In an age dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and curated online personas, the choice of “authentic” as 2023’s word of the year is timely and telling. It highlights a demand for genuine and transparent interactions, a trend that is particularly relevant in the workplace.

This concept is seen in the contrast between ‘hollow’ and ‘authentic’ engagement within employee wellness programs. By recognizing and adapting to these different types of engagement, employers can foster a deeper commitment to wellness among their employees, leading to more sustainable and meaningful health outcomes.

Pressed for time? Here’s a quick summary…

  • Authenticity in the workplace: Embracing authenticity improves employee well-being, engagement, and social connections. This is achieved through transparent communication and a company culture that truly reflects its core values.
  • Understanding engagement types: Hollow engagement in wellness programs, often superficial and incentive-driven, offers limited health benefits. Authentic engagement, on the other hand, is intrinsically motivated and leads to sustainable lifestyle improvements.
  • Employee-centric program: Encourage authentic engagement in wellness programs by actively seeking and incorporating employee feedback. Adopt a holistic approach that covers all aspects of well-being, ensuring broader relevance.
  • Communication & incentives: Implement continuous programs that regularly reward efforts to motivate long-term commitment. Communicate the intrinsic value of participation through various channels, showcasing success stories and employee testimonials.
  • Broadening participation: Leadership participation in wellness programs inspires broader employee engagement. Encouraging family involvement in wellness activities increases the program’s appeal and promotes a holistic approach to health.

Authenticity In The Workplace

Embracing authenticity, the expression of one’s true self, yields several workplace benefits, including:

An authentic workplace involves:

  • Transparent communication: Encouraging open and honest dialogue.
  • Reflective organizational culture: Ensuring the company’s values and beliefs are embedded in its culture.
Authenticity In The Workplace

Authenticity In Wellness Programs

The shift from lackluster participation to authentic engagement in wellness programs can drastically improve their effectiveness. Creating an environment that genuinely supports and motivates employees on their wellness journeys ensures not just immediate participation, but sustained, positive health outcomes.

Types Of Wellness Program Engagement

Types Of Wellness Program Engagement

Wellness program engagement varies depending on company culture, program structure, and employee needs and preferences. Understanding the three types of engagement can help employers identify where their employees currently stand and tailor strategies that foster a deeper, more meaningful commitment:

  • Hollow engagement is superficial participation driven by external incentives, leading to limited health benefits and program effectiveness.
    • Hollow engagement is often a result of:
      • Limited employee input in program design
      • Inadequate recognition of wellness achievements
      • Over-reliance on incentives
  • Sustained engagement is repeated, ongoing participation that drives significant health improvements over time.
    • Sustained engagement is often a result of:
      • Well-structured and relevant programs
      • Supportive workplace culture
      • Employee empowerment and autonomy
  • Authentic engagement is genuine, intrinsic motivation to pursue health goals, resulting in enduring well-being improvements.
    • Authentic engagement is often a result of:
      • Alignment with personal values and goals
      • Holistic and personalized approaches
      • Trust and transparency in the workplace

The aim is to move from periodic participation, like completing a single health assessment or joining a brief wellness challenge, to authentic, long-term engagement.

Behavior Change Model & Engagement

The behavior change model shows the progression from initial awareness (pre-contemplation and contemplation stages) to the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviors (preparation, action, and maintenance stages).

Behavior Change Model

Effective wellness programs facilitate this journey, helping employees not only take steps towards better health (action stage) but to sustain these behaviors long-term (maintenance stage).

Best Practices For Authentic Wellness Program Engagement

Authentic wellness program engagement can be achieved through several key strategies:

  • Regular feedback & communication: Regularly conduct employee interest surveys to align wellness programs and benefits with their needs. Refine programs as preferences evolve.
  • Tailor programs to diverse needs: Holistic wellness programs, like Wellable’s, address various dimensions of well-being. Activities can range from fitness classes and mental health workshops to sustainability challenges and financial planning seminars, catering to diverse needs and goals, which promotes broader engagement.
  • Voluntary participation: Participation in wellness programs should be a choice, not a mandate, to foster genuine interest and autonomy.
  • Continuous incentive programs: Instead of programs with set start and end dates, opt for continuous programs that offer rewards in regular intervals for consistent participation. Focus on wellness-oriented incentives to promote lasting healthy habits.
  • Multi-channel communication: Maximize program participation by using various communication methods, such as:
    • Engaging email campaigns
    • Reminders in internal messaging apps like Teams or Slack
    • Physical office displays like posters
    • Interactive wellness portals
Best Practices For Authentic Wellness Program Engagement

Emphasize the real-life benefits of engagement in wellness programs, such as improved health and work-life balance, through success stories and employee testimonials.

  • Leadership support & participation: Leaders must “walk the walk” by endorsing and engaging in wellness initiatives. When employees see leaders prioritizing their health, they’ll be encouraged to follow suit.
  • Wellness committee: Establish a dedicated team to oversee and advocate for wellness programs, ensuring they align with organizational goals and effectively meet employee needs.
  • Family involvement in wellness activities: Invite employees to involve family members in wellness activities, making the program more appealing and promoting a holistic approach to health. This could include family-friendly events or educational workshops.

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