How Internal Wellness Programs Can Help Your Corporate Environment

Health and wellness are hot topics in today’s culture and have become an important part of company culture as well. Many are adjusting their eating, exercise and stress management habits to live a better and longer life. But forming these healthy habits don’t just create benefits for people’s personal lives, they can see positive changes within their professional life as well.

Companies are choosing to encourage employees to lead healthier lifestyles by creating wellness programs for all to participate in. Whether it’s a full-fledged program in an on-site gym, or simpler program like a Fitbit competition, group walk at lunch, or a midday stretch, there are plenty of benefits to be seen by a company when it invests in its employees’ well-being.

Below find 4 reasons why you should consider a wellness program for your company:

1. Higher rates of retention. When companies build a culture based around support for employee well-being, studies show that 83% of employees enjoy their work more and 91% of employees are less likely to leave the company.

2. Increased productivity. Associates who exercise regularly see an increase in concentration, which, in turn, helps increase productivity and performance during the workday.

3. Better atmosphere. Developing healthier habits improve moods and decrease stress amongst associates. This creates a better working environment that fosters good relationships and a collaborative culture.

4. More employee engagement. Participation and engagement can be difficult to develop when it comes to organizations and their employees. Constructing a wellness program can be an easy way for employees to engage and connect more to the company and people that they work with.

Want to increase engagement with a wellness program at your company? Tribe can help.




Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Five ideas for engaging employees with wellness programs

HiResCompanies often launch employee wellness programs because of the health benefits, but these programs also can increase employee engagement. By activating the programs with initiatives that focus not just on the individual but help employees connect with their co-workers, build departmental and cross-departmental relationships and feel part of a group, wellness can foster a much higher level of employee engagement. Here are five ideas for how to make that happen:

1. Start a competition: This could be an annual fitness competition, based on sticking to individual exercise goals; it could be a weight loss challenge; it could be collecting miles walked or run to reach a collective mileage goal. 

2. Use your intranet to add a social element: Let your employee intranet make individual wellness efforts visible and create both a competitive spirit and a venue for support. Employees can establish individual fitness profiles with goals and report their progress against those goal; they can post their planned workout for the day; they can track their mileage or time,; or they could even find tennis partners or running buddies from the ranks of their colleagues.

3. Create a partner program: Whether employees are working on weight management or smoking cessation or just general fitness, studies show having a partner can increase success rates. That could mean pairing two people both working on the same sort of goals, or assigning a mentor who’s had success in that area to someone just beginning to make a change in their life. For instance, you might have an experienced runner mentor a co-worker just beginning to train for their first 5K. Or you might pair two people trying to quit smoking as support for each other. These partnerships can be established and maintained via the intranet.

4. Launch a virtual competition across locations: This can be a particularly strong program for companies with locations spread across the country or around the world. Competing against other locations helps employees realize they’re part of something bigger than just their own office, and can build great awareness of and engagement with far-flung business units and colleagues. 

5. Host a healthy lunch contest online: People love to post shots of whatever they’re eating online. Why not harness that same impulse for an employee competition? Employees snap a picture of what they brought for lunch, post it on the intranet, and then other employees can vote for it or simply “like” it. This could also include a recipe element, but doesn’t need to. Shots of hummus and raw vegetables or a healthy chili or big salad need little explanation for others to emulate — and could prompt some spontaneous online conversation as well, which can connect employees who might otherwise never have had any reason to interact.

Interested in more ideas for employee engagement? Tribe can help.

Using wellness to build employee engagement

Wellness can play a powerful role in employee engagement. Corporate fitness programs not only improve employees’ health and productivity, but can also help break down silos and build stronger connections between employees.

Wellness programs also provide a way to humanize your executive management, if they’re willing to participate. There’s something about seeing your CEO or manager in running shorts that reminds employees, “Hey, they aren’t that different than me.” As soon as employees start to make realizations like this, they feel more of a human connection with company management. Something like a fitness competition or even a company wide 10k could spark a conversation between a frontline employee and CEO that leads to the next big idea.

