What’s Your Wellness Weak Link?

Wellness Weak Link-Post

You’ve made the decision to implement a wellness program in your workplace. You’ve researched the benefits, put together a wellness strategy, and you’re ready to see the results.  Unfortunately, recognizing the results isn’t always that easy. Many employers struggle to get programs off the ground, and once they have, programs are often hard to sustain. So what’s the secret?

In this Wellness Wednesday, we take a look at a few reasons why your wellness program may be failing.


You’re lacking support from leadership

Let’s face it, for many CEO’s wellness is largely irrelevant. Until recent years, wellness has never been seen as a strategic initiative towards success. As a result, many wellness programs lack support from upper leadership.

A study by RAND found that for wellness programs to achieve success, senior managers must identify wellness as an organizational priority. Leaders should not only promote and encourage participation but also be active participants and champion the program. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.

However, if your workplace doesn’t have support from leadership, we suggest forming a wellness committee to help guide and take ownership of your wellness initiatives. A wellness committee can reinforce a wellness program that is ‘employee’ focused, rather than a program seen as forced down from management.


Your program isn’t accessible

Does your program only offer help outside of your office walls? Gym memberships, health seminars and wellness rebates are great initiatives, however, if they are restricted to an employee’s personal time you eliminate the notion of ‘workplace wellness’.  If your program isn’t accessible, it’s more likely that your employees will spend their time elsewhere at the end of their workday. We’re not saying you shouldn’t offer initiatives that take place off-site, but rather be sure to incorporate wellness activities on-site as well.


Your incentives aren’t seeing results

Incentives can be a great way to foster wellness engagement- if used correctly. A common complaint we’ve heard is that incentives drive employees into the program initially, however, once employees receive the perks, they’re out.  This doesn’t help improve the overall health of your team. If you choose to use incentives as part of your program, consider the following:

  • Are you using a stick, rather than a carrot? There are two types of incentives: (1) Negative incentives or ‘sticks’ such as punishments or fines, and (2) Positive incentives or ‘carrots’ such as reinforcements. Wellness programs that focus on the ‘stick’ approach almost always fail. We recommend avoiding any type of penalty for lack of participation. Remember, the goal of your wellness programs should be to support long-term health habits. Look to utilize the carrot approach and reward those who adopt healthy behaviours. 


  • Are your rewards encouraging health & wellness? Make sure to avoid rewards that could endorse unhealthy behaviour (i.e. fast food gift cards). Instead, offer rewards that promote wellness, such as gym rebates, yoga classes, and juice-bar gift cards.


  • Are your rewards meaningful? Incentives should be designed to motivate employees and should be tailored to their individual wants. Listen and communicate with your team to find out what incentives will motivate them the most.


Your focus is too narrow

Bring a holistic view to your programming- wellness isn’t one-size fits all. Take a good look at your program and incorporate elements of emotional, financial, social, spiritual and physical wellness.  Personalize your programming by offering a wide variety of wellness initiatives that cater to your entire workforce. In doing so, you are much more likely to see an increase in participation.


Not sure where to start? If you would like assistance with your workplace wellness programming, please contact Pivot HR Services at info@pivothrservices.ca


Related Links:

Wednesday Wellness: How to Spring Clean Your Workplace Wellness

Beat the Motivation Slump: Stay On Pace With Your 2019 Goals

Pivot HR Services: Culture Building and HR Strategy


What Our Clients say about us

Read more testimonials