5 Ways to win in workplace wellness

A corporate culture that promotes wellness results in job satisfaction & feelings of energy on the job

Lisa Schmidt

In the building industry, you might not expect to need a fast horse in the race to win in wellness. Construction workers today are physically fit and healthy, right? Regardless of how physically fit your work team is, addressing wellness and well-being can ultimately bring greater profitability to a company while driving employees’ performances. It’s a win-win, but it’s not as easy as getting the horse out of the gate or announcing a wellness program.

Gale research completed in 2012 by Limeade CEO Henry Albrecht indicated there was a correlation between higher productivity and employees who have feelings of well-being. However, it was also documented recently that employees often view wellness as a separate issue in regard to their health.

Using Gallup research to apply a different approach to implementing wellness, one building industry company followed an engagement theory: the single biggest decision in implementing a wellness program is who you name as the leader of the program(s). Not surprisingly, Gallup research found that naming the right manager impacts safety with nearly 50 percent fewer accidents and 41 percent fewer defects in workmanship.

Turns out that applying what Albrecht learned – a positive and strong corporate culture that promotes self-acceptance, manages depression, appreciates life, openness, optimism and supports positive living is a predictor of productivity – really does result in job satisfaction, feelings of energy on the job, more meaningful views of work, a sense of team work, positive relationships with peers and a belief in the company worked for. Culture is the key.

Following the engagement theory, the building industry company built a new wellness model by supplanting a few “managers from hell” with managers who lead on the basis of what actually matters to employees. This translates into defining productivity as not only a function of how long people work, but also how long they do not work, based on creating a “well” culture.

At the top of the agenda for implementing this defined “well” culture was to bring together the values held by company leaders with the values held by employees. Everyone and every company holds values, but until we are aware about what those values are and how those values line up between home and work, we cannot be clear in a work vision – whether it’s for wellness or some other purpose.

This company discovered that in light of recent economic realities, the time-honored values of family and community are regaining a traditional place as guides for living within a moral and ethical framework. It was found via employee and customer surveys that time constraints were the single most common factor for uneasiness between work, family, social and community obligations. The leadership agreed that the goal for the work environment would align employee and corporate values, and the result was a more productive workplace.

While the original goal for this company was to save health benefit costs, meeting employees where they were coming from resulted in greater profitability and cost-savings. This wellness program found that the program was not a button to open the gate to healthier employees, but rather improved the overall work environment as a more effective way to keep employees healthy.

When factors such as control over one’s work, managing a work/life balance and perceptions of fairness in the workplace were managed with a well attitude for the sake of culture, the company was able to document that employees responded with fewer mental and physical health problems than they did in the initial survey. In addition, turnover was cut in half in this particular workplace.

Keep the roadblocks off of your company’s path to wellness by following these winning strategies:
Showcase an attitude of putting people first and placing those people in management.
Discover the values that the company shares with employees and focus on one simple statement as opposed to a big policy book; the fact is when employees only follow rules and policies, trust lags. Remember that empowerment doesn’t stem from rules.
When you get away from being the best company because of benefits and more about what your employees say about their experiences at work, you’ve achieved the best kind of advertising: word of mouth.
Take down the walls between those leading and those working: The CEO in this model spends 40 percent of his time on tending to the culture of the company. Be present among people whether they are employees or customers.
Be generous. Realize that loyalty, commitment and productivity are gifts from your employees. A leader’s attention to people is a gift. Doing what matters most establishes a culture that will have a competitive edge.

Lisa! Schmidt is a marketing advisor. She can be reached at 360.314.2730 or GetMarketingMatters@gmail.com.

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