Making healthy change where you work requires setting goals. In fact, any change requires a goal. Goals provide a sense of direction when you’re hoping to make changes. They can also motivate you to develop good habits. Goals are even used to determine whether or not you’ve been successful in your quest for change.
Setting goals as part of your employee wellness program is one way to make sure the program is efficient. Monitoring your progress as it relates to your goals shows you if you’ve been using your resources well.
These goals—and evaluating your progress towards them—help you to cut out what’s not working. They can also help you to build up and capitalize on what is working.
Long story short; goals are important. In order for a goal to help drive your employee wellness program, it needs to be a good goal—a SMART goal.
SMART goals are explained in a fancy acronym that describes the characteristics your goal needs to have. Goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Let’s check out what that means for your wellness program.
Goals that are too broad can easily become overwhelming and don’t always provide direction enough for healthy change. Specific goals, however, address one single action or problem. These goals are clear and easy to understand.
For example, rather than setting a goal to “improve employee health,” perhaps you would set a goal specific to physical activity, nutrition or stress management. Specific goals can contribute to your overall desire for a healthy workforce, but they don’t leave any room for misunderstanding.
Your goal needs to include some sort of measurement so you know exactly when you’ve reached the goal. This will help you to actually track your progress and take tangible steps towards healthy change.
Measurable goals usually include some type of number. Rather than setting a goal of “lowering average employee blood pressure,” consider picking a number within the healthy range to aim for. That way it’s not open to interpretation down the road.
It’s important to challenge yourself, but it’s also important to be realistic. Don’t set a goal that’s too easy, but don’t set a goal that’s too hard. You know your limits. Your goals should be specific to you.
For example, if you’ve never done employee wellness before, aiming to open a state of the art worksite fitness center or to completely remove stress might not be the best idea. Start small and build on your progress to avoid burnout and stay motivated.
Your goals are your call. It’s as simple as that. You can’t set a goal for yourself or your program because someone else told you to. You also can’t set a goal that you really don’t care about. Your goals need to be important to you and your company right now.
For example, if you’d like to get your workforce moving more, but you know not many of your employees run, you don’t need to set a goal of running a race together. Find activities your employees enjoy that still provide a healthy challenge. Tackle those and don’t worry about the goals others have encouraged for themselves.
It’s best to include a time-line for your goal. Setting a deadline motivates you to get started and to stay consistent in the journey.
Like measurable goals, time-bound goals often include a number or date. For example a SMART goal for healthy eating might be, “By the end of this month, I will share three new healthy recipes with my employees.” This triggers your mind to get started with making progress towards the goal sooner rather than later.
If you don’t have any goals defined for your employee wellness program, start thinking. Goals are a very important way to stay on track and guide the healthy progress you make at work.
In order for goals to be effective, they need to be valuable. So even if you do have goals, take a look to make sure they’re SMART so you can get the most of your wellness program.
What SMART goals do you have as part of your employee wellness program?