Intention, incentives are key to promote workplace wellnessPublished 10:43am Wednesday, October 16, 2013
By Sandy Anderson
Mower Refreshed coordinator
Creating a work environment that inspires its employees to make healthy choices takes intention. Intention that involves exploring what challenges or assumed challenges there are and processing to determine if we really understand the root problem that interferes with employees engaging in healthy living.
Research confirms over and over that workplace programs and incentives can be effective in reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity and decreasing health care cost. If that is true, why do some worksites have programs and incentives but see little or no return on investment?
Businesses do not necessarily need large fitness programs or wellness incentives, but every employer who wants to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and decrease health care cost (especially those who have invested money in wellness programming) do need to identify what the root challenges are. Organizations that take the time to process are more likely to effectively impact behaviors.
What do we mean by root challenge? In organizations, we look to be efficient, especially with time and money. We see a problem, determine a solution and implement. The bigger problem is we often don’t know what the problem is; what the real challenge is for the employees. We think we know. We may have research that backs up what we believe, and we may even have a few employees who agree…but is it the root?
The Workforce Wellness team is hosting the first Refreshed Lunch & Learn Tuesday, noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 22, at the Austin Public Library. The team is offering an intentional time set apart for employers and business professionals to work together, discovering some of the root challenges that cause absenteeism, decrease productivity and increase health care costs. Those who attend the Lunch and Learn will brainstorm with others to not only identify root challenges but begin the process of creating solutions, that are effective, low cost and meaningful to the employees.
The Refreshed Lunch & Learn on Tuesday, Oct. 22 will be addressing the challenge of communicating health and wellness topics to employees in ways that engage them. By processing together we hope to develop sensible solutions that can become part of the best practices in promoting wellness at work in Mower County.
If the Refreshed Lunch & Learn this month is valuable for participants, the Workforce Wellness team will sponsor future lunch events. Thanks to John Brown, Comprehensive Care Services for sponsoring this first lunch.