I attended a conference recently where a vendor and their client discussed a year-long wellness campaign model that produced an overall (signup) rate of just under 50%. That’s a pretty impressive statistic for a voluntary program, particularly when talking about larger populations — in this case, approximately 12,000 eligible employees.
Halfway through the presentation, they got into the incentive model. Among other enticements, it included $1 to an Amazon gift card for each social connection participants made. The average number of connections? 53. For this portion of the program, the organization paid more than a quarter million dollars based on my quick calculations.
A big part of our calling as wellness professionals is to support employees in engineering a better quality of life — and living longer. Sitting less has the potential to do both — and your wellness program can equip workers to make this simple-yet-complex behavior change.
It’s Not About Exercising More
“Sitting is the new smoking.” We’ve all heard the sound bite. But spending more time working up a sweat isn’t the answer. Exercise and sitting less are distinct behaviors with different health outcomes; likewise, not exercising and sitting more present distinct sets of risks. While a 30-minute daily walk or run offers terrific mental and physical benefits, exercise doesn’t cancel out the risks of sitting too much.
We keep hearing from wellness managers who have discontinued classroom-style programming — because the wellness portal is supposed to solve all their problems, people are too busy, they’re bored with the technique, or participants don’t want to be lumped with others working on stress management, weight loss, or smoking cessation. But are these valid reasons to scrap a technique that’s been effective in the past, offers unique advantages (such as group support and camaraderie), and continues to be successful in other arenas? Maybe not.
Your approach to classroom education could just be tired and dated. With a shot in the arm, you can find plenty of eager participants who benefit from this group learning. Answer these questions to see if you’re doing all you can to create an appealing classroom program.
Some wellness managers are notorious for letting potential participants slip through the cracks. Why? Because it can be more fun to create nifty promotions than to perform the more mundane tasks of reaching out to people who expressed interest but never registered or going back to former participants. That’s a mistake.
More often than not, someone who didn’t follow through got distracted, or the service you offered wasn’t quite what they were interested in at the moment. But with diligence, you probably could have pulled them in, or learned what you needed to change to get them involved.