Health and wellness resolutions are among the most common New Year's goals. Time and again, getting fit and losing weight top the list of the most common New Year's resolutions, according to Nielsen. But unfortunately, only around 20 percent of those resolutions are still alive six weeks into the new year, according to U.S. News & World Report.
If your employees are making health and wellness resolutions, you can resolve in this new year to help your employees stay healthy by creating policies and benefits that make it easier for them to achieve their goals.
Here are three ways to get started.
1. Provide Opportunities for Physical Activity
The prevalence of obesity and health risk behaviors vary widely depending on occupation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For instance, workers who spend much of their time sitting down — such as truck drivers and office staff — have much higher instances of obesity than those who are more active during their working hours.
HR leaders can help employees meet their health goals by simply making it easier for them to be active. That may mean providing opportunities for employees to get outside during breaks, especially if there are sidewalks or walking trails nearby. It could also mean arranging the office layout in a way that encourages movement among various areas. Some organizations have on-site exercise facilities where employees can hop on a treadmill or elliptical for a quick workout during the day. Helping prevent health risks related to obesity won't just help employees achieve their New Year's resolutions, it can also help reduce your organization's health care costs.
2. Help Employees Track Progress
As wearable technology has become more commonplace and affordable, growing numbers of businesses are providing fitness trackers or discounts on fitness trackers to employees. According to Bloomberg, Target Corp. provided Fitbit activity trackers to its 335,000 employees in an effort to encourage them to get moving.
Simply providing fitness trackers to employees can boost their activity levels, as they may be more likely to park farther away from the office or take more walking breaks during the day to rack up steps toward their daily goal. CIO reports that employees at Bates College in Maine lost up to 5 percent of their body weight in just two weeks after the college distributed fitness trackers to its employees.
3. Offer Health Rewards
Incentives are often the ultimate motivator and can be an effective way to encourage healthy behavior. There are various ways to design a health-based incentive program. You could offer small gift cards for employees who attain certain fitness goals, organize a team-building exercise contest with extra time off as a reward or other similar programs. However you choose to go about it, the bottom line remains the same — by incentivizing fitness, employees are more likely to meet their goals and your organization is more likely to save on health care costs in the long run.
These ideas are simple, relatively inexpensive methods that HR leaders can use to help employees reach their health and wellness resolutions. Talk to your employees about their particular needs and you should certainly be able develop additional programs and benefits that could also yield success.
Want to learn more about 2017's HR trends? See below for the other articles in our #HR2017 series:
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