How to Empower Your Community with Grassroots Wellness

Sometimes, organizations may ask themselves, “What are some easy wins we could capture to improve wellness?” In other words, what type of initiatives are already built into an organization’s DNA that could be reframed or slightly reworked to fit in with workplace wellness efforts?

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, I suggest that you tap into “grassroots wellness,” which is about improving the health and well-being of a community. Many organizations already practice some type of corporate social responsibility, whether it’s going paperless to help the environment, holding a canned food drive during the holiday season, or organizing time for employees to volunteer at a charitable event.

Why community wellness?

These days, more people are interested in working for a company that promotes and supports worthwhile causes. This interest may not be surprising, as in recent years more products have been marketed to appeal to conscientious consumers who worry about how their purchases affect issues like the environment, the treatment of workers, and fair trade.

However, engaging in social responsibility doesn’t just help improve an organization’s standing with a community. Enhancing an employee’s sense of purpose can directly boost his or her level of engagement at work. When promoting wellness to your employees, consider the role your organization plays in the community, and how you could empower employees to be leaders in their communities as well.

How you can help

What organizations can do

Provide volunteer time off (VTO) to demonstrate your commitment to your community, as well as your employees – they won’t have to sacrifice paid time when making a difference.
Offer a corporate matching gift program when your employees make contributions to charities. Even a small matching amount shows you care.
Incorporate charitable donations into wellness challenges, e.g., if you offer rewards and incentives for achieving wellness goals, allow employees to donate their prizes to reputable causes.
Start wellness challenges with a communal feeling, such as walk challenges for a specific cause, or “random acts of kindness” competitions.
Be creative. For example, Weight Watchers has tied their members’ weight loss goals with donations to hunger relief organizations.

Wellness is not tied to an individual or even a workplace – it’s part of a whole community. And along that line of thinking, remember that feeling good can go beyond exercise and diet – it may also mean finding purpose and meaning in one’s actions. For more perspectives and food for thought about wellness, visit HumanaWellness.com.