Keenan Blog

The goal of the Keenan Blog is to provide a forum where we can come together to discuss issues and cultivate the solutions that will have a meaningful impact on your organization.

Increase the Effectiveness of Your Worksite Wellness Program with Social Support


Social support is the idea that an individual belongs to a supportive network in which he/she receives continuous care and assistance. This network is composed of family members, friends, pets, co-workers, and the individual’s employer and has the ability to enhance one’s mental and emotional health, therefore enhancing their quality of life.

Because of its impact on mental and emotional health, social support has progressed as a hot topic in employee wellness. Empathy and community are critical components in developing a highly integrated workforce. An  integrated workforce increases the likelihood that employees will participate in a company’s wellness program, leading to  the likelihood that a program will positively impact the workforce to shift their behaviors towards more positive, healthy, and productive behaviors.

blog_social_stretchKeenanWell promotes the utilization of social support as a component of your wellness program to drive healthy behavior changes, as well as encourage additional benefits, listed below.

  • Increases employee engagement – Peer encouragement is a key component for wellness program participation.
  • Increases employee confidence and motivation – Employees who participate in a wellness program with their peers are more confident they can complete a task.
  • Enhances employee performance – Employees who are supported by their colleagues to join a wellness challenge will perform at a higher level and have a greater chance for success.
  • Increases employee accountability – Employees who participate in a wellness initiative with their peer groups are more likely to complete the program.
  • Builds a sense of camaraderie among your co-workers – Team based wellness programs increase the morale of an employee population.
  • Builds a culture of wellness – Employees who support each other in health and wellness help to build a culture supportive of optimal health.

Ideas on how to build social support in an employee wellness program:

  • Offer team based activities directing employees to “buddy up”.
  • Designate “wellness champions” who can lead the wellness initiative offering encouragement to other employees.
  • Develop team incentives that reward the group as a whole.
  • Send re-occurring communications offering employee support.
  • Have senior leadership publicly support the wellness initiative in your organization.
  • Form walking or other exercise groups that meet up before or after work.