The New York Times recently highlighted the success of Aetna’s mindfulness-based wellness programs. These programs have been shown to reduce stress and improve health and productivity among participants.
More than 20 employer customers have implemented Aetna’s mindfulness-based wellness programs. While these employers are all very different, Aetna’s wellness team has a few common tips they encourage all employers to use when introducing this unique program.
Set a clear vision for organizational wellness – Organizational health is about creating a work environment where people are happy, healthy and productive. Emphasize how these programs fit into that strategy and the overall culture of the organization.
Support the programs at all levels of the organization – Having a CEO that practices mindfulness and yoga certainly helps employees embrace these programs. However, it is more important to empower individuals throughout the company to promote the use and benefits of mindfulness. These “mindful moments” can take place during the formal program classes, or in organizational, staff or one-to-one meetings.
Encourage employees to share personal experiences – More than 13,000 Aetna employees have participated in a mindfulness-based wellness program since 2011. Employees who use these programs consistently mention “word of mouth” recommendations from co-workers as a major reason for their participation.
Measure, measure, measure – Personal testimonials from co-workers will help engage employees, but it is also important to quantify results from the program. Employers should establish clear goals initially and then measure before, during and after to see how the program is progressing.
Celebrate success – It is important to highlight employee “success stories” broadly to show the impact of these programs at a personal level. Any company-wide results, such as improved productivity, can also demonstrate the benefit of the program to the entire organization.
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