Cardiovascular disease is sometimes the topic of news stories (especially this time of year), but it’s important to have reminders of the small things we can do every day to promote heart health each day. Providing employee education about heart health in a supportive, knowledgeable environment helps them to make smart decisions that lead to healthier life-long habits. We interviewed Janssen Judge, one of our Human Performance coaches, and have a few pieces of advice for encouraging employees to be more informed about cardiovascular health issues.
KEEP IT POSITIVE
By asking questions like, “What do you want to be able to do that you may not be able to now?” or and “Who is it important for you to show up for?” you can help frame the participants’ perspective in a positive way to make the program approachable. The key to participation in health education programs, like ADURO’s Revive program for participants with metabolic syndrome, is to use the right language.
BREAK A BIG GOAL INTO BITE-SIZE EFFORTS
Setting big goals, such as losing 30 pounds or improving heart health, can be daunting. Help employees achieve their goals by establishing micro-changes to their habits. These steps will lead to progress without overwhelming participants. Some examples of heart healthy micro-changes could be walking 15 minutes a day or adding in flaxseed to their morning yogurt.
TEACH SMART GOALS
SMART goals (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) help individuals meet key benchmarks with a clear measurement in mind. This is crucial for lofty goals such as ‘improved heart health.’ Examples could be lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, as these are both listed as factors in cardiovascular disease by the American Health Association.
We’ve seen engagement increase dramatically by using a points and incentive system within ADURO programs. Our clients enjoy the gamification and competition of earning points, and we give out small prizes such as $25 Amazon Gift Cards when participants reach a new tier of engagement. Here are a few heart healthy ideas: Give Betty Crocker’s Heart Healthy Edition Cookbook away to the employee with the most engagement, or to all participants if the budget allows. Host a cooking workshop to teach healthy menu items and recipes. Add HSA bonus dollars or gift cards to gyms for achieved challenges. Donate to a school or cause of their choosing with their name. A piece of parting wisdom from Janssen: “The best way to support people in making a healthy change is to focus on the positive impact it will have. Let people know that a healthy heart empowers them to do and show up for whatever or whoever is most important to them!”