Workplace Wellness: A Retention Key in 2016

Have you made any 2016 New Year’s Resolutions? Chances are if you did, at least one of your resolutions is health focused. Half of the top 10 resolutions are health related….and 1 in 3 people will ditch their resolutions by the end of January.

We’re closing in on the end of January now, so rather than let your employees (or you!) ditch their health-related resolutions, why not take advantage of the shift in focus toward healthy living and build a stronger wellness program? Forty-five percent of Americans working at small to medium-sized companies say that they would stay at their jobs longer because of employer-sponsored wellness programs, and productivity also increases as a result of employer-sponsored wellness initiatives.

Keys to a successful wellness program HM Jan Post 2

Has your employee wellness program faltered in recent years? Or perhaps your organization is still waiting to get started? Here are five keys to a successful wellness program in any industry:

  1. They’re realistic. Sure, many of us would love to become ultra-marathoners or adhere to the healthiest diet on the planet, but those aren’t exactly realistic goals for most people. So rather than creating programs that aim to create superheroes, aim instead to help your employees make incremental changes that steadily improve their lives. A lunch hour massage therapist visit will likely be a huge hit. Yoga classes, meditation coaching, healthy cooking classes, team outings to local “laser tag” venues or other active but fun places, are all very fun, simple and accessible ways to get your team moving in the right direction.
  2. They’re fun. If you look at the few examples mentioned above, they’re all realistic for sure, but they’re also fun. Watching filmstrips and reading textbooks may have been necessary when we were in school, but in the real world we tend to, well, avoid them like the plague. Choosing fun places for active team outings and bringing in engaging teachers or coaches to lead classes are great ideas. Adding a competitive element can also make things fun and provide some extra incentive to your team. “Biggest Loser Challenges” are very popular in workplaces across the country, and winners designated for milestones and achievements throughout the challenge (which can be any duration, but are often between 8 and 12 weeks) can win small, yet fun and healthy prizes like gift cards for healthy restaurants, supermarkets or gyms, extra break time or even cash (budget permitting).
  3. Participation starts at the top. Many of us have been in organizations that tried to enact new policies or programs that ultimately failed because participation waned. And that often starts at the top. If you’re going to start a “Biggest Loser Challenge” or a series of lunchtime classes — any of these or your own suggestions — your organization should believe in these initiatives and be active in them at every level of your business. If you’re bringing in a chef to teach healthy cooking classes, your CEO or VPs should stand alongside your customer service reps. When participation and enthusiasm are genuine from all levels, it is contagious. Your team will believe that the organization truly supports and cares about the initiative, and its potential for success is much higher.
  4. Practice what you preach. If your employee cafeteria serves junk food or your vending machines are filled with candy bars and unhealthy snacks or drinks, you could be derailing your employee wellness efforts. Supporting your initiatives by surrounding employees with easy, healthy choices is one of the biggest ways to nurture a successful employee wellness program. Beyond the break room, think about meetings – bring in salad bars and flavored water instead of pizza and soda. Post signs around the office sharing information about employee wellness initiatives. Swap out the TV in the break room for a treadmill or bike. Think of ways to create a healthier office, not just a health program.
  5. Follow through. If your initial foray into employee wellness is an initiative – like the Biggest Loser Challenge – don’t just let it end. Keep up momentum by enacting ongoing initiatives and changes (like those mentioned throughout this post) to create and nurture an environment of wellness. One-off events and initiatives are great for spearheading efforts, but your continued commitment to employee wellness is what can ultimately help boost productivity, improve your employees’ health and build a stronger team with higher retention rates for your business.

Before you can develop and implement successful employee wellness programs, you need a team of superstar employees. Helpmates has an extensive network of talent in a range of disciplines across Southern California. We’ll help you find the right employees to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to get started.

How to Turn 2016 Career Resolutions into Reality

Research shows that 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions – are you included? Resolutions can be an excellent way to set goals and devise a plan to achieve them in the new year.

But here’s the thing: Research also shows that only 8% of Americans who make resolutions are successful. If you’ve set career resolutions for 2016, don’t be discouraged by these statistics – we’re here to help. Armed with the right knowledge, your odds of success should increase dramatically.

Your 2016 Career Resolutions Game PlanHM Jan Blog 1

This game plan can help you get off to a great start in your path toward 2016 Career Resolutions success. Feel free to print it out and hang it next to your bed or computer for a regular dose of focus and inspiration:

  1. Be realistic. Aiming high and reaching for the stars is admirable, but sometimes it takes longer than a year to reach the highest heights. Instead of aiming for the stars initially, take a more realistic approach. Think about what you can accomplish in one year – aiming high enough that it won’t be easy, but that it’s attainable. When people set goals that seem impossible, it can seem too daunting and ultimately result in giving up. A realistic yet challenging resolution offers just enough “reach” to help you strive for your best, but with an end result that is most definitely achievable.
  2. Be as specific as possible. “Find a new job” is a great goal, but in order to make goals more actionable, you should get specific. What kind of job? Is there a location that works best for you? How much would you like to earn? When would you like to find your new job by? These are just some of the questions you should ask in order to get specific with your career resolutions. If you’re struggling, just think about everything that would impact your goal. Focus on what would be the most ideal fulfillment of your resolution, then write it down. So “Find a new job” becomes, “Find a new administrative position for $17 an hour that is within 20 minutes of my house and offers the flexibility to work from home one day a week.” With the vague goal, devising and acting on a game plan can be hazy – it’s hard to know if you’re spending your time and effort on the right things or if you’re really making progress toward the goal. But when your goal is specific, you can eliminate unnecessary steps and options, allowing you to focus your energies in the right places.
  3. Spread the word. The phrase “accountability partner” is popular with people who make resolutions. Whether it’s having a friend call you every morning at 5am to help you wake up earlier or a family member who joins you for your morning jog to help you stay on track, having someone who will keep you in check and ensure you’re working steadily toward your goals can make a big impact on your success. If you can’t find one person who will hold you to your goals and plans each day, find two or three and ask them to do one thing (for example, one person might email you every day asking which jobs you applied to, while another might call you after a job interview to see how it went). And outside of your accountability partners, tell as many people as possible about your goals. While we may not be afraid of letting ourselves down from time to time (“life” gets in the way sometimes, we know!), as human beings, we are less likely to fail at a goal if we know other people are counting on us. So put your family and friends to work for you, and let them know about your goals. Ask them for encouragement, and talk about your progress with them in conversations and emails, and also on social media sites like Facebook. Their continued encouragement can help keep you motivated and focused.
  4. Break it up. You have set your resolutions and defined your goals for 2016…now what? Breaking down those goals into actionable steps and putting them on your calendar are essential. Having a goal is great, but taking action on that goal is what gets things done. Using the example above, your steps might include, “Attending three networking events each week,” or “Updating my resume before January 31,” or “Reach out to 10 former colleagues and update them about my status before February 7.” Break down how you’ll achieve your goals, then put those steps on your calendar to define how long you should take to complete each step.
  5. Expect setbacks. Remember, “life” happens. Maybe you’ll catch a cold, or a family member will need your help unexpectedly. Something may come up that derails you from your schedule and goals temporarily. But let the emphasis be on “temporarily.” Schedules can be changed and updated. Goals can be refined. If you know and appreciate that setbacks will happen, you will be more prepared to roll with the punches and get back on track. Setbacks happen to everyone, but those who persevere are the ones who end up reaching their goals in the end.

Do you need help setting or reaching your career goals in 2016? Helpmates works with some of Southern California’s top employers. Search our jobs now to find a position that will help you aim higher in 2016, or call your nearest office to speak with one of our recruiters.

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