One interesting provider of corporate wellness programs is Exos, known for its work with top athletes on performance training, nutrition and physical therapy. In their corporate programs, Exos takes an initial assessment of a company’s employees and then targets the key areas that inhibit them from achieving their goals

Intel reports great success from their participation in Exos’ new trials in corporate wellness. Besides the obvious ROI of healthier employees, Intel no doubt benefited from increased engagement and productivity as well.

To read more about Exos’ new health initiative follow this link: More on Exos’ health initiative here.

At Tribe we know wellness. Not only do we take wellness hours from time to time to get a workout in during the workday, we also just began our annual fitness competition. The competition takes place throughout February, March and April. Each member of the Tribe team set a weekly goal that must be completed to get credit for that week. After 3 months, the weeks are tallied up and the person with the most completed weeks wins the grand prize of $500, funded by Tribe. Now, I have never been at Tribe during the fitness competition but I hear it gets pretty competitive. I’ve already started engaging my fellow employees more about their weekly fitness, which often shifts to a productive work conversation. Bring it on fellow employees!

Interested in communicating wellness to your employees? Tribe can help.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Breaking down silos: 5 best practices that take a creative approach

One of the unfortunate results of today’s business environment requiring more specialized knowledge experts is that we then find ourselves working in silos. That is, we’re too often removed from colleagues in other parts of the company.

Yet we know that both innovation and collaboration are improved when we can bring together people with different perspectives, experience and knowledge bases. For companies willing to apply some creativity to building bridges between silos, the benefits can be huge, ranging from higher employee engagement to the cost savings resulting from shared knowledge.

Here are a few best practices to consider:

1.    Random Acts of Lunch: This is a fantastic way to build relationships across business units or departments or up and down the corporate hierarchy. Lunch Roulette is a new app that matches employees for lunch. The process is simple: employees enter a date they’re free for lunch and where they’d like to meet and the app then randomly matches them with another employee. Or, an employee from finance could request to be matched with someone in engineering. The CEO could ask to be paired with a frontline employee or more junior staffer. Imagine the difference in interactions between silos once people have spent some time together over sandwiches and shop talk.

2.   Window on the Other World: When we see each other’s faces, we instantly develop a stronger connection, even with little to no communication. If your company is dealing with silos created by geography, or you’ve just experienced a merger or acquisition, try giving employees in each location a view of the other. Let’s say the parent company in Des Moines has just acquired a company in Silicon Valley. You could install a camera and monitor in each location, with the monitor showing real-time activity in the other location. So the folks in Silicon Valley can wave to the Des Moines folks as they walk through their lobby during the day. And vice versa.

3.   The Company That Sweats Together: There’s nothing like seeing your CFO in bike shorts to level the playing field. Company wellness programs give employees a chance to bond outside their day-to-day role in the company. To increase interaction and engagement, sponsor a company team for a local 10K race, involving runners from all areas of the company. Or have an annual fitness competition, pitting departments or locations against each other.

4.   Building on Shared Passions: Give employees a chance to interact on behalf of causes they believe in. By sponsoring community efforts, the company can involve employees of all stripes in collective efforts. Or put together a corporate sustainability team that includes employees from divisions or locations that would ordinarily have little to do with each other. Shared passions have the power to unite, regardless of job function.

5.   Yeah, Good Idea: If your company’s reason for wanting to break down silos is primarily to promote innovation, give that innovation an established process and meeting place. Crowd innovation software like Spigit provides a methodology whereby employees can post ideas and receive feedback and votes from employees in other areas of the company. This algorithmic-focused system filters ideas on the front end and pushes winning innovations to the forefront. Other collaborative systems to consider are Jive and BrightIdea.

Give them a reason to brush shoulders, whether in person or online, and they’ll begin to build relationships. Get them to build relationships, and they’ll begin to share ideas. This is just a handful of ideas geared to providing opportunities for employees to interact outside their silos. If you have others, please share.