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Does Your Corporate Wellness Program Actually Promote Wellness?

In a world where chronic ill health rates are on the rise, it's worth asking, for everyone's sake, is your wellness program actually promoting wellness?

Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash

It’s common place now for businesses to think outside of straight salary offerings to lure and, more importantly retain staff. Combine this with reducing the costs of sick leave, under performing staff, stress leave, recruitment processes and improving the ever elusive work – life balance, you would be hard pressed to not see the value in offering a Wellness Program.

Leading recruitment firm, Hays (1) surveyed over 1500 people and found that 54 per cent cited work – life balance as the reason for seeking a new role. Furthermore, in Berry, Mirabito & Baun’s paper “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness’ (2) found that while employee wellness programs have been viewed in the past as, ‘nice to have’ but not necessarily aligned with the strategic part of the business, the ROI on wellness programs can be as high as 6:1.

Most organizations want staff who are high performing, focused, utilizing their mind set for the greater good of their role and the organization – and yet what does your wellness program actually offer?

For some it might be a financial contribution to a gym membership, offering free fruit, perhaps getting a yoga teacher in during lunch times. And all of these things have merit (perhaps aside from the fruit but that’s for another post!) however, one thing that is often neglected – by everyone is the emotional health of your staff. Consider the way your teams are managing their stress. When I think back to my corporate days – in a fast paced sales role –I fueled myself on caffeine and sugar and then I relaxed by drinking alcohol and smoking. Hmmm.

When you look at the lifestyle habits of your staff, is a cheaper gym membership, a weekly yoga class (that they may or may not go to) or an apple going to actually support their overall well-being?

Well, perhaps. But perhaps not.  Particularly if they are not leaning to a healthy way of life by their own accord. Yes, I know, we are all adults, we can make our own choices.

I agree.

However, I believe if you are offering a wellness program at your business, isn’t it worth offering one that people can truly benefit from – in and outside of work?

Think about your workplace environment and culture. A lot of high performance workplaces come with a work hard-play hard culture.  And, that maybe doable and attractive in your 20’s, yet if you want to retain staff for the long term – what is the next thing for your, not-as-young-likely-juggling-parenthood-and-very-likely-now-your -senior-people people?!

Stress tends to build as we build our lives – kids, mortgages, ever increasing expenses and all at a time when we really desire more time with the family, true work-life balance verses a work 12 hours and drink for 4 type balance!

We no longer have the energy from our 20’s that we could really do with in our 40’s!

So what’s the solution?

I believe, wellness programs that educate and support people to understand holistic well-being. Think, learning and understanding:

 +How to fuel your body so it can function really well – less sick time, more energy, a clear mind.

+Creating a mindset for success – which is beyond simply pushing yourself harder than the next person; it’s about building resilience, creating head-space, understanding and overcoming self-imposed fears and limits to bust through the layers of resilience – in life and work.

+Working smarter to promote more life balance.

+Understanding people, developing empathy, listening and communicating skills.

+Aligning the skills and passion that come with a career to, well, life. Supporting people to find passions outside of work, so overall, life can feel sweeter.

+Moving, the body regularly not just for 45 minutes high intensity, after sitting at a desk all day to support a healthy and working muscular skeletal system…

+the list could go on.

And what’s in it for you, the employer?

So much! Think:

+Higher retention rates & less turnover

+Happier and healthier staff

+Staff who are aligned and inspired, clear and contributing and passionate – about their life – of which they spend a significant time of, with you!

+Driven and focused people.

+Become a workplace of choice, let people seek you out – clients and staff!

The list could go on…

1. https://www.hays.com.au/press-releases/HAYS_1812340

2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ann_Mirabito/publication/49712304_What%27s_the_Hard_Return_on_Employee_Wellness_Programs/links/00b7d521f74c693d3f000000.pdf

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