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How to ensure success when building a wellness program in your law firm

We’ve discussed the various reasons why wellness programs are so important for law firms to implement. And we’ve talked about the types of programs that enhance wellness within the law firm environment.

It’s all well and good to understand the why and the what of wellness initiatives. But until you understand how to get these programs going within your firm, that prior advice may not have much value. Hence, in this final article in our series on law firm wellness, we’ll present many of the steps you need to take to start implementing your firm’s wellness program today.

Get buy-in from the decision-makers

Obviously, no major initiative will be undertaken by your firm without approval from the top brass. If you’re at a small firm, that might mean that you need approval from the named partner. At a larger firm, you may have to give a formal presentation to the budget or steering committees.

In either case, remember that the best way to convince someone to do something is to be prepared. Thus, you should set an appointment to talk to your firm’s decision-makers about the wellness program idea. When it’s your time to shine, bring the evidence you need to support your proposal.

For example, you might talk about studies showing that workplace wellness programs improve employee health and well-being. You could also talk about the ways these programs increase employee productivity. And, if your employer is the financially-motivated sort, don’t forget to talk about the money-saving benefits of the wellness program implemented by Aetna.

Get employee commitments without causing a distraction

It’s possible, of course, that the higher-ups will want to know that employees will actually participate in a wellness program before the firm invests the time and money implementing one. Consequently, you may want to take a survey of firm employees with respect to their interest in participating.

If you do this, be sure not to be a distraction in the workplace. One study revealed that up to 95% of employees are already distracted in the workplace. And while that same study also showed that healthy habits (like the ones you’re trying to implement) increased workplace focus, you don’t want to start your initiative off by taking people away from their daily tasks. Try soliciting feedback only while people are in the breakroom or some other place where you’re not causing a work interruption.

Retain competent service providers

So, you’ve convinced the firm to start a wellness program. Now what? Well, a good place to start is by finding appropriate service providers. To do that, try contacting professional associations for whatever discipline you’re looking to bring into the firm.

Let’s say, for example, that the firm is willing to implement a corporate yoga class. Where do you find an appropriate instructor? 30 seconds of Google research tells us that the “Yoga Alliance” offers an article on “Finding the Right Yoga Teacher.” This easy online research is a great way to familiarize yourself with the things you need to look for when searching for the perfect instructor.

Of course, things like word of mouth, referrals from colleagues, and newspaper articles can also be a great source of information. Whatever you do, just be sure that you can justify the decision you make to the people who hold the purse-strings.

Create incentives to encourage ongoing participation

Employees love incentive programs and law firm employees are no different. Fortunately, incentives tend to work well for things like participation in wellness programs. Moreover, if you put some creativity into it, you can create incentives that will foster strong participation, but won’t cost the firm an arm and a leg.

Incentives can include things like a drawing for gift cards once a certain participation level is reached or individual rewards for reaching program milestones. It’s not too big of a stretch to say that people who work in law firms are typically more competitive than others, so offering cash prizes for achieving the best results can be a strong motivator at your workplace. Maybe a $100 cash prize for the person who attends the most yoga classes over a 90-day period?

Measure your results

Finally, if you want to have your wellness program renewed by top brass year after year, you’ll probably want to measure the results. While determining the effectiveness of such programs can be empirically challenging, you don’t have to make it difficult. Simply ask people, “did you enjoy the program?” or “do you feel better?” Chances are, you’ll receive a lot of positive feedback. Just remember not to distract your co-workers in performing this research!

Does your firm have a wellness program in place? Tell us about it in the comments, below.

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