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THRIVEx Week 4 Highlights: Preparing for the Future of COVID-19 and Motivating Your Workforce with Intrinsic Rewards

June 25, 2020 / Employee Wellbeing Best Practices

Written By: Jordan Dunne

Four weeks down, only one week left to go for THRIVEx, but neither we, nor our attendees, seem to want our month-long virtual event to end. Check out what people are saying:

“This conference has been a great break from the constant COVID-related stress experienced at my healthcare organization. Thank you so much! I look forward to Tuesdays now!” 

“Great offering. It is so appreciated by our team and clients to have access to this extremely well-done event!  Thank you!”

“Thanks for doing this for your clients in a time where we cannot travel to a conference, but yet we still need to grow and get better.”

Thank you to everyone who has taken time out of their busy schedules to tune in each week. While we can’t be together in person as planned, we’re thrilled to see that the spirit of Thrive Summit is alive and well. This week, we welcomed one of our original Thrive Summit 2020 keynote speakers, Johns Hopkins public health policy expert, New York Times bestselling author and, most recently, Fox News expert correspondent on COVID-19, Dr. Marty Makary. We also learned how to shift to intrinsic rewards for your employee wellbeing program while maintaining engagement and had a few wellbeing breaks along the way.

From how it’s spread to how it affects our bodies to the measures employers need to take to reopen the workplace, COVID-19 has come with a sense of anxiety and uncertainty at every turn. But scientists and medical professionals are learning more and more as we continue to battle this novel coronavirus. Dr. Marty Makary shared the industry’s most recent findings:

masks & hand sanitizer
  • Research has shown that COVID-19 is not spread primarily through contaminated surfaces or brief interactions; rather it’s spread primarily through microdroplets, a part of regular speech
  • Ventilation and universal masking are key to reducing transmission
  • 40% of deaths from COVID-19 are vascular-related
  • According to recent CDC findings, the most common underlying conditions associated with severe cases of COVID-19 are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease, with a 6x higher rate of hospitalization and a 12x higher rate of death

His top recommendations to workplaces as they reopen? Good ventilation, take things outdoors when possible, protect our higher risk populations and, most importantly, wear a mask.

Given these findings, it’s clear that creating lifelong healthy habits is crucial to a successful “new normal.”  Organizations can play a major role in reducing the risk to their workforce by returning to the workplace with a focus on wellbeing and the tools to help their employees prevent or manage chronic health conditions.

Advancing health through many of the innovative apps and tools and tech-based ways in which we can engage people through relationships is clearly emerging as the best way to change health outcomes. – Dr. Marty Makary

But when your organization is dealing with major budget concerns due to COVID-19, how can you address the critical need for employee health and wellbeing support? The answer: intrinsic rewards.

While financial rewards for participating in an employee wellbeing program drive enrollment and engagement, COVID-19 has forced all of us to look at our own health and could be the intrinsic motivator employees need to make changes. Employers have an opportunity to help their workforce get healthier while reducing or eliminating cash incentives by:

  • Minimizing budget risk – make it a little more challenging to achieve the full incentive
  • Reducing incentive spend – alter the reward structure in a way that works for your organization (e.g., entering engaged participants into a gift card raffle or focusing on key drivers of habit change)
  • Remove incentive spend – focus on recognition, communication and culture

Regardless of what form of recognition takes place in your organization, the programs with the highest level of success in employee engagement, satisfaction and outcomes operate in a culture supportive of health, with active leadership participation and a cadence of consistent communication.

Remember, small daily adjustments lead to big, meaningful changes. Creating a positive work environment for your employees, whether they’re on-site or remote, can inspire your employees to make healthier decisions every day. Here are some of our favorite ideas from this week’s session:

  • Make the healthy choice the easy choice
  • Healthify the workplace
  • Find your wellbeing champions
  • Create social connections through in-app tools like Spotlight Challenges and Shout-Outs
Van Jones

While we chose to postpone our session on the Social Determinants of Health, we are excited to welcome American news commentator, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of Dream Corps, Van Jones, to the THRIVEx stage to discuss the important issue of social inequity and its far-reaching impacts on health outcomes. And stay tuned for details on a future session with the American Medical Association’s first-ever Chief Health Equity Officer and founder of international mentoring, networking, and advocacy organization for black female physicians, the Artemis Medical Society, Dr. Aletha Maybank. Dates and times will be announced soon!

We’ve got a full schedule of employee wellbeing-focused topics for our final week of THRIVEx next Tuesday! Renowned global industry analyst, HR leader and Dean of the Josh Bersin Academy, Josh Bersin will discuss why employee wellbeing is the foundation of success before, during and after a pandemic and how HR leaders can infuse health, safety and wellbeing into their return-to-workplace plans. We’ll also hear from a consultant roundtable on the impact COVID-19 has had on employees, a session on company culture and keeping employees engaged during a crisis. It’s not too late to register — tune into the last day of THRIVEx on June 30th at 1pm ET!

About The Author

Jordan Dunne is on the marketing team at Virgin Pulse, focusing on social strategy and health and wellbeing content. Outside of work, you can find her at the gym, hosting trivia, taking photos of food, or snuggling up on the couch with her dogs.

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