Mental & Behavioral Health

Dopamine - The Answer to Increased Participation in Your Wellness Program

A wellness program is integrated to allow employees to thrive and increase just that, wellness. The organization invests copious amounts to better their employees' health and to hopefully receive an impact the company's bottom line. Unfortunately, the two previously mentioned reasons of wellness programs are implemented, rarely produce in corporate wellness programs.

I've said it before, I'm not a fan of using absolutes as I feel there is typically a multitude of reasons into why something occurred. Although there can always be a priority to put all focus towards to receive the largest ROI on your time. In corporate wellness, this is employee buy-in of the wellness program. It's a fairly simple concept to grasp. Low buy-in equates to low participation of employees in the wellness program.

With low participation, how is the wellness professional able to elicit greater wellness and how is the company going to positively impact their bottom line? There not! So, the priority that should be focused on by the wellness provider is increasing buy-in of the wellness program amongst the workforce. In business and life, in general, we all want to be as efficient as possible to save time which of course is our greatest asset as humans.

We're never getting back time so don't waste it. The most efficient way to upregulate the participation of your wellness program is exciting the employees and increasing their drive and motivation to succeed. This concept isn't something new and I'm aware that many you already understand this generalized concept. So, what point am I trying to create with this article then right? Well, what if there was another way to look at how to increase employee motivation and buy-in of the program that we probably have overlooked.

The brain and the neurotransmitters of the employees is this overlooked asset in upregulating buy-in so results can be produced. There is one neurotransmitter that I'm going to focus on and this is dopamine. Dopamine is the main neurotransmitter responsible for drive, motivation, and energy. This is a critical aspect to employees wanting to participate in a wellness program or not. How is the wellness program going to take this concept into consideration and get employees wanting to participate? That is the ultimate question.

We understand that dopamine increases drive, energy and motivation but how do we increase dopamine to reap the benefits it will elicit? There is a vast amount of ways in going about increasing the dopamine response in the brain. The main ways in which I use in upregulating participation amongst employees, especially when beginning with a company, is to ensure that satisfaction is extremely high amongst the employees. Satisfied employees are motivated and driven employees.

The topic of how to ensure satisfaction is high and a satisfied culture exists inside of the company is a topic for another article as this topic can become quite lengthy. Fortunately, I will be writing a follow-up article to this explaining method that raises satisfaction among the workforce The takeaway from the article is that a primary reason for wellness programs not receiving full buy-in from employees is because the employee's dopamine levels are nonexistent.

There are no methods being used to increase dopamine in the brain and get employees motivated and driven to succeed in their personal wellness ventures. Motivation is a strong indicator in whether we as humans are going to go respond to something especially something new. I'm not saying this is the end all be all in deciding to do something or not, but without hesitation, I believe motivation to be a very strong reasoning as to why.

I once read an article by a coach whom I've studied under. His name is Joel Jamison. The article outlines why Cross-fit has been uber successful in creating a culture of satisfaction and accomplishment. In this article, he discusses how dopamine response is a key regulator in whether a culture of success or failure is created. Joel outlines how the rise in dopamine more so is at its peak when a reward is sensed to be in the future not when the reward is given.

So, in the essence of Corporate wellness, employees that are motivated and driven because of the rise in dopamine are receiving this dopamine spike because they sense the reward of greater health and wellness from participating in the program. Dopamine in the brain can be a complex subject matter but my goal of this article was to inform you in how to use and facilitate a dopamine spike to better the health and wellness program you are using.

Like I mentioned previously, I will be contributing another article on methods to create the motivation, drive and reward response the will lead to a spike in dopamine. Stay Tuned!

Learn about how you can become a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist→