Article: How robust feedback mechanisms to improve wellness programs

A Brand Reachout InitiativeStrategic HR

How robust feedback mechanisms to improve wellness programs

Feedback and employee suggestions are essential to successful wellness programs, but how can organizations create and sustain them?
How robust feedback mechanisms to improve wellness programs

Organizations that collect employee feedback on critical issues that concern workplace policies and programs tend to have better productivity, adaptability, innovation, retention, and engagement levels. However, while the benefit of gathering and implementing employee suggestions is indisputable, organizations typically collect general feedback instead of pointed responses and recommendations. Collecting focused feedback can have multiple benefits for several organizational processes but, more importantly, help HR teams to design, implement, and improve employee wellness initiatives that genuinely benefit the workforce and the organization. In this article, we will discuss the importance of employee feedback for wellness programs and explain four ways to collect it.

The importance of reliable employee feedback for effective wellness initiatives

Continuous feedback is essential for wellness programs to meet the needs and expectations of the company’s workforce. Only when the employees of the programs convey what aspects of the program they are benefitting from and where they are facing a challenge can leaders make the necessary adjustments to improve engagement, participation, and retention. But, gathering insights from employees is easier said than done. Organizations and HR leaders must spend adequate time and resources to collect feedback from all stakeholders. 

To add to the challenges, when it comes to wellness programs and initiatives, most organizations focus almost exclusively on formal surveys or engagement scores to assess whether the intervention is working. Unfortunately, this results in misdirected effort and resources as these methods are too broad in scope and fail to overcome traditional barriers and concerns that many employees may have. Only when organizations identify the importance of seeking feedback can it be easier to devise creative mechanisms that meet those goals.

Four ways to seek employee feedback

Regardless of the size and industry of the company, collecting employee feedback can be a complex and challenging task. However, you can implement these practical suggestions to collect authentic and reliable employee feedback to improve wellness programs:

Increase anonymity

There are many reasons why anonymized responses in surveys and feedback forms can increase the accuracy and frankness of insights collected. Anonymity affords people more freedom to be truthful without fearing repercussions. So, ensure none of the feedback forms and documents collects personal information such as employee name, email, or identification number.

You can also use one of the many third-party anonymous feedback collection tools available in the market or use more accessible alternatives, such as installing a suggestion box or using an anonymized email. Get external facilitators to conduct anonymized focused group discussions and create mechanisms for employees to report discrepancies or challenges without identifying themselves.

Get insights from unofficial discussions

Even after being assured of anonymity, some people may not feel comfortable with formal feedback processes that typically involve answering questions listed in digital or physical questionnaires. Besides, pointed questions with multiple-choice answers may fail to garner an earnest response from employees as the scope of the question and answer can be greatly limited. Conversely, asking the respondent to write subjective answers can also be an obstacle. Similarly, many individuals may find it daunting or time-consuming to articulate their opinions through forms and documents.

To ensure that feedback from all different groups of employees is accounted for, it is imperative to create processes that integrate formal and informal mechanisms. It is essential to train managers to initiate casual conversations about what their team members think of the latest wellness initiative, what’s working for them, and what needs to be changed. Managers can play a crucial role in collecting authentic insights and feedback from employees through unofficial mechanisms and unconventional processes by normalizing honest discussions and exchanges about what people are experiencing.

Measure wellness holistically

Next, organizations need to expand the ambit of the word ‘wellness’ and measure its impact well beyond what their wellness programs intend. It is welcome that more companies are considering mental wellness an integral part of their wellness initiatives and looking beyond gym memberships or yoga sessions as a way to support employees in achieving a better work-life balance. The next step in this process is to distinguish between the intent and impact of wellness programs and measure them separately.

For example, a wellness program aiming to help employees achieve better work-life balance by assisting them to reduce screen time may very well accomplish its intention, and employees may witness reduced screen usage. But, it is crucial to measure its impact on their well-being and whether people feel rushed or unnecessarily anxious to complete their tasks in less time. So, redefine and redesign what you aim to measure based on the change you wish to initiate, not the short-term intention.

Improve trust and confidence

Finally, perhaps the most significant barrier to employees sharing feedback could be a lack of trust in how the company may use the data. Unless employees are sure that what they say or suggest will be taken in the right spirit and be acted upon, they might not find it valuable to voice their concerns. Therefore, the organization, senior leadership, and managers must inspire confidence in employees that their opinion is valuable and will contribute to the betterment of the program.

Doing this requires actively communicating how you intend to use the information collected and demonstrating through action that the feedback collection exercise isn’t futile. More than focusing on wellness programs, doing so requires a conscious effort to build a culture of trust where the leadership is willing to listen to what employees say and implement earnest feedback to ensure better implementation and compliance.

Creating feedback mechanisms for wellness programs: The final word

Gathering accurate and reliable employee feedback and suggestions can determine whether a company’s wellness programs and interventions are causing the intended benefits to its participants. Creating the space to record this crucial information and using it to alter existing programs requires a strong willingness to commit to genuine employee betterment and improvement. Organizations must build a culture of transparency and flexibility that can help them assess the impact of their employee wellness programs and make necessary changes.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Corporate Wellness Programs, #Wellness First With MediBuddy

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