We all know that a few well-placed words can go a long way. A new study indicates that these well-placed words may make all the difference in driving engagement in a well-run workplace wellness program.
This key insight comes from a new study titled “Let’s work out: communication in workplace wellness programs” and published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
The study notes that “people spend a lot of time communicating with their co-workers each day; however, research has yet to explore how colleagues influence each other’s health behaviors. The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between health-related communication and health behaviors among co-workers in a workplace wellness program.”
In order to conduct the study, 169 participants “were recruited from a large south-western university and its local school district through e-mail announcements sent from a wellness administrator. Participants were part of a workplace wellness program that offers several daily group fitness classes, as well as cooking classes, and other educational programs for faculty and staff.”
The results? “Perceived social influence from co-workers had an indirect effect on people’s health behaviors through their perceived social support from their co-workers, as well as through their organizational socialization.” In other words, when employees felt that — through communication — they had gained support from colleagues, their “health behaviors” were positively impacted.
The implications are clear: “Co-worker communication and socialization appear to be important factors in understanding individuals’ health behaviors; thus, organizations that offer workplace wellness programs should provide opportunities for socialization and co-worker communication to facilitate employees’ healthy behaviors.”