How to Decide on the Best Implementation Strategy for Your Workplace Mindfulness Initiative

If you read our blog last month, you already know all the ways that a mindfulness program can support employee well-being.  Now you’re looking to bring mindfulness to your workplace, but you aren’t sure where to start. There are two key factors to consider for implementation: to partner or not, and what investment to make… Let’s talk options:

Keeping It in the Family:

If you’re looking to bolster employee well-being, but you’re not ready to invest in an outside program, try building momentum internally first. Sending out tips via email or an employee portal, buying a corporate subscription to a mindfulness app, or setting up a wellness room with comfortable cushions and establishing a time for open weekly meditation ‘sits’ can be easily accessible starting points that will help build momentum within the company.

Upside: Your cost is limited, and you are encouraging well-being by providing both time and space for employees to take a breather.

Downside: The downside here is that without robust programming, you are unlikely to have a robust response. The offering from the company may not be taken seriously, employees may not use the app as regularly as needed to have lasting benefit, and may not feel comfortable using the meditation space without a larger discussion and/or initiative around well-being at work.

Bringing in a Partner:

By finding a teacher or organization with which to partner, the effort to integrate mindfulness will likely be perceived as genuine and will be taken more seriously.  Much like a teenager listens more to anyone other than their parent or guardian for advice, an outside partner may bring an expertise that makes adoption rates increase and also stick long-term. With their experience, the right instructor or company has figured out how to best integrate programs into existing culture and will be able to guide you on one or more ways to track program outcomes.

Upside: An independent instructor or partner organization will likely not be clued into internal politics, and therefore will be able to present the material truly for what it is.

Downside: An outsider can be costly and may be less flexible in meeting your organization’s goals. Depending on the size and resources of the instructor or partner, they may or may not have the ability to support time away from each session (web or app-based content) and/or support a national or global effort.

Outside Partner, Limited Investment:

If you want to try out an external program but aren’t ready to commit to series programming, try bringing in an established mindfulness training organization for a lunch & learn intro session. This allows you to gauge company interest about programing and see the partner’s staff and curriculum in action.  

If you like what you see in a lunch & learn and decide to opt for the series programing, you will likely have some options. Many mindfulness organizations have different programming levels, dependent on time, cost, and number of employees. If you know cost will be an issue, be sure to select an organization that can work with your budget to stretch those dollars for maximum impact. Center for Resilience has an 8-Week Intro to Mindfulness and Mindfulness Essentials programs that offer customization for content, group size and time.  

Upside: It’s a low cost, low-time commitment option that can give you some useful tidbits about how to bring mindfulness into your workplace, even if you don’t decide to do more robust programming. (However, 100% of our program participants request additional services!)  

Downside: Limited time also means limited information and limited long-term benefit. Managing behavior change requires repeat exposure and many pathways to the same goal – some of these can be limited due to time or cost constraints.    

Full Partnership, Full Investment:

If you decide to go with an external partner, meet with your leadership team and the program instructor(s) to share your program goals. They should work with you to be sure the program can meet the stated objectives within the corporate culture. Be sure to check references and ask about program adoption rates, long-term outcomes and statistics from other companies of your size. Finally, take a look at the curriculum outline to see if the goals and weekly program objectives match your vision of this implementation.

Upside: A professional partner to help manage the implementation, track the data, and see both the individual pieces as well as the whole implementation strategy and how to make it most successful.

Downside: Ask for a number of proposals to compare, but this is likely to carry the highest cost per employee for implementation.

Long story short, if you’re looking to bring mindfulness to your workplace, there are options! You can check out our Workplace webpage to get a sampling of how Center for Resilience has structured its offerings.