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Jeff Archer

The Tonic


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Blog: Seven ways to ensure your wellness initiatives are sustainable


Many wellness programmes begin with a fanfare, and rightly so.  

If you’ve invested time and resources in developing the best wellness programme possible for your business, you’ll want to shout about it from the rooftops when it’s ready to launch.  
You can then stand back and enjoy the flurry of activity and enthusiasm as staff sign up and get involved in the exciting new initiatives. The long-term success of any wellness programme can be at risk, however, if the initial enthusiasm dies down.  
To prevent this, it’s vital to think beyond how you get started with wellness so for guaranteed ongoing results for your business, here’s what you need to consider:
1. Be strategic
At the earliest possible stage of planning your wellness initiatives, decide what timeframe you are working to and communicate this clearly at all stages to everyone involved. Outline the planned evolution of wellness and explain the schedule of which initiatives you’re considering at each stage.  
Above all, be explicit that wellness is here to stay and will become an integral part of your business culture.
2. Shout about wellness whenever you can
Publicise all events so that staff know what’s coming up and that there are always wellness resources for them to make use of when required.
Don’t by shy about advertising all the positive results you achieve with the programme. Recognising those who perform well is a great way to let everyone in the business know that the initiatives are working and also gives them a clear idea of what results they can expect if they get involved. 
3. Identify key advocates
You need wellness champions placed around the business to help maintain the profile of your initiatives. These individuals can help promote your initiatives formally with marketing materials and informally by simply speaking to colleagues about what’s happening.  
They can also provide feedback from the front line on how your initiatives are being received and how you may wish to modify your approach to meet the requirements of the end users.
4. Be flexible with your approach
Wellbeing initiatives must always be relevant for them to be successful. People change and the business environment moves on so make sure you regularly review your range of initiatives so you can discontinue anything that isn’t working and experiment with new ideas when appropriate.  
Be clear about which initiatives are successful and popular and make sure they are always readily accessible to those who’d like to make use of them. Don’t immediately discontinue those initiatives that aren’t subscribed to in huge numbers. If they work for a few people then they’re worth keeping.  
If you cut any initiative, communicate why this is the case and provide alternatives so that no one feels short changed.
5. Encourage sneezing
One of the best ways to maintain ongoing enthusiasm for your wellness programme throughout the business is to foster an environment where people want to talk about how great it is, regardless of whether you encourage them to do so or not.  
There are certain products that people just love to tell others about how their life just wouldn’t be the same without them, take Sky+, the iPhone or Skype as just a few examples.  
This unprompted and enthusiastic marketing – sometimes known as sneezing – is fantastic for reputation-building so when your designing and refining your wellness programme, it’s a great idea to give some thought to which elements will really get people excited and ‘sneezing’ about what you’re doing to everyone they come into contact with.
6. Develop events for the diary
If your wellness programme includes popular elements that can be repeated on a regular basis, this can help maintain awareness and engagement in the programme as a whole.
If you organise a sporting tournament, make it an annual event, diet clubs should have weekly weigh-ins and if you have wellness experts visiting your business make sure they arrive at least once a month so everyone knows when they are there and when they can make use of this resource.  
Ongoing competitions with regular publicised updates of the latest results can also help maintain the momentum behind your programme.
7. Accountability leads to results and positive reviews
If you include wellness modules on leadership or training programmes, make sure they are a regular feature so that those who attend know there will be more information available in the future and also an update on how they are progressing since the last module.  
This element of accountability with your initiatives will lead to better results for individuals which, in turn, leads to a more positive buzz about wellness throughout the business. The bottom line is that it’s easy to generate and maintain enthusiasm for any aspect of business when it’s successful.  
As long as your employees are engaging with your wellness programme and experiencing positive results, and your initiatives are well subscribed and performing well according to whichever criteria you and senior management have agreed, your wellness programme is positioned to go from strength to strength, marked by increasing enthusiasm with the passing of each month.
Jeff Archer is director of corporate wellbeing consultancy, The Tonic.

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Jeff Archer


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