How to Add FUN to Your Employee Wellness

FunStudies have found employees are more likely to engage in wellness when participation has an element of fun. Therefore, how can Wellness Coordinators generate smiles with their wellness initiatives? The good news is that many others have found the answer and we can glean from their creativity.

I’ve heard the complaints. You’ve heard them too.  “I’m not getting the flu shot; I hate needles.” Or “Schedule a physical? No way, I’m fine.” “This is only about saving the company money.” But when a measure of entertainment is added to the wellness programming, participation increases.

Volkswagen Did It

Taking a stairway can be good for health and be fun. Volkswagen desired to increase the use of their stairway which was located adjacent to an escalator. While many organizations have experienced success in encouraging the use of stairways by making the stairway attractive with bright colors or murals, Volkswagen went a $50,000 step further when they Read more of this post

Long Live The Employee!

OldManHave any 100-year-old employees on your payroll? Most likely, you don’t. Yet, what if your employees engaged in healthy lifestyles which enabled them to live 30, 40 or 50 years beyond retirement? I’m not advocating employing 95 year-olds. However, my hunch is if you have employees who will eventually reach the age of 100 then their current physical fitness is contributing to their productivity on the job.

Dan Buettner is the author of The Blue Zones, a New York Times Bestseller. The Blue Zones is a book providing “lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest.” Buettner does not target employers, but the principles shared certainly have implications for employee wellness.

The research is conducted among four groups of people who have a significantly higher percentage of inhabitants living to be centenarians, (100 years of age or older). The four Blue Zone communities are found in the Barbagia region of Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda, California in the United States, and on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

Studies have shown only about 25% of how long we live is dictated by genes—the other 75% is determined by lifestyle and choices. Buettner and his team paid close attention to the lifestyle similarities of these four Blue Zones and developed nine lessons to work into our lives if we desire to live longer…and more productive. What may be surprising to some, however, is many of the lifestyle choices are more “mental or spiritual” than “physical.” This supports a growing understanding of holistic wellness: Wellness programs focusing solely on nutrition and exercise lack essential elements of effective health promotion. Read more of this post

Yes, There ARE Employer Wellness Initiatives that Bring Immediate Results

Most of us who are actively engaged in Employee Wellness will affirm the best initiatives call for patient commitment. Outcome Based employee wellness plans offer long-term and maximum results, but the gratification is often delayed. However, I was recently introduced to a simple initiative that can bring immediate results.  Better yet, not only can it be immediately effective, but the cost is minimal. Read more of this post

How to Avoid the Scarlet Letter in Your Employee Wellness Program

scarletLetterHester Prynne struggled with the open shame and guilt of sin—much like many employees today who are forced to endure the shame placed upon them by well-meaning employee wellness programs.

The name Hester Prynne may not ring the bell of our memory, but many of us remember what she was forced to bear. Hester is the key character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. She gives birth to a daughter, revealing her affair.  Upon being found guilty of adultery in 17th Century Puritan Boston, she is forced to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her dress as a sign of shame.

With employee wellness booming across America, we are seeing some effective initiatives and some flops. Mixed within both spectrums of the attempts at employee wellness success, is the unintended consequence of employee shame. “Laura” is a modern-day Hester Prynne. Read more of this post

What Sophisticated Employers Know

Who are the enlightened and sophisticated employers? According to Andy Webber, President of the National Business Coalition on Health, they are the employers who “see health management not as an operating cost but an investment in workforce health and productivity.”

ZeroTrendsDee W. Edington wrote Zero Trends with the purpose of demonstrating that the improved health status of employees will not only reduce healthcare costs for the company, but also increase performance and productivity in the workplace. His book is about a new model of healthcare that defines healthcare as a combination of illness and wellness strategies that affect the bottom line of organizations far beyond simply striving to reduce the cost of insurance premiums. He contends “health management is a health strategy, but equally important, health management is a business and economic strategy.”

Avowing the cost of health is less than the cost of disease, Edington maintains that an unhealthy workforce cost an organization more than just the expense of treating illness. The cost of poor health hits employers through Read more of this post

The Company That Solved Health Care

When your company’s wellness program rations Viagra then you know there is an extensive wellness initiative in place. So it is at Serigraph, a Wisconsin-based company with 1,500 employees in Wisconsin, Mexico, China and India.

Following a presentation I gave on Employee Wellness, one of the participants came to me and recommended I read John Torinus Jr.’s The CompanySolved (1)Company That Solved Health Care. What a great recommendation. Thanks Batya!

Torinus served 20 years as CEO of Serigraph, and now serves as its active Chairman. With compelling detail, he shares how he involved their employees in their own health, enabling them to be effective consumers. It’s healthcare consumerism in overdrive. Five years into the reform, Serigraph spends one-third less than the national average to insure its workers. Read more of this post

Three Powerful Reasons to Include Physical Exercise on Your Resume

If you are a runner, swimmer, cyclist or engaged in any regular form of physical exercise, should you include it on your resume?

It has long been debated if hobbies should be included on resumes. There is support for including hobbies. A hobby may help the applicant connect with the hiring manager, project a well-rounded personality or add a personal touch to an otherwise formal document. The key Cyclistword here, however, is “may.” Opponents suggest that unless the hobby is related to the job it should not be included.  They instruct you not to include hobbies as they are often irrelevant to the job, may make the resume too long and distract from the resume’s main focus.

There is something different, however, about physical activity and exercise. Promoting personal exercise habits on your resume often provides a unique advantage over other hobbies and interests. There are 3 powerful reasons why including your exercise regiment on your resume can be a good move:

  1. Employers are looking for physically healthy employees. I have purposefully listed this reason first because employers are increasingly becoming health-conscience. Employers are Read more of this post