Weight-loss TV commercials are in full swing and my gym is more crowded than ever. These are just two telltale signs that the New Year is just about here. Admittedly, I don’t love waiting for treadmills but I have to admire folks for making health-focused resolutions. After all, the New Year is a perfect time to start fresh and make a commitment to yourself and your health. Employers can help employees stick to their weight-loss goals—and help ensure that these goals aren’t distant memories by Valentine’s Day—by creating a supportive environment at work. One way to do this is to start an on-site weight-loss program. Whether you create your own program for employees or choose an outside vendor, here are four tips for running a successful weight-loss program:
Have employees pay something. It’s wonderful when employers are able to foot the bill for wellness offerings. However, keep in mind that a monetary commitment may make the participant more likely to…well…participate. One option is to offer reimbursement for sticking to a program for a set amount of time.
Offer incentives. It would be great if better health was a gift in and of itself. Realistically, this is not always the case. Items such as gift cards, sporting event tickets, or even paid time off are a great way to keep the program fun and keep employees enthused and engaged.
Do not base incentives on weight loss. I know this may sound strange coming from someone who works for a weight-loss organization, but incentivizing based on weight loss can discourage employees from the start. Instead, offer incentives based on participation or achieving goals, such as exercising x number of times in a week. Hopefully, weight loss will be a wonderful byproduct.
Have everyone take part. It was difficult to stay focused during lectures in school and it’s not much different as adults. Keep your program as engaging and activity-centered as possible by encouraging everyone to take part. You can do this by having different employees lead weekly discussions, holding a healthy recipe exchange, or asking all participants to bring an item to make a salad.
When it comes to weight-loss, there is no one program that works for absolutely everyone. But, by keeping your program fun, listening to employees’ unique needs and interests, and tailoring your program accordingly, you can help make their weight-loss resolutions a reality.