Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

5 ways to coach millennials on improving health and wellness

employee health millennialIt’s long been a primary goal for employers to work with employees and devise strategies for improving corporate health and wellness. Whether it’s encouraging them to eat well, exercise better or screening for various illnesses, there’s always more that companies can do.

The challenge is particularly vexing with the latest generation of employees that’s entering the workforce. Millennials, who are now joining many organizations’ staffs in droves, are a tricky group to engage. They’re constantly on the move, hopping to new positions and new employers. How do you get these individuals’ attention for long enough to push them toward a healthier lifestyle?

The good news is that it’s possible with a little effort. According to HRE Online, millennials are surprisingly willing to engage on wellness issues if you try. The news source cited the 2014 edition of the “Consumer Health Mindset” study, which found that 53 percent of millennials are open to having their managers actively engage with them to discuss healthy lifestyle issues. This is actually more than other demographics – only 47 percent of Gen X-ers and 41 percent of baby boomers said the same.

HR expert Tom Davenport told HRE Online that he’s actually not surprised to see millennials willing to engage on wellness.

“The research is more or less consistent with what I’ve seen before,” Davenport said. “There seems to be a pattern of the millennial generation being comfortable with sharing information and less concerned about privacy. They’re generally amenable toward urging from managers, and from companies more broadly, to take charge of their health.”

If you’ve decided that it’s time for your organization to begin working on wellness with millennial employees, how will you do it? The following are five suggestions.

Set goals and communicate them
What are you hoping to accomplish with wellness? Does your top priority involve eating habits? Exercise routines? Whatever matters most to your employees, make sure to communicate it well via the proper channels.

Establish managers as role models
Talking the talk is one thing, but it’s better if you can walk the walk too. Make sure that managers set a strong example for their employees by practicing healthy habits themselves. If leaders can do the right thing, the rest may well follow suit.

Instill healthy eating habits
Your company can make healthy eating a priority by promoting it around the office. Serve your employees fresh fruit and vegetables for a morning snack, for example. A small gesture like this can turn into something bigger.

Make room in the schedule for wellness
If you help employees fit wellness into their lives, they’ll certainly appreciate it. For example, you can occasionally set aside some time at the end of the day for people to go for a jog or get in a gym workout.

Emphasize your company wellness program
With any and all health concerns that might come their way, workers can always benefit from using a wellness program. A wellness program can help employees identify risks and improve health with effective tools and resources, such as health risk assessments, health coaching, online workshops, trackers and more. 

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