Chances are, if your company employs a large population of people you have at one time or another considered the benefits of having a workplace health center. While promises of cost savings and a healthier workforce are enticing, success only happens if employees actively participate in the program. This requires a custom program that meets the specific needs of your workforce and corporate culture. Here are 5 common traits of every successful onsite health center that make them beloved by employees.
- Support from the Top
If employees are expected to participate in and appreciate the health benefit you’re providing them, expect them to see senior management taking part. Starting with the CEO and moving all the way through the ranks to department heads, company leadership should consistently explain the benefits of the health center, its common uses and services, and be vocal about their own participation. If you’re the CEO and just registered for a local 5K, tell your employees and invite them to join you! Likewise, give kudos to colleagues who are setting good examples. If you see two employees walking during their lunch break, stop by later that day to commend them. Did one of your employees tell you they hit a milestone with their smoking cessation? Let them know how proud you are of their conviction. It doesn’t have to be announced company-wide. Simple, personal acknowledgements are often more effective.
2. Open Door Policy
Once your onsite clinic is open, let employees know it’s not just for flu shots or sinus infections. Sometimes employees want to ask their clinician a question, get some advice or share a recent achievement they made toward their personal health goal. This should be encouraged! The closer your employees are to their onsite clinician, the more committed they will become to taking good care of themselves on and off the clock. It also helps the clinician get to know their patients better, which allows them to learn what motivations will work best to get them to the next stage of change toward healthier living.
- Make it Fun
Often, the hardest part about doing anything that’s good for you is getting started. Whether it’s dieting, exercising, breaking a bad habit like smoking, spending or gambling, taking that first step is so dreaded and feared it’s altogether avoided. Making a game out of healthy activities is one of the most effective ways of successfully improving good health habits. That’s why Healthstat is a big proponent of gamification.
- Be Realistic
We’re all at different stages of the journey. What’s more, some people progress through the stages of health behavior change more rapidly than others. It’s important that your clinical provider is trained to recognize your individual stage of change so they can help you advance in a healthy, productive manner. So often, people who learn they have a chronic health condition will try to make a 180-degree turnabout overnight. They’ll diet and exercise with gusto only to experience burnout after as little as a few days to a few weeks. Disappointing results lead to a lack of self-confidence and, before long, they find that their condition has worsened.
Experienced clinicians like those at Healthstat are trained to accurately identify each patient’s level of readiness to change. This allows the clinician to develop a custom program with a set of realistic goals for each patient depending on his or her condition, state of health and readiness to change. Because the clinician works onsite, he or she is able to check in on the patient frequently to monitor progress.
5. Limit the Literature.
Health and wellness programs can be more talk than walk, inundating employees with generic literature and emails. Brochures about how to quit smoking or newsletters with tips for losing weight have little effect unless issued in conjunction with a planned program. Employees don’t need education alone – they need practical help.
When searching for an onsite clinic provider, call their references to ask how hands-on the clinician is. Do they engage with employees on a daily basis? Do they frequently recommend new activities to implement for the entire workforce? Do they themselves follow a healthy, active lifestyle and serve as a cheerleader for the health and wellness initiative? If the answer to these questions is consistently yes, it’s likely that company has a better than average level of participation for its onsite health and wellness program, and is reaping the rewards of higher productivity and cost savings.
If your employees don’t absolutely love their onsite clinic, contact us to see how we can turn that around. We’ll even put you in touch with customers who can tell you how we’ve helped achieve high participation rates among their workforce.