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4 Ways to Increase Wellness Program Attendance

When your company hosts a free yoga session, how many employees actually attend it?

A 2013 study showed that most firms have participation rates of less than 20 percent in their wellness activities.

Here are 4 ways to Increase Wellness Program Attendance at your company.

Start by Considering The Role of Leadership

Sometimes, employees feel self-conscious about taking a break. Is it a sign that this person isn't focusing on their work?

Here's where leadership comes in,

When the CEO makes time for exercise, employees will feel less self-conscious about taking a break to pursue these activities.

When MD Anderson initiated its wellness program, president John Mendelsohn took walks throughout the building with his wellness coach. Whenever he approached employees, he started conversations with “How’s your wellness?”

Use the Science of Habit Formation to Your Advantage

The science of habit formation mentions Commitment Devices. Atomic Habits author James Clear advises those looking to get into an exercise habit to "Pay for exercise classes in advance to increase the likelihood you’ll show up to “get your money’s worth.”

Consider you're a company that subsidizes gym membership for employees. Let's say an employee commits to 1 workout a week, and they don't show up. What if the company makes this person pay for the class they commit yet skip?

They'll definitely reconsider whether to skip future classes.

Our Next Step is Variety

Meditation isn’t for everyone. Neither is yoga or cycling. So bring some variety into your wellness initiatives.

Most people have some form of exercise they might enjoy. It could be a hike, a kickboxing session or even a belly dance class.

Talk to your employees, you might get an interesting idea or two.

Our Final Step is Flexibility

Sometimes wellness sessions could clash with important meetings. This is why the time and place of the wellness initiative needs to fit employee needs.

Consider surveying your team about the best time of day to plan these activities. If you don't reach a consensus, give your team access to the recordings of sessions they missed.

If it's about exercise, you could even keep a Wii Fit or a Kinect at the office. When you're working late and don't have an exercise buddy, you could join Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.

Engagement and wellbeing are intertwined. Invest in a company culture that promotes wellbeing and Corporate Wellness Could Someday Become Your Competitive Advantage.

If you're interested in wellbeing, Inspire2Aspire offers Wholeperson Wellbeing Workshops, Assessments, Retreats and Consultations for Individuals and Organizations.

Check out our video about boosting employee attendance at company wellness programs:


Berry, Leonard L, Mirabito, Ann M, & Baun, William B. (2010). What's the hard return on employee wellness programs? Harvard Business Review, 88(12), 104-142.

Hauser, D. (2019, January 14). Do Workplace Wellness Programs Really Work? MIT Sloan Management Review.

What Wellness Programs Don't Do for Workers. Harvard Business Review. (2019, August 14).

Squiers, B. (n.d.). Can Corporate Wellness Be Your Competitive Advantage? Total Wellness. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: Tiny changes, remarkable results: An easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. Avery.

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