a man at his desk practicing employee wellness by meditating

I was so thrilled when Qstream asked me to share how we support our team’s wellness. This is something that is so important to me and has been since an early age, having witnessed employee wellness challenges within my immediate family.

This, coupled with the hardship brought on by the pandemic, prompted me to increase my focus on wellness. And one of my favorite parts of my renewed personal commitment is having the privilege of sharing what I learn with the Alnylam team.

Although the focus in my training role is helping people thrive professionally, helping to build and enhance programs that promote wellness has become one of the most rewarding aspects of what I get to do. I firmly believe that to thrive at work, and really in all aspects of life, our wellbeing must be a priority. When we are committed to physical and mental wellness, everything else can more easily fall into place.

An organizational commitment to employee wellness is critical in a post-pandemic world. It’s those companies that ​​proactively implement meaningful wellness programming for employees that will gain a competitive advantage in this challenging labor market. And I think it goes without saying, but healthy, happy employees thrive.

In fact, you can check out this comprehensive list of statistics to learn how mental health programs improve nearly every aspect of your business.

For those looking to enhance their wellness program, this blog post will share some of the strategies including stakeholder alignment, adult learning principles, impactful workshops (live and virtual) and the importance of pull-through reinforcement initiatives. I will also highlight a few of my personal top tips. Feel free to share them with your team and add them to your own toolkit.

Be thoughtful: put your employee wellness plan together

With any initiative, a successful program requires a great deal of thought and buy in from all stakeholders — executives to employees. Start by doing some research. What are other companies offering employees? There’s a plethora of information on this topic, especially on LinkedIn.

Next, talk to some of your employees and executives to learn more about their current wellness challenges and goals. Another easy way to collect information, and do so anonymously, is to send a survey. Ask what team members are currently doing today to improve their wellness and how the organization can support them in the future. Collect their ideas — what works for them and anything they’ve heard that other companies are doing.

Take everyone’s feedback into consideration to develop a program that closely meets the needs of the broader group. Since we implemented our wellness workshop two years ago, we went with the theme of building resilience at the start of the pandemic, sustaining resilience during the pandemic and optimizing resilience as we move to the new normal.  The engagement has been outstanding and well received by our team members who participated.

Remember, your program can and will likely evolve over time, so this is just the first iteration

Go big: organize a kickoff meeting

Build excitement around your initiative by gathering everyone together for a town hall and laying out the details of the program for all to see. Share what you hope to accomplish, resources available to support the team and how the success of the program will be optimized over time. You can even consider having people share their personal stories to reduce some of the stigma around wellness challenges. This makes it more relatable for employees and will likely increase program buy in and adoption.

Make it stick: build habits & keep employee wellbeing top of mind with microlearning

Like most workshops, we knew that the odds of attendees remembering and implementing the key wellness practices that were shared would be challenging. The human brain is not wired to remember information in bulk, we are creatures of habit, and the forgetting curve tells us that what was retained will likely be forgotten over time.

Since consistency and positive habit formation is key when it comes to wellness, we enlisted the help of Qstream’s microlearning and knowledge reinforcement technology. We used Qstream to highlight the key concepts and programs shared during the workshop and help employees incorporate new tactics into their routines. This was the perfect way to keep wellness top of mind without overwhelming them with more information.

The questions we deployed were a mix of intentional reminders, general information reinforcement and ways to encourage them to internalize their own wellbeing on a more regular basis, such as How would you rate your overall wellness today? After taking the course, which of the following are you committing to enhance your wellness?

We also asked simple Yes or No questions to remind employees of services that are available to them, such as Did you know that Alnylam partners with a meditation app designed to guide you through everyday mindfulness? We would then provide a link to the resource in the Q-stream follow up message when appropriate for easy access 

 The feedback from our team on providing these intentional pointers and reminders has been overwhelmingly positive, allowing us to leverage the Qstream platform in a unique way that best serves our team.

Enhance your wellness journey today

Although what promotes wellness for one person might not be the same for another, there are several universal principles that produce results for just about everyone. I shared a few of my personal favorites in a guest post with LTEN, which you can access here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope you are able to implement a few of the strategies and techniques I’ve discussed to take your commitment to employee wellness to the next level. As mentioned above, doing so will be critical in attracting and retaining top talent moving forward. Please drop me a note with any feedback or ideas you have – I’d love to hear from you!

Chris Platanos is Director, Commercial Training at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Get in touch with Chris at christopherplatanos@gmail.com. He’d love to hear from you!

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