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Why corporate wellness programmes fail and how to avoid it

If you’re a business owner looking to improve the health and wellbeing of your employees then corporate wellness programmes should be at the top of your list. A company's success is reliant on its employees and therefore your number one priority should be ensuring their happiness, both in and outside of the workplace.

Corporate wellness programmes have become increasingly popular in recent years. Most companies rely on pop-up food trucks, one-off yoga classes and subsidised gym membership, however more often than not, corporate wellness programmes like these fail.

If you want to run a successful wellness programme then there are certain rules you need to follow, but first, you need to be aware of why they fail.


1. Absence of employees

One of the biggest reasons that wellness programmes fail is due to low participation numbers from employees. A study showed that 63% of people in the UK don’t want to spend more than 1 hour on exercise and therefore, asking employees to take part in a full day of exercise probably isn’t top of their list.

This means that more often than not, the people getting involved are already participating in healthy activities outside of work and as a company you aren’t relating to the employees that need it the most. How do you solve this? The simplest and most effective thing you can do is ask your employees what they want. Give a questionnaire and offer a variety of options for the wellness programme.

If you go with the most popular vote then you are more likely to have higher participation numbers. If you have the budget then you could potentially offer different programmes to different employees. Offering a personalised wellness programme will show that you are heavily invested in your employee’s health and wellbeing.


2. Lack of consistency

Your corporate wellness programme needs a structure that all employees are familiar with so they know when and where to participate. People like structure and want to know what to expect from the programme, surprise scares most people, especially if it’s in the workplace.

If you want a successful programme then it needs to be well-organised, this means having a set format each year so that employees know where they stand. For example, if every January you offer free vegetable boxes in light of Veganuary, employees need to know early enough in advance when to sign up for the boxes.

Likewise, your company would also benefit from a large, company-wide annual wellness event. Not only does this bring everyone together, but it should also be used as motivation to continue workplace wellness throughout the rest of the year.


3. They’re not authentic

Your employees will know if you’re setting up a wellness initiative to benefit the company and not them. Inauthenticity is hard to cover up and if your employees are aware of it, they will be a lot less inclined to get involved.

What’s a sign of an inauthentic wellness programme:

  • Generic wellness days

  • One-off and no follow-ups

  • A lack of participation from the top


4. Management doesn’t get involved

One of the number one rules in business is to lead by example, and this should be reflected in all aspects of your business, including your wellness programme. If as a company you want your employees to be convinced that you care then it needs to come from the top.

Active and visible participation from senior management in wellness programmes shows other employees that you’re committed to improving their health and wellbeing. Research revealed that only 46% of employees believed that their company supported their mental and physical health, so your business needs to be doing anything and everything to show that it actively wants to help employees if you want a healthy workforce.

Start by choosing a senior member of staff that is well respected and has been working for the company for some time. This should be a member of the team that everyone trusts and can be used as an ‘influencer’ to encourage others to participate, don’t worry, they don’t have to take any selfies.


5. Employees aren’t aware of the programme

How do you expect your wellness programme to be a success if your employees aren’t even aware of it?

Unfortunately, if you want mass participation, one measly email isn’t going to cut the mustard. Chances are it’ll get lost in a mass of other emails and by the time most employees will have opened it, it’ll be too late.

Instead, you need to promote the programme across a multitude of platforms, this can include:

  • Email campaigns

  • Text reminders

  • The company noticeboard

  • Word of mouth in meetings

If you really want your programme to work, then you need to assign someone to be a marketing mogul and push the message. Create a catchy headline and sell the programme to your employees.

Not all corporate wellness programmes are doomed to fail. In fact, if successful they can be a real asset to your business. But if you’re serious about your employees' wellbeing then you need to take corporate wellness just as seriously as other aspects of your business. This means, forward planning, participation from senior staff members and a real desire to help your employees.

If you would like to discuss implementing an engaging and successful corporate wellness or corporate fitness solution for your business with us, please, fill out the form below

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