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3 Ways to Improve Employee Participation In Virtual Wellness Programs That Aren't Incentives

Corporate Wellness

As a Corporate Yoga Coach, I love sharing movement and mindfulness techniques with any size remote group. I also understand that my clients have target ROIs that need to be met to justify keeping wellness programs protected in their budget. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle of attendance (interest in the offering, trust in the facilitator, limiting beliefs, etc.) but I want to share the top tips that I've seen work time and time again to increase employee participation in wellness offerings at work.

Communicate Everywhere

communicate your wellness program everywhere

When you're the one planning everything and thinking about it all day, it's easy to assume that you've already promoted your wellness offerings enough. Guess what? You can still talk about them more!

Below is the communication schedule that I recommend for all of your wellness and employee benefit offerings:

  1. Send an email to all staff notifying them of the session, workshop, etc. and tell them that a calendar invite will follow, so please RSVP
  2. Send the calendar invite to all staff with the details inside (description, facilitator bio, any special requirements, etc.)
  3. Post it on your employee benefits platform with a graphic AND anywhere else that can get eyes on these offerings
  4. If you use Slack, broadcast it there too for all employees and/or individual channels that make sense
  5. Remind everyone one week prior with an email and/or messaging platform
  6. Send a reminder to those who RSVP'd to the calendar invite the day prior
  7. Ping everyone on your messaging platform the day of your session

As the program progresses, you'll start to have a core group of participants and some of these steps will no longer be necessary. However, if you want to keep infusing the sessions with new people, it's a good idea to communicate all of this info again each quarter.

Support Attendance Clearly

tips to support attendance of your employee wellness program clearly

You may think that simply offering the sessions or workshops will be enough to indicate to your employees that attendance is supported, but let's not take that chance. Every year I hear that about 20% of my clients are unsure if their attendance is on paid time or how they should handle it if their manager pings them during yoga (of course they stop practicing and answer).

Here are a few ways to show employees that attendance is encouraged:

  • Give your team clear guidance about whether or not these offerings are on paid time (especially with hourly employees)
  • Get leadership buy-in and have them commit to attending at least the first 3 sessions, so employees see that it's alright to take this time away from their duties
  • Send an organization-wide email stating that attendance is encouraged and those attending can feel free to turn off notifications and answer emails/calls after the session is over

Protect Wellness Time

ways to protect your virtual corporate wellness program time

Imagine that you tell everyone about this amazing wellness break that you planned for them on Wednesday morning where they'll be able to stretch, breathe and just relax for 30 minutes. Your team is so excited to attend...and then a team meeting pops up on the calendar at that same time from their manager. Sad faces everywhere, right? Let's assume that this meeting is one that can be scheduled at many different times, not something that is urgent (because of course those take precedence).

Below are my tips to protect your wellness time:

  • Review the organization calendar to make sure wellness time doesn't coincide with any regular department or all-hands meetings
  • Mark wellness time clearly on the company-wide calendar as "busy"
  • Notify schedulers and leadership not to schedule meetings during wellness time unless it is an emergency

If you are trying to create a culture of wellness, but allow your offerings to be scheduled over - you will never see the engagement you want and employees will feel like you're just "checking a box" on their wellness program without actually giving them the opportunity to attend. Instead, have discussions with your leadership team, get everyone on board and committed to the effort, then set clear boundaries around the offer and communicate it everywhere!

These are simply suggestions and things that I've seen work well for my corporate clients. Feel free to take these and run with it - maybe inspiring even better ideas for your team!


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About the Author:

Tiffany Lord, E-RYT & Yoga Therapeutic Specialist
Corporate Yoga Coach
Resilience + Stress Management Expert

As the founder of Love + Asana, I help busy professionals feel more resilient and empowered in their wellness using simple movement and mindfulness techniques to manage stress. This all-levels, accessible approach to physical and mental health at work allows employees to easily learn and implement healthy habits during their work day…and feel the benefits ripple out into all areas of life.

Since 2016, I’ve had the honor of coaching thousands of employees through virtual sessions and workshops focused on relaxation techniques, mindset, and mobility. My wellness articles have been featured in fyi50+, CO Yoga + Life, and I’m the author of three “Get With Gratitude” journals based on my online workshop series for resiliency through a grateful mindset.

I completed a 200-hour training through CorePower Yoga and received my 500-hour Therapeutic Specialist certificate through Yoga Medicine to complement my background in massage therapy and Bachelor’s Degree in International Business with Cum Laude honors from the University of Colorado at Denver. As a Continuing Education Provider with the Yoga Alliance, I share my knowledge of functional movement and the mind-body connection with yoga instructors wanting to deepen their teaching toolkit. My expertise in relaxation techniques and stress management also supports others living with Migraine through collaborations with Cove, an online migraine treatment company, and the International Headache Center.

When I’m not supporting wellness of others, I’m out improving my own – enjoying time with family & friends, dancing, camping, bouldering, reading and drinking too many lattes :)


Questions? Contact Tiffany at

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