How to grow a successful wellness program in your bootstrapped, I’m already wearing every hat possible, now I need to be an HR Rep, startup
Growing a startup is hard.
Recruiting and keeping high level talent is even harder.
And motivating and building a cohesive team, that is focused on big returns and huge scale feels almost impossible.
Much like all the successful, tech focused startups we all know (the google, Netflix, Apple’s of the world) building a sustainable culture within your work environment is a challenge to any company, let alone a cash strapped startup.
One of the tools you can implement to help boost morale and employee engagement is a wellness program. A good company wellness program makes for healthier employees, which means happier, more productive employees. It can contribute to a healthy and harmonious company culture.
But more importantly, a robust wellness program makes it easier to recruit and maintain high level talent!
But, how the hell are we going to afford that? And what do I know about implementing a wellness program?
So first, I’ll save you on me trying to sell corporate wellness programs. They are well researched, and the Rand Report did an awesome job summing up the value of such a program. Check it out below:
What I’m here to do is to give you some tools of the trade, that we at LEON have used to help StartUps implement wellness in their companies.
Both big and small.
Well funded and bootstrapped.
And for sedentary offices and those crazy people that run marathons over lunch.
When running a start up, and employing broad and very different demographics, having a scalable, “open” wellness program, that everyone can use is the name of the game.You must offer options that everyone can engage with and love. Both inside and outside the office
Step 1: Create personal experiences
Allow employees optionality. Understand that wellness is completely subjective. One person might prefer Crossfit, while other wants to run in the park. Or sales guy A absolutely excels in competition, while developer B could care less. And more importantly, as a hiring manager, take your opinion out of it!
Step 2: Keep it simple
Wellness can be a hard change, make it simple for everyone. Involve the tools and wellness options that they already use on a daily basis. Don’t expect your employees to change so you can decrease your bottom line. Ultimately, they will engage because they choose too. And for the love of god, DO NOT make it mandatory!
Step 3: Lead from the top
According to HealthyCulture.com, managers are viewed as leaders in environmental change because:
• Managers are the instigators and organizers of change. They are responsible for follow through and quality control.
• Managers are gatekeepers. They allocate resources such as time, space and money.
• As leaders, managers work to create conditions that are conducive to success. They are accountable for the failure of the group or organization.
Managers have the opportunity and resources to serve as healthy role models for employees. By giving employees permission to keep their health and well-being a top priority, employees will be much more likely to adopt healthy behaviors at the workplace, such as staying active, making better nutritional choices and engaging in stress-relief activities.
Step 4: Make it a lifestyle
Wellness is not only in the office. As I mentioned before, we need to create lifestyle change, not just walking with Karen at lunchtime. Yes, competitions and leaderboards work. Yes, offering a yoga class will increase awareness and hopefully participation. But, if you really want to make worthwhile change, it needs to go home with them.
Step 5: Let data drive your decision making
Do you incentivize your employees to join gyms or studios? Is your team utilizing it? Are you seeing a demonstrable ROI on your investment? If not, maybe you should make some decisions regarding the value of the offering.
Do you offer a Health risk assessment (HRA) to understand the current state of health for your employees? If not, how do you know what type of services to offer? For example, offering a marathon training program to a work force which is highly sedentary…. Or if not an HRA, how about a survey to gauge interests? Do not go into this blindly and make educated decisions regarding your investment and employees.
Developing a successful corporate wellness program is not hard, but you have to learn that basic, human behavior and emotions will win out. And asking your employees to change their current habits to decrease your bottom line is a big ask.
Your job as an HR Manager or Wellness Director is not to design programs that will ultimately change the psychological make up of your employees.
To sum it up:
- Give them optionality and allow your employees to integrate products and technology they already committed to.
- Lead from the front and be the change you want to see.
- Embrace the culture of wellness in your company.
- Let ROI and data determine your programs, and if it doesn’t work, DROP IT!
Good luck and as always, feel free to ask questions and check out LEON if you are ever looking to offer a wellness program in your start up.