their employees of their program without becoming a nag?

I find this question funny, as the results are usually the opposite: not enough time or effort spent on reminders and too  much time spent on the nitty-gritty of the wellness program itself.

Let me clarify one thing: when I use the term “wellness reminder”, I am referring more to “positive reinforcement”–not a Big Brother atmosphere.

If reminders are done in a positive way, then reminders can be a daily basis–with posters, signs, mementos, etc. — all promoting the wellness program mission and positive reinforcement message.

The whole goal of the wellness program is to incentivize real change .. and real change doesn’t happen overnight.

Usually it takes 30 days to change a habit–be it smoking cessation a daily walk, no cream and sugar in the morning coffee cup, etc.

Attaboys, stickers, pats on the back– all these should be forthcoming every day on a regular basis.  I see to many programs where a manger sends off a memo– and points are rewarded for the wellness incentive program, backs are patted, high fives are given– then it stops! Just like that–until another edict is announced or memo sent.

Positive reinforcements should be given as a matter of fact.  People like to be recognized with acknowledgement.  It helps to promote this new positive behavior.

To modify that management technique praised in the 1980s: Praise by Walking Around!

Get off your duff and notice people doing things right.

Catch them in the act of positivity.

Don’t jump on the negatives–use them as a chance to remind that person of their goals.

Be consistent.

Be positive.  People put up with enough negativity all day long that an “Attaboy” goes a long way.  A lot further than you would imagine.

Make an impact on the lives and psyches of your employees .. and you will encourage and reinforce positive wellness behaviors.

Can you reinforce the wellness message too often?

Usually this happens only when these reminders tend to be insincere or are negative.

These should be behavior reinforcements– catching people doing things right.

Not every employee is going to be successful — no matter what the program is. Spend the most time on those that seem to want to make positive improvements.

Remember the 80-20 Rule. Try to get the 80% of your employees to make positive changes in their wellness and fitness goals.

Don’t forget the other 20%–but they may be sabotaging your program.

Not everyone will buy into the program–regardless of its appeal.

Positive reminders can still help with those employees as well.

Be a cheerleader.

Be a friend.

Be a fan.

Be an encourager.

Don’t be a nag.

Here’s to a healthier workplace.

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points.

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New Wellness Reminders: Imprinted Exercise Bands

imprinted exercise bands for wellness programsAustin, Texas: WellnessIncentivesPlus.com has just introduced their newest wellness reminders: exercise bands.

Each band can be custom printed with your wellness program name and message.

Whether its at the gym or on the road, these heavy weight Stretch Exercise Band can stave off the workout cravings that all fitness buffs get.

Simple and versatile, this exercise band can be used in an assortment of exercises at varying resistance.

Perfect for wellness gifts, get-fit programs, and health fairs.

Measures 47″ W x 6″ H x 14″ D — less than $3.50 each–with your logo.

Available exclusively from WellnessIncentivesPlus.com click here for more information on these exercise bands.

 

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5 Tips for Getting C-Level Approval for Your Company’s Wellness Program

5 tips for getting your CEO to approve your corporate wellness programAustin, Texas: We have written extensively on the importance of getting yur CEO or other C-Level executives to buy into your wellness program in order to ensure its success.

Now, WELCOA, the Wellness Council of America,  has put together a free download that highlights five key ways to get your CEO involved:

1) Make The Business Case For Workplace Wellness Programs.

Provide data showing ROI from similar programs, get facts and figures from your insurance providers and discuss in simple math how a wellness program can lead to significant savings.  This program is not supposed to be a charity or handout.  If it makes economic sense, your executives should appreciate the program..and your efforts.

2)Enroll Your CEO In An Executive Health Program.

Once the executive has gone through the extensive testing, and has gotten the results back, he/she will be much better suited to understand the intricacies of the program..and its benefits to their employees. This process will show the executive that wellness is more than just numbers and charts.

3) Present Your CEO With Employee Testimonials.

