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3 Ways to Boost Participation in Your Wellbeing Program

July 5, 2016 / Uncategorized

Employee Wellbeing Participants, Virgin PulseOrganizations today understand that employee wellbeing is a considerable yet worthwhile investment. It’s why the majority of companies make it a top organizational priority, recognizing its essential role in improving the health of its workforce and its potential to pay dividends for the organization as a whole.

How vital is your employee wellbeing program to your bottom line? Research shows that employers with high-performing wellbeing programs have significantly improved employee engagement and productivity, and are more likely to attract and retain top talent.

To ensure you’re getting the most from your health and wellbeing initiatives in terms of achieving important business outcomes, consider these three ideas to boost employee participation…

Think Holistically

While physical wellness is still a cornerstone of any successful program, there’s been a shift over the past few years to include other areas of wellbeing, such as social connections, financial stability, mental health and nutrition. In fact, Virgin Pulse research shows that more than three-quarters of employers (76 percent) agree their organization is looking beyond physical wellness to overall wellbeing.

This inclusion demonstrates that employers now consider how someone’s health affects their ability to work successfully. If organizations support individuals on their personal wellbeing journeys, they will be in a better position to be successful.

Where to begin:

Encourage employees to stand up and move around once an hour throughout the workday

Promote healthy food options at your office or cafeteria and subsidize/incentivize the purchase

Offer a relaxation yoga class to your employees

Leverage Social Connections

When it comes to the difficult task of changing behavior, the support of family and friends is critical. This makes sense because spouses, children and domestic partners play a huge role in our daily lives. Think about it: who influences our eating, sleeping and exercise patterns more than people in our social networks? Employers are starting to understand this and are betting big that making these programs available to immediate family will have a positive snowball effect on employee health. If your wellbeing program can leverage someone’s social networks, better outcomes will soon follow.

Where to begin:

Fire up the competition. Organizational step challenges are fun, motivational and proven to increase engagement and activity. Our research shows that participants in the Virgin Pulse program experience a 33% spike in average daily steps during challenges and continue to enjoy a 25% increase in daily steps thereafter.

Make your current health and wellbeing benefits available to spouses, domestic partners and dependents as it’s proven to increase program participation. In fact, research shows adding spouses alone can double participation rates.

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Empower Your Champions

After 10+ years of experience with employers of all sizes, Virgin Pulse knows what it takes to help individuals develop the healthy habits needed to create long-term behavior change. To further power your employee wellbeing program, develop a network of wellbeing champions who are “on the ground” getting their peers enrolled and serving as a resource for employees who have questions or need support. With a majority of employees spending less than one hour reviewing benefits information each year, having a dedicated network of champions in place ensures employees know what’s available to them and are enthusiastic about participating.

Where to begin:

Give your employees a meaningful voice – conduct a survey on what health and wellbeing programs are of greatest interest and ask for volunteers to serve as program champions

Establish an ongoing champions committee to discuss how to implement cost-effective programs that both interest your workforce and address organizational health and productivity goals

Recognize and reward the champions that develop and implement some of the more creative new initiatives

Considering these three ideas is an important step toward developing a culture of wellbeing in your workplace. With everyone in your organization moving in union, you will create a culture strong enough to attract and retain top talent, improve productivity, contain medical costs and boost employee engagement.

Interested to learn more best practices of high-performing wellbeing programs? Download our white paper by Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board member Dr. Ron Goetzel.


Bryan Cormier is on the Global Sales Team at Virgin Pulse.  He works with organizations to build cultures of wellbeing so employees can be their best, most productive selves each day.  A movie buff and die-hard Boston sports fan, he spends his free time at the local multiplex and cheering on the hometown teams.

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