How to Get Employees to Participate in Wellbeing Initiatives

Low participation and utilisation is the bane of workplace wellbeing initiatives. Use these strategies to fix this problem for good.

How to Get Employees to Participate in Wellbeing Initiatives
How to Get Employees to Participate in Wellbeing Initiatives

Workplace wellness programmes are always initiated for the right reasons. Companies know that having a healthy and mentally well-adjusted workforce is critical for improving organisational performance. Workers around the world have also been very vocal about the fact that they want employers to do more to safeguard their wellbeing. Unfortunately, though, many wellness programmes fail, leaving employers scratching their heads as to why.

If you, too, are looking for tips to motivate employees to participate in wellbeing programmes, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will give you some strategies to improve participation in your workplace wellbeing activities.

Why Employee Wellbeing Initiatives Often Fizzle Out

In the aftermath of the pandemic, sustaining employee wellbeing became more critical. Despite cost-cutting measures, many firms raised their wellbeing budgets, and a majority of organisations introduced new wellbeing offerings.

However, according to Gartner's 2021 EVP Benchmarking Survey, 87 percent of employees have access to mental and emotional wellbeing products, but just 23% of employees use them. Despite standing to benefit from wellness programmes, many employees are simply not engaging with them.

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Reasons for Low Engagement on Wellbeing Programmes

Employees may choose not to participate in workplace wellness programmes for various reasons. These reasons include:

The initiatives are not relevant or custom-designed

Your wellbeing programme must address the specific needs of your employees, or else they may fail or be mired in a maze of poor participation.

For instance, teams or professionals with irregular schedules might appreciate sessions on how to bring some system and structure to their lives. Comparatively,  IT teams might benefit from sessions around physical movement and posture. In contrast, people travelling and working in the field might need some quiet time to introspect and relax, which a well-planned wellness initiative should factor in.

The bottom line is we should not arrange events just for arranging them; initiatives must be planned around specific needs and not one-size-fits-all efforts.

The times or locations are inconvenient

Time or distance-related barriers can be major hindrances to participation in wellness activities. No employee will want to miss any of their important meetings or project targets to turn up for a meditation session or a health workshop. Hence do choose and align your event times and location keeping your people’s convenience in mind.

Also read: How to Send the Right Workplace Wellness Message to Your Team

They are overly competitive

Wellness initiative events are supposed to calm the people down and give them a dose of happiness and relaxation. If your events are brewing a sense of competition, that will not flesh out happy outcomes. Remember, employees are already dealing with a hyper-competitive environment at the office. The last thing they need is to compete with each other or live up to stiff targets.


Lack of consistency and continuity

Lack of consistency and continuity is another strong reason your employee wellness initiatives are fizzling out in no time. One-off initiatives wont work. Your employees might be waiting all week for the next yoga or parenting session, and if you end up cancelling at the last minute, they will quickly lose interest. So, chalk a planner out, and make sure you have your activity calendar planned out for the long run.

Lack of creative and engaging communication

Your employees’ mailboxes are bombarded with a range of official mails throughout the working hour and beyond that time window too. Make sure that your wellbeing-related emails are distinctly designed and that the copy is interesting and engaging. This will ensure that your communication is not lost in the gigantic mail trail of the office. Also, make sure to reach out to people at an ideal frequency: whether it is once a week or fortnight.

Getting Your Employees Back to the Office? Download This Simple Wellbeing Guide Now!

More Tips to Boost Participation in Wellbeing Initiatives

Here are a few more tips you can use to get your employees more involved.

Ensure there are clear takeaways: If the wellbeing initiatives are not value-driven and are merely pedantic or preachy sessions, you may end up wasting your employees’ precious time. Hence make sure the programme has clear and actionable takeaways that can improve their lives.

Involve leaders
Involve leaders

Involve leaders: The involvement of seasoned leaders is a major driving factor for participation. Leaders are influencers in any workplace, and if they give the green signal for wellbeing initiatives, people are bound to follow.

Keep it light hearted: Keep your communication around wellbeing light and fun. Use humour to convey the key messages and drive engagement.

Check out Manah's Definitive Guide to Employee Wellbeing

Don’t force people to participate: Employees are way too absorbed in their 9-5 schedule, so forcing participation could just turn it into another box-ticking exercise. Keep the timings flexible or break down the team into smaller batches if possible.

Appreciate those who turn up: Lack of acknowledgement is another reason your wellness initiatives may see fewer people turning up.  Acknowledging people could be as simple as sending them thank you notes or giving away awards to employees who participate and interact regularly during the sessions.

Keep updating the initiatives: If your wellbeing initiative is not scalable or updated at regular or required intervals, employees could lose interest. So make sure that the programme evolves and keeps growing over time to reflect the current wellbeing challenges and needs of your work environment.

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At Manah Wellness, we provide innovative tools and professional support to dynamic startups, emerging businesses, and trusted brands. Browse our vast range of services and resources to support wellbeing and growth:

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