How do you constantly provide original & exciting vitality initiatives? 🔥

Imagine this: every April, you organise that famous 10,000 steps challenge. It feels a bit like re-watching that Netflix series-you know exactly what's coming and the surprise effect is gone. The consequence? Your colleagues may become less and less enthusiastic about joining in. You want to enthuse your staff with original initiatives throughout the year, but how do you go about it? And the year after and the year after that? From the reactions of 5,000+ employees, our experience shows that repetition does not immediately bring extra enthusiasm. In this blog, we give you several tools to fill your annual calendar with original vitality initiatives easily.

Time to read: 5 minutes

How do you constantly provide original & exciting vitality initiatives? 🔥

12 months, 4 initiatives 🗓️

A year consists of 12 months... "Yes, duh!" But so that also means you can start organising multiple initiatives. Maybe this sounds a bit overwhelming, but you can also see this as a new challenge. We recommend setting up a maximum of four initiatives per year. To make sure you do not have to look for a new initiative last minute, it is useful to start with an initiative calendar. You can fill this with different initiatives for the whole year. Each month does not have to start with a new initiative. You can also choose to keep an initiative going for, say, 3 months. By consciously thinking about an annual schedule with new vitality initiatives, you keep the programme fresh and interesting. Your colleagues will be surprised and not feel like they are starting the same initiative over and over again. It also ensures continued engagement when you keep coming up with an unknown or improved initiative.

Come up with monthly themes

Start by identifying monthly themes that match employees' needs and interests. Consider themes such as mental wellbeing, physical health, team building, and personal development. Then choose which month or months you want to stick to a particular vitality theme. Each month you can plan different activities that fit the theme. For example, in January you might organise workshops on stress management, mental well-being, and mindfulness, while in May you might organise several weekly sports days. Think about how to make the themes fit the month as well as possible. For example, a month's extra focus on getting rid of stress around the busy month of September or starting Dry January in, you guessed it, January.

Curious about employee needs. Use this ultimate questionnaire with 4 questions to find out your employees' vitality needs

Use digital tools for your calendar

You can use various digital programmes to create this calendar. Tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets are excellent for simply keeping track of activities and dates. For more dynamic planning, consider tools like Trello or Asana, which allow you to manage activities as projects, assign tasks to team members, and set deadlines and reminders. You can set reminders, send updates and collect feedback, all in one central place. This makes managing your vitality initiatives clear and accessible to everyone on the team.

1 week, multiple ideas 🧠

Imagine this: it's Tuesday afternoon, the weather is beautiful outside, but you're stuck inside at your desk with the mission of looking for a new inspiring vitality initiative. With a cup of coffee long since gone cold, you scroll through page after page of Google results, blogs and LinkedIn posts with tips. Good idea, to plan ahead, but how do you get that vitality calendar filled in in an inspiring way? How can you keep coming up with a new initiative without repeating yourself?

Try-out week for you and your staff

A handy and easy way to gather ideas is to organise a 'vitality week'. During such a week, each day focuses on a different aspect of wellbeing. For instance, you could start with a workshop on healthy eating, followed by a day all about mental health, and end the week with a team-building activity. This is not only a fun and educational week for your colleagues, but is also the perfect opportunity for you as HR manager to gain direct insight into the vitality needs of your employees. It is an ideal time to observe which activities are received enthusiastically and which less so. You can immediately use your survey results and findings as data when presenting your new vitality initiative to the management team

Want to learn more about how to convince the management team with your new vitality initiative? Read here more!

***Measuring employee needs ***

For example, you could organise a feedback session at the end of this vitality week, where employees can vote for the activities they found most valuable. Imagine that during a vitality week, the workshop 'Mindfulness for Beginners' receives unexpectedly high attendance and positive feedback. This could be a sign that there is a strong need for more initiatives focused on mental health. Based on this information, you can adjust or add initiatives to your calendar of initiatives. Such an approach not only promotes employee engagement, but also ensures that the new next vitality initiatives really match their wants and needs. This increases the effectiveness of your programme.

Collaborate with experts

To organise these weeks, partner with local health experts and trainers who specialise in different areas of wellbeing. This not only adds another professional touch to your vitality week. It also ensures that you can learn from these professionals and organise a vitality week yourself next time using the example and knowledge you have taken from them.

1 year, 4 seasons 🌤️

Maybe you too sometimes look out of the window when you have an important question to answer. Nature, the people walking down the street, the peace you suddenly experience by watching a violent wind. It might help you come up with new ideas. But look again. The answer to your new initiative is indeed there, outside the window. Weather conditions and therefore seasons always have a huge impact on the behavior of people and hence your employees. You may have experienced yourself going outside a bit more in summer than in winter. Or that you were super motivated in January to eat healthier.You can get a lot of inspiration for your vitality initiatives for your annual calendar from the seasons.

Link an inspiring name to your initiative

In spring, a fresh outdoor activity; in summer; perhaps a lunchtime yoga in the park or walks or bike rides, in autumn; a team-building hike and in winter; a seminar on how to stay healthy during the cold months or indoor events such as cooking workshops or book clubs. Pair inspiring names with them right away so that your employees can look forward to your new initiative at the end of the season. In spring, a "Fresh and Fruity" recipe initiative, in summer a "Sunny Steps Challenge", autumn brings "Heartwarming Autumn Walks" or "Mindfulness Tea Moment" and in winter, let your employees deal with the winter blues through a "Wellness Winter Tent". When you link an initiative to a season, you can automatically come up with an appropriate name for it. This keeps the programme interesting throughout the year and also ensures that your vitality calendar adapts to changing circumstances.

Respond to current events

Suppose it is July and the Tour de France is in full swing. How fun is it to link this event to your initiative? It's a perfect time to launch a "Cycle the Tour de France" challenge. Or, for example, organise the "Olympics for Health" in August, when the Olympics also kick off. This way, you can extend the enthusiasm employees feel around these biggest events to your vitality initiative. For example, create a virtual podium in an email or on your own platform where you keep track of scores and give away a medal, a cup or a yellow jersey as prizes, for example. Use the visual aspects of the event, such as the Olympic Games circles, and add them to your communication materials. Use opening and closing ceremonies around the same time as the ceremonies of the actual event to complete the feel.

Keep an eye on weather conditions

Your vitality initiative will also fit in better with employees' daily routines this way. A running initiative in winter? Perhaps not every employee is eager to run in the rain. Most people are indoors a bit more often in winter. But you can also turn the season to your advantage with, for example, a 'Summer Fitness Challenge' where you encourage employees to walk a bit more during the longer days in the evening. Consider, for example, the initiative to virtually walk to Ibiza together. Every kilometer walked by each employee is added up to reach a bigger goal together. The result? A vitality programme that is constantly evolving and adapting to changing weather conditions while also being something your colleagues can look forward to.

So, are you an HR manager looking for new vitality initiatives but don't know where to start? Take a deep breath, put aside that calendar from last year, and look outside! Use the seasons as your source of inspiration and let them set the agenda for your vitality initiatives. Try setting up an annual calendar with different initiatives in advance so that you can surprise and motivate your team again with each initiative.

Would you like to know which initiatives work well at other organisations? Or would you like to spar about organising your vitality calendar? Schedule an appointment with one of us and let's have a digital cup of coffee soon.