Top 3 Key Elements of a Successful Wellness Program

Successful Wellness Program

Table of Contents


Google reports that online interest in wellness is increasing by 21% year on year. To keep up with their employees’ needs, corporations have jumped on this trend. Corporate wellness programs are now a global phenomenon. By keeping up with what employees want and need, these companies create a positive environment and can reduce staff turnover.

But the most profound benefit is financial. Companies with a successful wellness program find an average of six-to-one ROIThat’s because wellness programs aren’t a fun gimmick to keep users entertained. They’re a powerful health tool that improves overall wellbeing. When used right, they lead to fewer sick days as well as reduced healthcare costs and premiums. However, to gain these tangible benefits, you need a program employees engage with.

For example, a mandatory office-wide diet is boring, not to mention the HR issues it would cause. But an opt-in seven-day smoothie challenge is simpler, more exciting, and gives your staff a choice. In light of this example, how can companies find a program that employees not only like but use? The program should have three key elements. Read on to learn what they are and how to find them.


Implementing Wellness Program Guide



Top 3 Key Elements of a Successful Wellness Program


1. Motivating and Engaging

Making your wellness program mandatory is the fastest way to disengage your employees. A successful wellness program makes them want to get involved. It does this by being highly motivating.

The best corporate programs use the following tricks to motivate engagement.


Setting employees the goal of walking 8,000 steps every day until the end of their working life engages no one. There’s no feeling of accomplishment with an endless goal. And without a feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment, why engage?

Wellness challenges are how programs get around this issue. They don’t set untimed goals like “exercise!” and “eat healthily!” which can’t be completed. Instead, they focus on one area at a time, and ask users to go above and beyond.

For example, consider the seven-day smoothie challenge mentioned in our introduction. Making a fruit or green smoothie every day, forever, isn’t the key to perfect health. But doing it every day over the course of one week can get people started – and excited.

The challenge is also timed at seven days. Therefore users are incentivized to commit, as it seems manageable, and has an end date.

Unique Goals

Next, programs that work grab users’ attention. They don’t use vague challenges like “drink enough water.” Instead, they stand out by being doable but different.

Consider the seven-day 50/50 plate challenge. Doesn’t that sound more exciting and attention-grabbing than an “eat more vegetables” challenge? But their core meaning is the same: fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal.


Depending on the nature of the challenge, successful programs may allow users to see how others are doing. This is not to compare their success with that of others or create an unhealthy sense of competition. Rather, seeing how everyone else is doing can motivate them to continue – even if this is to try and be the best.

For example, an exercise challenge may allow users to report how long they’ve spent exercising each day of a challenge. Those running the program may even choose to employ a leaderboard. Then users can see how they’re doing compared to the rest of their department, office, or entire company!


Finally, one of the most powerful tools for engagement and motivation is gamification. This is the art of turning even mundane tasks into engaging activities with gaming elements such as:

      • Point scoring
      • Streaks
      • Competition

72% of workers surveyed report that gamification makes them work harder. Successful wellness programs use these techniques to draw users into the program long-term.

For example, with the seven-day 50/50 plate challenge, an engaging program may use streaks. Getting a seven-day streak may award the user a badge. This could add to their collection of badges under the healthy eating category.

These levels of accomplishment and progress motivate users to engage as much as possible.




2. Flexibility

A corporate wellbeing program needs to adapt to the company’s needs. The best offerings available are completely customizable.

Customizable Challenges

This begins with customizable challenges. Corporate wellness tracking software should do more than provide a premade list of challenges. It should let you create your own challenges.

These should also span all areas of wellness. These include:

      • Nutrition
      • Fitness
      • Workplace
      • Stress
      • Health
      • Lifestyle

Customizable Duration

Managing parties should also have complete control over the length of a challenge. While we’ve mentioned seven-day options several times, simple three-day challenges are a great way to kickstart the program. For more achievable challenges, a month-long program can really stir up competition.

Customizable Invitations

The most important element of flexibility is invitation customization. Employee wellbeing software should allow challenge invitations to be sent to:

      • Individual departments
      • Individual locations
      • Global teams

This control allows you to target particular groups. For example, a manager with their finger on the pulse of their department may want to encourage teambuilding as well as wellness. In that case, they could send out a challenge to just their team.

Alternatively, corporations can set a challenge that allows any employee worldwide to join. Imagine the excitement and competition of a worldwide leaderboard!

Only with this level of flexibility can the software accomplish everything you need it to.


3. Metric Tracking

In the past, wellness programs required a whole managerial committee to oversee. They would survey staff, brainstorm ideas, and put in the work to implement them.

The right software significantly shrinks this workload.

Survey Staff Needs

Comprehensive software handles all the research and communication teams used to do manually.

Of course, it’s still good to personally monitor what your teams need. But especially when surveying thousands of employees, using software is far more effective. Survey results can also be anonymous, yielding more honest responses.

What can the software survey?

The most obvious data point is the kind of wellness challenges staff are interested in. Use the software to ask global teams which areas they would like to focus on.

The software will analyze these large chunks of data. It can then tell you what employees are interested in. It can also isolate pockets of data, such as which locations are interested in which activities.

Readiness to change is another valuable metric the software can survey. By asking staff anonymous and tactful questions, it can gather data on which areas staff as a whole are willing to invest in. For example, it may identify a disinterest in in-person activities, but an interest in nutrition challenges.

These survey metrics identify which challenges are worth running. And they can investigate everything from local to global data.

Evaluate Engagement

Once challenges are up and running, corporate wellness tracking software evaluates engagement. It can then compare this to estimates from the surveys.

For example, staff as a whole may have expressed an interest in fitness challenges. But in reality, there may be little engagement with them. Perhaps wishful thinking isn’t translating into action.

Knowing this, managers can dive into the data. It may be that the global number one preference was fitness challenges, but this isn’t true locally. Your department or office may have expressed more interest in lifestyle challenges.

Use the insights from this evaluation to adjust your approach.

Metrics may also identify that a large portion of users are starting challenges but not completing them. This could indicate that challenges are too difficult. Management can take this finding into account when planning their next challenge.

Data points the software provides can also identify which level of competition your employees respond best to. Do they engage more or less so when they can see an office-wide leaderboard? Do they complete their weekly streak if they can see others’ weekly streaks?

Successful wellness programs provide this information to management. Then you can figure out exactly what your staff respond to.


How to Start a Corporate Wellness Program?



Final Thoughts

A successful wellness program is engaging, flexible, and uses tracking metrics. But there’s one more secret to starting a wellness program.

Choosing the right provider.

The best employee wellbeing platform is powered by an innovative and responsive team. They’ll release new updates and developments to keep up with what employees want. And they’ll always be there when you need help or want to adjust your processes.

That’s what Woliba is all about. We’re here to help you create a culture of wellbeing that lets your teams thrive. Get started with a free demo today!

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