6 Tendencies to Overcome for a Successful Health/Wellness Initiative (At home, school or work)

Are you having a hard time sticking to a wellness routine?

Or maybe you’re an organization having a hard time getting employees to participate in your company’s wellness initiative.

If so you’ll be interested in knowing about behavioral economics and how that impacts your wellness program.

I recently attended a program sponsored by the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts called How to Inspire Your Employees to Make Sustainable Behavior Changes (that last beyond January!). Erika Illiano, Aon Hewitt’s Boston Communication Practice Leader presented the information.

In the short time we had together Erika shared 6 behavioral economic factors to overcome if you want to experience a successful workplace wellness initiative. These behaviors are valid in areas other than wellness and other than the workplace. I share them with you below.

6 Behavioral Factors to Overcome for a Successful Workplace Wellness Program

  • Inertia and the Bias towards Status Quo. When people are comfortable where they are, getting them to take action is a challenge. Make the programs as easy as possible for engagement and participation.
  • Temporal discounting: Tyranny of Present vs Promise of Future. Promising weight loss results of 20 pounds in 6 months isn’t going to cut it. Think short term gain – what incentive are you offering today?
  • Loss Aversion: Losing hurts worse than winning feels good. Instead of promising the benefits of better health, speak to what you have to lose – money, time, not being around for your kids, and even your life. Losing hurts worse.
  • Social Norms: What’s everyone else doing? Erika said, “Smoking is addictive, quitting contagious.” Creating a culture where participating in health and wellness initiatives is the norm will work to your advantage. Get senior leaders involved (a must for successful wellness initiatives). You create social norms when EVERYONE at ANY LEVEL is participating.
  • Choices: Liberation or Paralysis. People make better choices with few choices. Consider creating a theme for the year instead of trying to be all things to all people. What health concerns are driving your costs up? Stress, diabetes, heart disease? Focus your attention on that.
  • Availability. Get creative with wellness program availability. For example, instead of email send a text message  about wellness events or healthy living tips.

Your turn: What do you think? What tendencies do you or your organization have to overcome to create successful wellness programs?

Need assistance creating, implementing or managing your health/wellness programs? I work with organizations who want to keep stress and costs down while increasing the health and success of employees and the organization. Click here to learn more about my consulting services for education, health care and business organizations.

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About Stacey:

Hi and welcome to the Brave Communicator blog where I write about communication as the path to well-being, trust, and influence.

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