It’s becoming much more common to see American companies seeking global expansion. As American employers expand their benefits strategies globally, wellness deserves a strategic global game plan as well.
Transferring over a wellness program from one country to another without modifications or sensitivity to culture can instantly doom a wellness program in the new country. Cultural differences and beliefs may significantly impact the overall perception and success of an international wellness plan.
During global strategizing for a client opening new international sites, we began by assigning wellness managers at each location. These people had a knowledge of local employment and benefits regulations, culture and value tactics and the ability to adopt a global well-being framework. Each wellness manager was then given instruction to design a wellness program that would gain the most traction as per their surroundings with the U.S. plan as a starting point.
During the expansion into China, my client quickly learned about the importance that herbal remedies play in Chinese culture. Wellness seminars and initiatives at Chinese sites needed to place a focus on traditional Chinese medicine and herbal remedies in order to garner enough employee interest, and even more importantly, trust in the credibility of the program.
Today, this internationally customized approach to each global site’s wellness program has shown high levels of participation across countries. In this case, one size does not fit all.