When implemented successfully, workplace wellness programs can reduce health care costs, increase employee productivity and reduce absenteeism. Implementing a wearables initiative into your overall wellness program can help employees further by offering fitness and other health tracking. Wearables and supporting initiatives can help increase physical activity, especially when many jobs contribute to a sedentary lifestyle.
We were pleasantly surprised that our local area has a lower percentage of physical inactivity compared to the state of Michigan and the U.S. Find out how your county is doing at the County Health Rankings website.
Help your employees improve their physical activity level throughout the day with a wearable wellness tracker. These tips will get your wearables initiative off to a great start and get your employees in motion.
7 Wearables Engagement Tips
Offer Wearables at No-Cost or Reduced Cost
Often the financial barrier of obtaining a fitness tracker is what prevents employees from using them on their own or as part of a voluntary wellness program. By subsidizing the cost of wearables, your company supports both your employees’ physical and financial wellness. Keep in mind that your company and employees may have discount options through your medical provider. Some carriers have partnerships with wearable manufacturers directly or offer discount programs such as Blue365 from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Set Clear Goals with Incentives
Not offering an incentive is sure way for your wearables program to end up a flop. Incentives don’t have to be flashy and expensive, but they should illustrate your company’s commitment to employee’s overall health and wellbeing. If providing free/discount wearables up front isn’t getting buy-in from financial decision makers, try using a wearables reimbursement as your incentive.
Financial incentives could also include health plan premium reduction, small rewards for completing tasks on regular basis (working out 30 min, sleeping 8 hrs, etc.), or even gift cards. Non-financial or low-cost incentives are also a good bet depending on what’s appropriate for your workplace. Try a seasonal/annual trophy, PTO, catered lunch, company swag, etc. These low-cost options also work well as incentives to offer throughout your wearable program to maintain interest.
Get Spouses/Children Involved
We know that accountability partners are one of the strongest ways to make changes in our lives, so don’t leave out your employee’s top accountability partners – their family. You can include family members in the free/discounted wearable program or just make sure that you include communication that helps them stay involved your employee’s success. Keep in mind that even though they are not your employees, family members may be a healthcare cost for your company so their wellness should be just as important to maintain & improve. Including family members in a small wellness initiative can also go a long way in developing a family-friendly culture.
Starting small and scaling your wearables program as you sort out the kinks can make for a long-term success. Large companies may want to consider a test program with a small group of employees before launching a company-wide wearables program. Small businesses may not need a test program due to their size but may want to start with a small investment either in the wearables themselves or in incentives to gauge interest and gain feedback.
Keep it Fresh
Employees may be excited about your wearable program initially, but how do you keep their interest? Refresh the program and communications regularly depending on your resources. Seasonal communications and new short-term goals don’t involve too much time commitment. On a yearly basis, consider refreshing incentives, adding new communication methods (text, social, etc.), and supporting new supporting initiatives (walking clubs, gym reimbursement, etc).
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Always keep in mind your company’s goals when implementing and maintaining your wearables program. Wellness does not happen overnight, and your success depends on strong commitment from leadership and other champions for wellness at your company. Be sure to thank and reward wellness influencers, regardless of title, to encourage them to continue being ambassadors for your program.
Encourage Feedback & New Ideas
Make sure you’re not forgetting to check in with employees about their experience with your wellness program. Along with informal feedback, it may be helpful to coordinate regular surveys to provide actionable data. Employees should also have an outlet to provide their ideas for further development of your wearables program, this could be added to the feedback survey or through a wellness committee.
Employee wellness initiatives can help your company save money in the short and long term by encouraging healthier lifestyles. A wearables or other wellness program can also be a large contributor to growing a more positive company culture. Don’t miss out on our Free Step Challenge Checklist & Timeline to go along with your wearables initiative.
Need help? Your Austin team is here to assist with Wellness Programs, from design and implementation to surveys and more – it’s all free for our clients as part of our healthySOLUTIONS corporate wellness program. Contact us today for more information about this and other wellness solutions.