This blog was posted on Inside INdiana Business’s website here.

According to the World Health Organization, “wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This holistic approach considers the whole person and serves as a benchmark and a way to improve employee engagement outcomes.

For companies around the globe, including netlogx, culture forms part of the backbone of the organization. As I recently sought inspiring words to help our team get through this extremely challenging time, I was reminded of some good advice from a friend to be kind to yourself. Tweak your expectations as needed to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in.

Now, more than ever, is time to heed that advice and I encourage all organizations who have the capacity to do so to place a high importance on wellness programs as an integral part of their annual goals. Striving to ensure team members and their families are well looked after not only through a competitive compensation package, but a wellness plan, not only boosts employee productivity, but the overall health of an organization.

Going Beyond Basic

A robust medical benefits package encourages team members to look after themselves and to be smart medical consumers. More than this, however, investing in team members’ well-being in a variety of ways helps supplement and go beyond the basic benefits they have become accustomed to. For instance, offering wellness reimbursement dollars to employees and thinking creatively to expand the criteria for eligible items to include spa treatments, acupuncture, meditation retreats, reimbursement for the purchase of organic food or enrollment in a dietician program are all tools that enable employers to better support employee health.

Healthy Competition

In this age of social distancing, keep employees engaged and healthy with some friendly competition comprised of Wellness Walks and friendly Fitbit contests, where winners receive additional wellness reimbursement dollars as prizes. Another health perk for employers to consider is reimbursing team members up to the amount of a basic physical activity tracker when they join the company.

As well as some of the more typical ways to celebrate team members like team Birthday Zoom meetings, random virtual “Appreciation Lunches” and “Spot Awards” (which recognize special contributions as they occur) are all activities that can be implemented to aid and encourage team member well-being and engagement. Think outside the box and get creative to determine what your team members will truly value. Programs implemented at netlogx have included the Postcard Initiative, which provided team members with a bonus to visit somewhere they had always dreamed of. The following year, we had our Bucket List Initiative, which offered employees a bonus to do something they’ve always wanted to and cross it off their “bucket list.”

Gift of Time

Truly valuing your team members and how much they give to your organization are key, so ensuring they have a good work-life balance is extremely important. Again, this can be done in a variety of ways – not least of which is recognizing team members for tenure with your company. In addition to a generous number of company-wide holidays, adding an extra half-day for Employee Appreciation Day, a floating birthday holiday, or an additional day when a holiday falls near the weekend allows team members to spend extra days with family and friends and goes above the standard benefits package.

Implementing programs and initiatives such as these obviously does not happen overnight. Below are three best practices to apply a successful wellness-related initiative:

  • Listen to your team members! This seems obvious; however, it is a crucial part of the process. The leadership team may have an idea, but if it does not resonate with your employees most likely it will not be successful. Do your homework — solicit feedback, talk to team members, and most importantly, listen to what is important to them.
  • Secure buy-in from the leadership team by making sure the proposed initiatives align with the company ethos and overall culture.
  • Communicate the initiatives effectively. Have a communication plan and share information about the initiatives in a variety of ways. Celebrate the initiatives for what they are and use social media to help promote.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to wellness and employee well-being. Having a program tailored to your organization and the individuals in it is the best way to ensure its success!