Social Connectedness, Workforce Health | By | 05/01/18 | 3 Minute Read

How The SCARF Model Can Boost Engagement In Your Corporate Wellness Program

The premise of an engaging corporate wellness program—where a large group of people unite under health and wellness goals—has a strong tie to social connections among employees. And social connectedness in the workplace is known to offer a slew of benefits, including increased happiness and decreased stress.

To optimize social connections, and ultimately, engagement within your corporate wellness program, consider leveraging the SCARF model, created by the co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, Dr. David Rock.

A framework for collaborative situations, SCARF is made up of five parts: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. As you strategize your next corporate wellness effort, try implementing each part of SCARF by following these tips:

STATUS: One’s importance in relation to others—the social feeling of reward and prestige.

  • Tip: Use a leaderboard during an activity challenge and reward employees for creative titles such as “Most Improved,” or “Most Active Minutes.” This recognition gives the spotlight to participants who may not necessarily be the top steppers, but are committed to the challenge and their health journey.

CERTAINTY: The more your employees recognize a social norm and what’s expected of them, the better sense of certainty they may have.

  • Tip: Communicate upcoming events often and in advance—and avoid drastic changes or surprises. Consider having your Wellness Director or HR Admin send out weekly emails to the company, informing employees of any upcoming health and fitness initiatives or events. And remember to implement this helpful tip that makes communicating to employees a win-win for all.

AUTONOMY: People like to have control and a sense of flexibility over their environment, especially when it comes to health and fitness.

  • Tip: Let employees choose a schedule that works best for them, whether that’s enabling them to go for a run during their lunch break, or sneaking out of work a bit early for a workout class.

RELATEDNESS: People like to feel safe and secure, and free of judgment. The human brain thrives on social interaction, and as a result, our relation to others greatly impacts the decisions we make.

  • Tip: Share testimonials. It’s motivating to see the stories of others. If someone learns that a coworker lost 30 pounds, other employees might feel inspired to work harder on their own fitness goals. Plus, the person who is recognized for making these healthy strides will feel a boost of confidence. For an example of powerful user testimonial, check out Rachel’s story.

FAIRNESS: People value fairness. The perception of fair exchange among employees encourages a positive environment where everyone has a chance to win.

  • Tip: Change your challenge strategies to give everyone an opportunity to win. This can be done in a variety of ways, whether that’s creating competitive tiers within a challenge, utilizing different metrics such as distance traveled versus steps counted, or awarding highest step counts for a given day vs. a given week.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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