How do you ensure the well-being of your employees at the workplace? Are run-of-the-mill wellness initiatives enough? Or do organizations need to look beyond just healthy snacks and gym? Sukhpreet Sandhu, a fitness enthusiast himself, breaks it down for us. He tells us what does it take to create ‘holistic’ wellness programs for your employees and how to imbibe the approach of ‘wholesome wellness’ into your business DNA.
With the rapidly changing times, organisations have also been constantly evolving to survive in the competitive landscape. However, amidst this rush to beat the competition, business plans, deliverables, KPIs, and other transactional aspects of work often take over the most important element that helps run the show i.e. talent. And with it getting side-lined the need for holistic wellness of the talent increases.
I am sure each organisation runs some kind of corporate wellness initiatives and factor it in their overall talent engagement planning. However, most of these initiatives fail due to weak success measures and low impact. Organisations invest in all conventional wellness programs, but not all reap maximum results. This is because they miss out on the signs, patterns, and data points that need strong attention.Wellness must be in the DNA of any organisation’s culture and must take the top spot in the overall manifesto. Let’s not forget that people run the show for us and healthy talent always leads to a growing business. Click To Tweet
Being a fitness coach myself, sharing some insights and points we can ponder upon to foster a practical and more sustainable culture of health, fitness, and wellness.
First Things First
Get the pulse of the employees, not literally though! You need some crude data points that you can churn to get some unseen insights. This can really help you drive & divert the business direction. Many of us shy away from getting regular preventive tests done – sometimes lack due to of time and sometimes due to lack of willingness- mostly because we are lazy. We must develop a platform that focuses on educating employees eating right and fighting the demon of chronic diseases that either may be underlying or can develop over time. And yes, one size doesn’t fit all. I often talk about Appetite Analysis in my talks and articles. Believe it, this works wonders if done rigorously and seriously. Drive it top-down, let your CXOs lead and show that they care about their health – not just their bodies, but minds and soul as well (holistic wellness).
Keeping healthy snacks in the cafeteria or setting up a gym in the workplace is not the solution. No doubt they make any workplace look swanky and employees talk about it with oodles of swag, but how many actually take it seriously? A key point to ponder! Maybe, they either need something different or the same thing needs to be served differently.
Structuring Holistic Wellness
Once you have identified the core organisation-wide health and wellness challenges/inputs- it’s time to start weaving them into your talent planning. This is key to making it the building block. How about looking at a variety of categories and linking them? Wellness can’t be merely about physical health; it has to have mental, social, emotional, and financial elements as well. Yes! We often miss out on these aspects. Let’s add on some conventional methods to achieve these unconventional objectives successfully. Learning and continuous education with consistent nudges play an important role here. These four facets of wellness are interlinked. Run key financial planning programs continuously to let people be ready for adverse times and manage finances with a smile and not with stress.
Mid-level leadership development and coaching are important. Most of the managers don’t know how to mind their p’s and q’s to filter their conduct while dealing with their team members. Statements, tone, word-choices, commenting on something sensitive and dealing with their personal issues – these delicate matters, if not handled appropriately, cause a lot of turmoil in the people who experience such behaviours. This directly affects the receivers’ emotional and mental well-being. I am sure at some point in time we all have experienced our managers saying something insensitive which has made us question our whole existence in the team or the workplace! Needless to mention, this increases negative stress that leads to low productivity and impacts blood pressure, anxiety levels, and even personality disorders to some extent. This comprises one of the bottlenecks in the success of any wellness program. Train your mid-managers to handle this and lead such programs for success.
Bringing Agility in the ProgramsQuantity over quality and exhaustive over comprehensive- these interchangeable aspects of any program can make or break their prioritization and adoption at the workplace. Click To Tweet
Getting the fundamentals right and focusing on small capsules always work especially in an ambiguous and volatile business environment. The easier it is for employees to engage, the more likely they are to produce positive outcomes. Unless motivated, most employees will have a hard time beginning and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Behaviour change is one of the most difficult things that we do as humans. Adopting healthy behaviours is actually easy. The challenge is to maintain these healthy behaviours for the rest of your life. Worksites that can create a health-promoting environment and a culture that supports healthy living will experience a variety of positive wellness outcomes. To have an effective wellness program, you have to help employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviours.
Today, more than ever, there are many things competing for our attention. For any wellness program to be effective, it will need to be communicated in multiple ways and at multiple times. Once you have your effective marketing materials in place you need to get them in front of your employees. The days of just hanging up a poster are gone.
It’s like branding for your product or service offering- use internal ATL/BTL techniques, make it viral on social media, and let the quantum speak! Stream videos, interview people, and even go-live with their regime on social media. Don’t pressurize anyone, let people absorb things slowly- change takes time.
Internal Champions and Torchbearers
Leveraging the power of ‘lead by example’ can work wonders here. Some people at your workplaces must be practicing holistic wellness and leading a great lifestyle. Ask them to share their motivation with their teams to inspire others. Think about somebody you know that lives a healthy lifestyle. This person most likely would exercise every day, doesn’t use tobacco, eats a healthy diet, manages their stress and weight, and maintains some level of work/life balance. Why not make them as one of the torchbearers? This could be their passion to live this way and passion when given a chance to lead in the professional realm, gives unexpectedly great results.
I have personally done this. Being a fitness coach and instructor, I have always ensured that I hold small talks with people who share similar interests- it can be exploring a passion that makes them happy and leads to holistic wellness or a great fitness regime that affects the mind, body, and soul. Forming small groups and committees in the workplace works wonderfully. You get to have like-minded folks come together and lead initiatives innovatively for success. Some groups can conduct meditation and yoga for pure physical and mental well-being, some groups can host dance fitness, some can help others plan finances and savings, marathon runners club, music clubs, and many others. The list can go on and on, and the spike in the productivity, likelihood and loyalty towards the workplace including talent retention, attraction, etc., take a fabulous 360-degree turn.
It’s a collective effort of smaller elements ranging from adding wellness into the manifesto of the talent strategy to letting the same talent lead it for success. It is the differentiator for higher participation, innovation, engagement, and attainment. Passion and hustle can be possible game-changers and if the entire organisation shares it, it is reflected in the culture and day-to-day business for holistic growth towards consistent evolvement.