International Day of Happiness 2018: Corporate Wellness needs Corporate Willpower


Author: Niveditha
Viswanathan, VP- Business Development, Healthifyme

It is evident that
employees and employers and narrowing the space between work and outside-work
schedules globally.  And increasingly, companies are investing in bringing
health and wellness to their employees. Across all markets, an impressive 88%
of employers are planning to have a strategy in place
in by 2018, according to Employee Health and
Business Success report by Willis Tower Watson.  Workplace isn’t any more
just a place to do work; just as health isn’t just about reactively addressing
health conditions. And this has created an active ecosystem of wellness
providers and corporates coming together with a unified mission – making
employees healthier, while at work.

A successful corporate wellness program though
takes more than just an a-la-carte menu of popular classes or exercise
sessions. Employees need something that fits into their current lifestyles. Ask
employees to go to the gym every day, for example, is an additional step and
results in low traction. Whereas, impactful corporate wellness programs are
designed to be sticky. The key to ensuring stickiness and habit formation, is
to create a program where employees can go about their lives as it is; and
still achieve significant outcomes starting with incremental lifestyle changes.
It takes a personalized, contextual and digital
program to be able to create sustained impact within the existing corporate
lifestyle constraints. In our experience of working with large and small MNCs
as well as Indian companies, there are three things that ensure successful
wellness programs.

The most important
aspect of creating an engaging program is to create hyper-personalized health
journeys. No two employees in an organization are identical. Therefore, a
successful wellness program aimed to create impact needs to ensure that each
employee can create their individual health goals and journeys; while also
working with their colleagues. With the current market of digital wellness
solutions, both personalized data as well as gamification are driven right to
the end user.
But gamification and
digital solutions are still not sufficient to ensure a successful program.
Every corporate also needs to identify champions of change. While most
corporate wellness programs are spearheaded by HR leadership, the difference
between good and great is evident. The great programs all have one thing in
common – a set of passionate business leaders who champion the cause of
wellness. Having these torch bearers sends a strong signal – that wellness is
not just an HR concern; but rather a central objective of the company. Even a
couple of passionate leaders can go a long way in ensuring outcomes across the
And tying it all
together is the design of a relevant and visible rewards framework. Most
programs offer monetary benefits and prizes to incentivize employees to keep up
active engagement and desired behaviors. While this does incentivize employees,
it needs to be supplemented with other recognitions; for workplace wellness to
become a successful movement. Getting colleagues to encourage each other,
calling out laudable efforts among peers, creating teams to bring social
commitment are some ways of ensuring colleagues support each other and maintain
momentum. The rewards framework isn’t necessarily only about the outcome but also
about the journey and the many small milestones en-route.

It is evident that
corporate employees today operate under demanding, stressful and ever changing
environments. And as companies adopt to changing needs of doing business,
consistent growth and successful outcomes can only be achieved with healthy and
productive employees. In taking employee health seriously, companies are not
only ensuring better productivity but also significantly impacting their
personal lives for the better. In the years to come, we can only expect
employee wellness to go beyond traditional health insurance coverage and an
optional activity, to a central organizational theme.
Niveditha Viswanathan, VP- Business Development, Healthifyme