When the hit TV show Biggest Loser first air on NBC in 2004, everyone got inspired to get up and lose weight. It created a remarkable movement getting people thinking more about what they eat and how much they move. Even employees, employers, and HR specialists got on board, causing workplace wellness programs to evolve.
While the biggest loser challenges had their place, the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Are they still relevant in 2021?” While the intention to help motivate employees to become more active and eat healthier is genuine, it can also be insulting and downright offensive. What message do you send to your employees when you challenge them to lose weight? Ways this can be interpreted range from “okay, wow, you think I am fat?” “What? Is my BMI now a liability for the company” “rude of you to assume I need to lose weight”?
There is no doubt that if you walked straight up to an employee and told them they could stand to lose 20 pounds, you might be facing a lawsuit. However, by hosting “Biggest Loser” challenges, we are essentially telling our employees precisely that. It is time to stop belittling our employees by telling them all the things we would like them to do, such as taking more steps, eating healthier, losing weight, and exercising. We need to start listening to what our employees need to achieve their own health and fitness goals.
Just as you need to diversify your staff, you need to diversify your wellness programs by offering a wide range of programs and challenges for them to participate in. Should a small group want to do a weight loss challenge, great! If another wants to train for a marathon, awesome! The organization should support both goals as part of a comprehensive wellness program.
Offering various programs can be difficult, especially for larger companies with many employees working towards different goals. So how can you accomplish this task? You could try to hire a wellness program officer as part of your staff, but that could get pricey. Many healthcare providers offer health coaches as part of the corporate benefits program; remember however, you get what you pay for. Usually, the health coaches deployed from health insurance companies have many people to call and can not give your employees all the time and attention they deserve.
Life Force Wellness was created with this issue in mind. We use the latest technology to help employees track and monitor their progress. Using the Life Force app, employees have access to community pages, a variety of challenges to sign up for, nutrition guides and tracking, workout videos on-demand, customized work plans, stress-relieving meditation, and more. We also staff a diverse team of certified coaches and trainers so that your employees can get the information and motivation they deserve.