Employee Engagement: 5 Steps to Get Your Employees to Buy In to Your Wellness Program

  • Jan 13, 2012

5 Tips to improve employee engagement in wellness programsAustin, Texas: Perhaps the buzzword of 2012 will be employee engagement.

Any healthcare program implemented will not be successful until they increase their program participation rate.

We have helped dozens of companies implement their wellness incentives in the past year and the one area that I hear the most centers around employee engagement.

It’s one thing to get the fit and healthy employees to participate in a wellness program or get a health screening assessment.

But how to your engage the less healthy employees to participate?

Here are five simple steps:

1) Peer Pressure: Set up your program into groups. Nobody wants to let down an entire team , all of whom need 100% participation rate to start earning points.  It is one thing to let down yourself.  Heck, two weeks into the new year and I would bet more than half of your employees have already reneged on their New Year’s resolutions.  But it is another thing to earn the scorn of your fellow employees. Peer pressure works on most employees and is worth a try.

2) Positive Reinforcement: I have seen many Human Resource Directors chide employees, nag them, hound them, belittle them, etc. to get them to participate. Guilt trips–maybe that works form some of their mothers, but you are not their parent.  Ridicule? You have got to be kidding! Threats? Really??

Positive reinforcement works on many levels to help correct the course for those employees who need a gentle reminder to help stay the course or to participate.  Don’t give up hope on those employees that seem to teeter on the edges of participating or not participating. Coax gently.

3) Wellness Reminders: I am such a huge fan of wellness reminders that I started a company that makes wellness reminders the main priority of any wellness program, WellnessIncentivesPlus.com.

It is one thing to talk about a program.  But imprinted reminders that stay on an employees desk and is seen by the employee day after day makes a positive impression over time. This would include imprinted stress relievers, health tip guides, imprinted pedometers, pens and pencils imprinted with the wellness theme, etc.

4) Fast Track Program: Everyone likes programs where they can see positive results fast. Create a Fast Track element to your wellness program that rewards employees for short term results– losing two pounds, not smoking for one week, going to a gym three times, etc.

Short and sweet can help start momentum –which leads to increased participation and engagement.

5) Remember the 80/20 Rule: Keep this in mind–not everyone will participate in your program. They may have their reasons … or they just might like to eat Twinkies for breakfast and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day – and there is nothing you, or anybody else can do to change their behaviors.

Concentrate the bulk of your time and effort on those that are willing to make changes in their health, fitness and well being.  Don’t ignore or forget about the 20%– but spend the majority of your time continuing to motivate and inspire them to make a difference in their lifestyles.  The other 20% may come aboard over time.  Review steps one through four for them — and keep an eye on improving your engagement percentage.

Here’s to a healthier workplace.


  • Category: Wellness Programs
  • Tags: employee engagement, ideas to increase participation in wellness programs, increase engament in wellness program, Wellness incentives, wellness programs