Motivating yourself is easy enough, it's motivating other people that is tricky. As the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." The horse may be too stubborn to drink even though it's thirsty, it may be too embarassed to drink in front of others, or it may already be full of water and not want any more! Regardless of the reason, you will need to accept that outside of a company mandate (which may cause resentment by the employees) it will be near impossible to achieve a participation rate even close to 100%. That being said, there are ways you can encourage employees to participate which can improve your overall participation rate.
- Give them rewards for attendance. Find a way to reward people for participating in the fitness events. A simple approach would be taking a tally of people attending and randomly awarding a prize every day/week/month. The more you attend, the better your chances. This could be a gift card, company swag, whatever.
- Give them rewards for being healthy outside of work. For example, offer a weekly / monthly subsidy for people who walk to work, have a gym membership, do weight watchers, etc..
- Take a "grassroots" approach. Make it a collaborative event and get managers and supervisors to actively encourage participation.
- Diversify the type of activities. By changing or adding new activities you broaden the appeal and bring in new participants. Perhaps men are too embarassed to do yoga, but would love to participate in basketball/soccer/etc..
- Educate employees. Many people have a hard time understanding the tangible benefits of fitness aside from "it makes me less fat." Put up flyers or hold seminars about the dangers of inactivity or the benefits of being active.
- Hold competitions. Have competitions on who can lose the most amount of body-fat, or maybe gain the most strength / muscle. Perhaps do group-based as well as solo, so you can have employees getting together and working as support-groups for each other. Again, have some sort of reward like gift cards for winning.
It is important for a company to promote fitness and activity in its employees, as it makes the employees healthier, happier, more productive, more loyal to the company, and greatly reduces the companies potential future medical costs. Arguably, the amount of money a company will save from its promotion of healthy living will be exponentially more than the cost of having an overly inactive workforce, thus these programs can pay for themselves and some!