Looking to build a holistic wellness program that’s both fun and engaging for a variety of populations? Try incorporating monthly themes!
When we built our own internal wellness program here at MoveSpring, we found that monthly themes were one of the simplest and most effective ways to structure our program. Themes helped guide and inform our wellness program, from the content we shared to the challenges we ran, events we hosted, and more!
In this blog post, we’ll be covering how to use monthly themes to guide your wellness program — from activities to educational resources. Plus, we’ll cover some tried and true activities that we at MoveSpring include in our wellness program.
Using monthly themes helps you focus on health topics that matter to you and your unique employee population.
To select monthly themes to use in your wellness program, think holistically and consider the scope of the entire year. We suggest planning out themes for the entire calendar year if possible, or at a minimum planning a quarter at a time. Picking the themes you’ll focus on ahead of time allows you to be intentional with your choices and address topics that matter most to your employees.
Here’s what you’ll want to consider starting out:
- Which topics are of interest to your employees? If you’re not sure, try surveying your group ahead of time. Get a pulse on what your employees care about and want to learn more about to help you choose engaging and exciting themes.
- What health topics are especially relevant in your industry? If there are specific health topics that affect your industry or company in particular, make sure to make those front and center. For example, stress and burnout might be an important topic for the medical field, while social connection could be a relevant theme for remote teams.
- How can you tie in national health observances? You can pull inspiration from many existing wellness holidays and initiatives. Health observances are an especially great resource to consider, since top health authorities like the CDC and HHS create informational resources for select observances that are free to use. You can find a list of popular health observances on our blog.
What are some themes to consider?
You’ll want to focus on themes that will be engaging and exciting to your employee population and their interests. Here are some common health & wellness themes you can consider including in your wellness program:
- Healthy Habits
- Workplace Wellness
- Healthy Holidays
- Heart Health
- Healthy Summer
- Healthy Meal Prep
- Social Wellness
- Stress & Resilience
You’ve chosen themes. Now spread the word!
After selecting themes, it’s time to share them with your program participants. One of the simplest ways to share your monthly themes is by creating a wellness calendar.
A wellness calendar is a shared company calendar used to communicate important wellness program events, initiatives, and programs.
We wrote a whole blog post on what a comprehensive wellness calendar might look like, but if you don’t have a broader strategy yet, you can keep it simple and communicate your chosen themes as a starting point.
Here’s an example of a simple wellness calendar we created for our team:
While you iron out the final details for your challenges, events, and resources for the year ahead, sharing this calendar allows your employees to get an idea of what they can expect. If you don’t know the names of challenges you’ll be running, you can always use placeholders such as “TBD” or “Fall challenge” instead. This sneak peek can help to build momentum and excitement around what’s coming up, which in turn can increase engagement with your wellness program.
We recommend sharing this across as many communication channels as possible. E-mail newsletters, messaging apps, and company intranets are all great places to share your calendar publicly. Reaching as many employees as possible ensures maximum engagement in your program.
Creative ways to use monthly themes
After choosing and communicating your monthly themes to your employees, you can get creative and begin planning corresponding activities and events. Below, you’ll find our four favorite ways to use monthly themes in company wellness programming.
1. Lead interactive team events
Use your monthly themes to help you plan social events throughout the year. Events are a great way to bring employees together to learn new things. It also gives everyone an opportunity to interact with colleagues that they might not otherwise work with directly.
You can run events in person, or virtually if you’re on a remote team. Make sure to record your event and share it with those who might not be able to attend live.
Here are some of our favorite themed event ideas:
- Facilitate a cameras-off group meditation for mental health month
- Run a virtual healthy cooking class for nutrition month
- Host a lunch and learn about hypertension for heart health month
- Hire a yoga instructor to lead a group yoga class for strength month
- Organize a virtual scavenger hunt of personal items for gratitude month
2. Engage and educate with Wellness Wednesdays
Wellness Wednesdays are a crowd favorite at MoveSpring! Every Wednesday, we share short health & wellness posts in a dedicated wellness channel on Slack. If you’d prefer to post on another day of the week, try out Feel Good Friday or one of these other weekday ideas.
Wellness Wednesdays should ideally be posted in a place that will encourage the most engagement. Some options can include messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams, or a company intranet portal.
Use your monthly theme to guide the content of your posts. We recommend making your posts as interactive as possible to prompt conversation amongst employees. Here are our favorite ideas for what to include in a successful post:
- Reflect and share: Start a discussion on a relevant wellness topic (try linking out to articles, videos, or podcasts!) and ask employees to reflect and share their thoughts. Provide a prompt related to your monthly theme, and encourage sharing of personal experiences or ideas.
- Share a photo: It’s fun to share personal experiences, and photos are a great way to get everyone engaged. Ask employees to share a photo of an experience, a meal they made, or a memory they recall that relates to your post.
- Test your knowledge: Quizzes are a fun and low-barrier way to get everyone involved. You can ask multiple choice, true/false, or 2 truths and a lie style questions about stats or information on your monthly theme. Make it easy to engage with just the click of a button by using emoji reactions to gather answers.
Whatever prompts you choose, we encourage you to keep your posts simple and engaging, so it's easy and fun for employees to participate!
3. Create holistic actionable content
Similar to Wellness Wednesdays, actionable content that corresponds to your monthly theme can serve as an educational tool to bring awareness to health topics that matter. Actionable content encourages employees to engage in a specific action that promotes their wellness, which in turn encourages holistic healthy behaviors year-round.
For example, for mental health month, try encouraging an act of self-care or a mindful walk. For nutrition month, inspire employees to go meatless for one meal or to swap a sugary drink with water.
For our internal wellness program, we bring actionable content front and center to the MoveSpring dashboard by utilizing the content campaigns feature. The prompts are marked as actionable so users can swipe to complete each post they engaged with.
These content posts remain static on the dashboard, and you can choose to add or remove posts at any time from the MoveSpring admin center. Learn how here.
Use our actionable content collections for your wellness program, by filtering for content tagged as Actionable. Some of our collections include Healthy Summer, Increasing Movement, Nutrition, Mental Health, and Gratitude.
4. Run a themed challenge
Your monthly themes are a perfect jumping-off point to kickstart brainstorming for wellness challenges.
If your theme focuses on social wellness, try a good, old-fashioned team step challenge. If you’re focusing on holistic topics like hydration or mindfulness, challenge your employees to adopt healthy habits instead.
Use the inspiration from your theme to create a personalized experience with customized goals, communications, and prizes. Creating a challenge that centers around your theme can drive your message home through a combination of awareness and engagement. For more ideas on creating an exciting themed challenge, check out the advice in our blog post here.
There are many ways you can incorporate themes into your wellness program.
We encourage you to try different ideas to find what is most engaging to your employees. Regardless of what your wellness program looks like, remember to plan ahead and communicate often to help build a cohesive program your users will want to engage in. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness, and your program should be just as unique as your individual employees.