By showing your CEO that your employees are enthused about a wellness program and explaining how a program can improve not just the fitness of the employees, but of their family, as well, your chances of persuasion for the program should increase exponentially.

4) Connect Your CEO With Other CEO’s Who Get It.

No CEO wants to fee that they “just don’t get it” when it comes to most issues – especially healthcare.  Once they see like-minded executives that have implemented wellness programs, they will be more likely to get behind the program– and endorse it with the strength of their convictions

5) Show Your CEO How Other Small Businesses Have Done It.

Executives love results — and if you can show them real world examples of success, the program becomes less abstract.  Instead of being a matter of “if”, it becomes a matter of “how soon”.

These ideas are simple ways to get the conversation rolling.  Other ideas are available online at WELCOA’s website–most of which are free with membership.

There is no excuse about putting off a wellness program for your employees.  These tips can provide the needed first step–management support.

Here’s to a more healthy workplace.

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points.

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3 Steps to Ruin Any Corporate Wellness Program

Austin, Texas: Our company has been involved in hundreds of corporate wellness programs over the past decade, and we see the same three mistakes over and over again that can sabotage or ruin any program, regardless of its intent.

I have seen some programs take as long as 18-24 months to finally get management approval, only to see the program die a quick death in less than four months.

Below are the three most important steps  that every wellness program needs to maximize its impact and to offer the greatest return on investment – and none of it includes the program itself.

Sure, having a sound program is crucial. That goes without saying.  I’m sure the program that your organization has been vetted (many times over) and has gotten the approval of both the employees and management.

Now what?

Here are the three mot important parts of any wellness program.  Avoid any of them at your own peril.  It will be doomed to failure from the start.

1. Announcement/Kickoff: Your kickoff should be a celebration – not a memo or poster placed on the rest room door. Treat it like a huge kick-off celebration, including a program theme, name and festivities.

Make it fun.

Keep it exciting.

Make it memorable.

Without a strong start, your wellness program will never gain traction or momentum that it needs.

It is very difficult to re-introduce a program that has failed to capture the attention of your employees.

Hold contests.  Have drawings for imprinted theme logo T-Shirts and imprinted pedometers – and corporate perks. Have lots of winners.  This is not the time to be stingy.

Have food and drink (healthy options, I would hope).

Bring in a motivational speaker or local cheer leaders.

Think carnival atmosphere— and you will be on the right track.

This is not the tme for the white collar treatment.  You are not announcing a new white paper or discussing a new accounting trick you learned.

You are announcing a fun program that can change your employees’ lives.

2. Wellness Reminders: Probably the easiest way to see your program lost effectiveness is lack of promotion.  Out of sight is out of mind for wellness programs.  Keep your program top-of-mind with constant reminders: which can be imprinted promotional products, like pens and pencils, magnets, key tags,sports bottles, koozies and more.

Promote the program with email newsletters, with posters and flyers, with announcements, with preferred parking spots, lunches with management, time off, etc.

Without consistent reinforcement and reminders, your wellness incentive will see high attrition rates.

Wellness reminders must be planned.  They cannot be sporadic or done whatever you get around to it.  It must be consistent in order to be effective.

3: Recognition: The final way to ruin a wellness program is not to recognize those employees who have been making progress and reaching certain criteria.  Now, personal weight is a private matter, but percentage weight loss can be promoted.  So can weeks of not smoking, consecutive days at a gym, etc.

Find fun and creative ways to recognize achievement– and also to recognize and reward positive small steps. All employees should have the opportunity to be recognized and rewarded on a regular basis.  It can be as simple as a decal, ribbon or pin that gets earned for meeting weekly goals to plaques and awards for meeting other goals.

Bottom line, people respond to peer approval and recognition, and will brag about it to friends and families.  After all, isn’t your wellness program supposed to be a feel good experience?

Getting the go ahead and the budget for a wellness program is just the first step in a successful program.  Following these three steps will keep your employees motivated, improve success rates, and keep management supportive.

Here’s to a healthier workforce!

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points.

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