Designing a Balanced Well-being Program

Malia Campbell - March 26, 2019

Welcome to our blog series about Humble Health — Myriad’s internal health and well-being program. We hope these posts give you a peek inside the life and culture at Myriad.

The first post in this series discussed where the idea for Humble Health first began. We also explained the process we went through to design its mission statement. In today’s post, we will talk about how we turned that mission statement into an actionable, balanced plan.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

There were so many dimensions of well-being that we could have incorporated into Humble Health’s initial program. We kept things simple by selecting three categories:

1. Physical Activity
2. Diet and Nutrition
3. Mindfulness and Stress Management

Defining three specific categories would steer us down a clear path. We were the most knowledgeable in these areas. Employees had the highest level of interest in improving these aspects of their health. We also felt that within the first year, improving these dimensions of well-being would make the biggest impact on employee engagement, our culture, and the quality of work being produced at Myriad.

One of the difficult things about program design is that in the beginning, you can do anything. Find ways of determining what is most important or realistic so that you can make a larger impact rather than trying to do a little bit of everything. This also sets up a system for more confidently and quickly saying yes and no to ideas as they emerge.

USE SURVEYS

Incorporating a mix of research tools in the early design phase of your program will make your long-term approach informed and inclusive. One of the tools that made a substantial impact on our yearly Humble Health plan was a company-wide survey. We wanted to learn about people’s perceptions of their own health and well-being. We wanted to hear more about what they wanted from the program. We also wanted to capture data points that we could track over time. That way, we could learn if the program was making a difference.

One of the questions that we asked in the survey that made an immediate impact on our program design was:

“What are some of the biggest obstacles faced when you are caring for your health and well-being?”

82% of respondents mentioned time management in their short answer response.

As one solution, we created passive and active opportunities. We wanted to expose employees to simple, efficient and fun ways to achieve health goals without negatively interrupting their general workflows. We wanted to reach a point where making healthy choices became a natural part of the day.

Passive Opportunities are events that require minimal effort and time from employees. Hillary and I do the majority of the work. People can show up on their own time and stay as long as they want. Or, they don’t have to show up at all. There is no pressure.

For example, we created a surprise pop-up event at the end of the year called “The Shred Shrine.” It was zany, fun, and completely optional. It took Hillary and I about twelve hours of planning and execution time but it only required about two minutes of an employee’s time. We wanted to expose employees to a new stress management technique in the most approachable and easy way possible. We also wanted to give them a burst of relief from what is typically the busiest time of year at our agency.

 

Ideally, when employees experienced stress again in the future, they would have a new method for working through the obstacle. We also wanted them to feel supported during this event. When they were working through stress again in the future, they would know they were supported even if there was no, “Shred Shrine” to be seen.

Active Opportunities require more time and effort from employees. For example, we host Humble Potlucks two to three times a year. Employees need to spend time making a dish and participating in the potluck event. We want the benefit to align with the investment of their time. During the potlucks, employees are able to eat great food, connect with employees they don’t always have the opportunity to spend time with and get a refreshing break from their day.

INSIGHTS TURN TO ACTION

Things were heating up. Humble Health had a mission statement. It would support three specific dimensions of well-being. Some of the offerings would be active and some would be passive.

It was time to imagine and schedule a years’ worth of experiences to bring the program to life. We brainstormed activities and events for each dimension of well-being. We ensured we had equal parts active and passive experiences for each category. Then we split the year into thirds. The first period would focus on physical activity. The next period would focus on nutritional and dietary health. The third period focused on mindfulness and stress management.

What were some of the events, you ask? Stay tuned. We’ll talk about how we formally launched Humble Health and some of the experiences we have enjoyed as a team so far.

As always, take care of yourself until we meet again. Thanks for following along.