Musings from the SHRM conference

By David Drap

After attending the SHRM conference last month in Orlando, FL, there was a noticeable reoccurring theme amongst the sessions: engagement – a key term that can make or break a wellness program. The key to engagement has shown significant results when following “the footprint.” But what does that entail? What is the secret sauce or recipe needed for good engagement?

How do you define it?

You should define the expectations of what engagement is, what a highly engaged client looks like, and what engaged employees (look like) to the employer, and set goals.

Variety and choices

It is very important to offer the employees many choices in order to participate in the wellness initiatives on behalf of the company. Physical fitness activities, device integration, financial wellness, mental well-being, and various internal company initiatives all help the employees find what is appealing to them.

C-suite buy-in

When you lead by example, you are more likely to have employees that are interested in the program. Having top down buy-in for the program and C-suite being engaged in the wellness program leads to higher employee participation rates. Whether it’s a face within the Champs or an advocate for the corporate challenge or fun run, it can make a huge difference in appealing to your employees.

Incentives, incentives, incentives!

Arguably the most important piece: crafting and offering the proper incentive structures for the employee population. It is crucial to make sure they are relevant, exciting and achievable. (Not to mention that they will make participation rates go up as well … and that’s not a bad thing to have!

In summary, wellness is no longer about checking a box. It’s about real results that are driven from a high-touch program that motivates employees who want to participate in the program because it is such an amazing offering, not because their CEO said so. Who doesn’t like getting a rebate for joining a gym, using their Vitality Bucks to score some sweet deals on Amazon, or having the opportunity to wear an Apple Watch on their wrist for possibly $0 a month all because they achieved their physical activity targets?

People are motivated in different ways and your program should reflect that. If you offer the right mix of program components, the engagement will follow. If you haven’t had the chance to read the latest 2017 Engagement Study, take the time to do so. It dives into some (and more) of these principles.

David Drap— Health and Wellness promoter and believer by day, and juggling dad by night. I enjoy the summers the most and being on the boat floating and talking with friends and neighbors. I am in training for a half iron man in September and a marathon in Detroit in October. I have 4 children, two boys both in college, and two girls who are 11 and 9 years old.

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