Derek Kanehira, VP of Human Resources for Hawaii National Bank, a Fond customer, spoke with us about the employee wellness program at Hawaii National Bank (HNB), a privately held community bank, with branch offices in Hilo, Hawai’i, Oahu, and Maui, and provides a wide range of services to small business customers and individual account holders.
Over the past decade, HNB has offered an array of employee wellness programs. They have ranged from providing biometric screenings to onsite health risk assessments. In the last three years, though, they have formalized the program giving it a name, assigning it a 12-person committee, and conducting regular employee interest surveys. This new program includes wellness events and activities held throughout the year. They also now hold an optional 4-week online wellness challenge for employees to participate in.
But how did HNB approach the development of this successful employee wellness program and get 2x benchmark engagement from their team? They focused on three key areas:
1. Goal Setting
First and foremost, HNB’s wellness committee wanted to measure the success of their formalized program. To start, they looked to outside resources to determine the benchmark of successful employee wellness programs in terms of participation, finding the common cited target referenced was 40% total engagement.
In order to determine both realistic and stretch goals for their program, the committee looked to past engagement with other activities and events they had run. For several years running they were able to get 100% of their employees to complete their biometric screenings and onsite health risk assessments so they knew they could probably expect a higher than average participation. They also took into consideration that their culture is such that it truly embraces wellness and is talked about on a regular basis and shared within departments.
With that in mind, HNB set a goal of 80% employee engagement in the program, with an aspirational goal of 85%. In order to qualify, an employee would need to participate in at least one wellness activity or event each year.
2. Program Diversification
So what wellness events and activities were the wellness committee going to offer their employees over the course of the year that would get them excited to participate in the employee wellness program?
First, the committee took feedback from their employee interest surveys to see what offerings their employees were most keen on. Based on that information, they were able to make decisions on programs that would be the most relevant to their audience and made a point to incorporate those items.
They also knew that in order to achieve maximum engagement, they would need to offer a wide variety of activities to choose from that spoke to employees in all demographics within their organization so as not to alienate anyone and make it fun.
In the end, the committee developed an approved wellness activity list that included an average of 70 items, such as:
- Speaker sessions
- Educational classes and modules
- Community service activities
- An online wellness challenge
- Flu shots
3. Awareness Building
The HNB wellness committee realized it was one thing to offer 70 different wellness activities to their employees throughout the year, but it’s another to actually get their employees to participate. Achieving the goal of 80% engagement in the employee wellness program could only be accomplished through a solid communication strategy.
In order to build awareness for their program, HNB focused on a few key factors:
- Leading by example
- Being transparent
- Engaging from Day 1
- Making it fun
Taking a top-down approach, the team began with executives VP level and above, encouraging these leaders to set an example and participate in the program. This action sent a strong message throughout the organization and set the tone for engagement.
The committee also wanted to be transparent about the results they were seeing and receiving from their employees. By publishing participation trackers, whether communicated by employee number in the company-wide wellness newsletter or results from employee engagement surveys and activity calendars for the coming months in open areas, everyone had the ability to have an in-depth look into the program.
Engagement starts from Day-1 at HNB. As new employees onboard, they’re immediately introduced to the wellness program – from immersive information sessions in their new hire orientation to independent department discussions.
At the end of the day, the real key for HNB has been making the employee wellness program fun, building awareness through food-inspired gatherings throughout the organization. Leveraging the importance of food to the Hawaiian culture and feedback from their employee engagement survey, they provided each interested employee with a mason jar. With this mason jar, employees could attend a monthly lunch or breakfast session where they could create their own healthy salad, yogurt parfait, or oatmeal bowl. This prompted the employees to see wellness as a fun way to experience new foods and ways they could be introduced into their regular diets.
Employee Wellness Results
By focusing on these three key objectives, HNB’s employee wellness program has been a runaway success. They have experienced 87% employee participation in the program – exceeding both their actual and aspirational goals. Not only that, but the result has also translated into employees making remarkable self-changes on their own. Health and wellness have become common topics of discussion throughout the company and has positively influenced their company culture.