Tips to Boost Employee Wellness Program Engagement

Micron International Inc. Wellness Specialist Chelsea Brown told attendees at the 2018 Health and Benefits Leadership Conference that to achieve an “off-the-charts” engagement level for an organization’s wellness program starts with meeting employees where they are.

During a session titled “Micron Takes Well-being Global,” Brown spoke about the need to address issues most important to employees, from financial health to physical activity to nutrition. Through its wellness initiative–which deploys Virgin Pulse’s well-being platform–Micron is now able to address “the whole health of team members,” she said.

Four years ago, that wasn’t the case.

Indeed, when Brown started at Micron in 2014, the company still had a smoking lounge. “You walked through the cafeteria and into a large version of an airport smoking lounge,” she recalled. “It gave me the chills.”

Brown knew something needed to change–and fast.

Micron ultimately implemented a policy that eliminated smoking in front of the building and in lounges. Initially, Brown recalled, “we were very unpopular with our smokers. But we have also seen smoking levels drop.”

Today, those former smoking areas are spaces where employees can play ping pong, meditate or pray.

Brown, who presented her remarks along with Virgin Pulse founder Christopher Boyce, emphasized the importance of leadership buy-in, but not in the traditional sense. While Micron’s CEO was very supportive of the revamped wellness efforts, she said, many of the company’s roughly 57 vice presidents weren’t all that engaged.

“A lot of times, as we’re branching out new programs,” Brown said, “we can get really caught up in the few leaders who are not thought partners. That can be a real barrier. Instead, we [decided to focus] our energy on middle managers who already believed in what we were doing.”

Brown also pointed to a letter Micron’s HR vice president wrote to each employee. “The letter said, in her tone and in her voice, why well-being is important at Micron and why well-being should be important to each of us as human beings,” Brown said.

It was translated into multiple languages “so every team member on the planet” could read it.

Currently, Brown said, Micron boasts a 71-percent “consistent-engagement” level for its wellness programs. It’s a metric she’d like to have tattooed on her arm, she said, as it means people aren’t just putting the program on the back burner, but are coming back consistently.

David Shadovitzhttp://
David Shadovitz is editor emeritus and former editor and co-publisher for HRE.