Stretching employee engagement in health and wellness
Posted on Nov 29, 2016 | Written by Ann Wyatt | Comments (0)
How do you engage a geographically dispersed, mostly sedentary workforce? By giving employees stretch bands to help break up the amount of time spent sitting during the workday—and ultimately fit fitness into their day.
Here’s how our client, leading financial services company, Edward Jones, approached this challenge and stretched employee engagement in health and wellness!
Investing in employees
Edward Jones places a top priority on the health and well-being of its employees, partnering with HealthFitness to build and integrate its corporate wellness program, Investing in You, into the company culture to support and boost employee wellness.
Investing in You includes screening, health assessments, health advising, coaching, wellness programs and challenges and more. It’s a program where seemingly small gestures have made a big difference; literally stretching the level of employee engagement in health and wellness.
Although Edward Jones provides a robust wellness program to its employees, the company faces the challenge of meeting the diverse needs of its geographically dispersed workforce. More than 44,000 employees—including financial advisors, office workers and associates—work out of branch offices and home offices throughout the United States.
In addition, a majority of the company’s workforce is mostly sedentary. Employees are at risk for “sitting disease”—or sitting all day at their desk—which may result in increased risk for poor health and disease.
Stretch bands for everyone
Our on-site health promotion manager sought a solution that would reach the company’s workforce throughout the country as well as inspire employees to make time for a brief fitness break. She led the charge and organized the program so that all 44,000 Edward Jones employees receive a stretch band, instruction sheet, and note from the director of Human Resources explaining the health benefits of using the stretch band.
This communication reinforces how stretching and strengthening exercises offer quick ways to help employees improve their health—from reducing fatigue to improving balance, coordination and posture. Employees could then use these exercises to help break up the amount of time spent sitting during the workday, and ultimately fit fitness into their day.
Low tech solution makes a high impact
In this world of apps, fitness trackers and Pokémon GO, getting effective engagement results from a low-tech approach is a great benefit to employees and the company. Employees appreciated the convenience of receiving a stretch band delivered to their desk with easy-to-use instructions for stretching and strength training.
Stretch band exercises do not require workers to be top athletes—instead they help meet employees where they are at in their fitness level.
An emotional connection
Employee feedback about the stretch bands is overwhelmingly positive. Employees appreciate the low-tech solution that they don’t have to download or charge, as well as the simple convenience of using the stretch band throughout the day—on their own or with a group of coworkers. But most importantly, employees feel valued and are grateful that their employer cares about their well-being.
This crucial sense of being valued is reflected in recent research we conducted that demonstrates how employees’ health choices and emotions are closely connected.
In fact our survey findings show that a clear majority (70 percent) of wellness program participants report that their program offering means their employer cares about them. When employees feel understood, supported, safe and confident, those positive feelings can translate into higher productivity, satisfaction, retention and other pluses for their company. When it comes to wellness, a small gesture from an employer—like a stretch band—goes a long way to establishing that emotional connection with employees.
For greater insight on the research findings, I encourage you to download our Think piece, Engage Me: The critical role of culture and personal connections as drivers of employee participation in health, wellness and fitness programs. The Think piece not only provides an overview of key findings but includes a specific roadmap to higher employee participation rates.
Ann is Vice President, Program Management & Engagement. She has more than 24 years of experience in the health management and fitness industry. Her role includes strategy development and driving engagement for new and existing health management and corporate fitness programs, employee recruiting and training, program quality assurance and operations management. Ann holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Old Dominion University and a Master of Education in Exercise Physiology from Auburn University.