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What To Believe About Employee Wellness By Ginger Hill

Employee Wellness:  What do you believe and what do they need?

Everything we do starts with what we believe.

What do you believe about the role of your organization in supporting employee health and wellness?  What do you believe about what your employees need?

What do you believe?

From a biblical standpoint, King Solomon gives wise advice for the leader of any endeavor in Proverbs 27:23-24 (NIV):

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,

give careful attention to your herds;

for riches do not endure forever,

and a crown is not secure for all generations.

In other words, present success does not guarantee future success, so be vigilant to pay attention to the welfare of what God has entrusted to you to support your livelihood and the fulfillment of your God-given mission.  For most organizations, employees are a primary asset that serves and supports an organization’s mission.

From a business standpoint, almost every leader would rightly say that they believe it is in the organization’s best interest to support employee wellness.  And the research backs up the benefits of employee wellness initiatives.  Consider this small sampling of statistics:

Recruitment/Retention

Over half of employees representing the GenZ and Millennials generations consider employee wellness programs as an important factor in job decisions.

Productivity/Presenteeism

Employees that eat an unhealthy diet and don’t exercise much are 66% and 50% more likely to be high in presenteeism, respectively.

Engagement

Employees who feel their physical/psychological health is positively impacted by their work are more engaged in their work than employees who feel that their work lives have a negative impact on their health.

What do your employees need?

When it comes to supporting employee wellness, organizations typically consider the following three approaches based on their beliefs about what employees need.

Wellness is Optional

Employees need available resources!

Belief:  Employee wellness is a matter of personal responsibility.  After all, aren’t we all responsible for making wise choices and facing the consequences of the choices we make?

Approach:  Employers select and provide employees with a benefit package that is communicated to them once a year at the time of open enrollment. Employees use their benefits optionally and as needed.

Wellness is Transactional

Employees need rewards!

Belief: Employee wellness is a personal responsibility, but sometimes employees need a little motivation to put their good intentions into action.  After all, don’t we all sometimes need a little “help” to do what we know we should do?

Approach:  Employers offer some type of incentive or reward for employees achieving a goal, such as participation in a program and/or achievement of a specific health-related outcome.

Wellness is Relational

Employees need a supportive culture and community.

Belief:  Employee wellness is a personal and organizational responsibility because the anatomy of a personal choice is not as simple as it seems.  After all, aren’t all of our choices driven by many factors besides just me, myself, and I?

Approach: Employers work with employees to co-create a supportive wellness culture and community within the workplace.

Each of these approaches has benefits and a good employee wellness program addresses all three.

But from my experience as an employee wellness coach and manager, I’ve seen that many organizations spend large amounts of money on employee wellness and never get to the third, and I would argue the most important, approach to employee wellness – making it relational!

That means listening to employees and working with them to co-create a supportive wellness culture that makes it easier for them to make healthy choices.

Why is this important? 

Because culture matters!

According to “The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century,” report by the Institute of Medicine,

” It is unreasonable to expect that people will change their behavior easily when so many forces in the social, cultural, and physical environment conspire against such change.”

“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,

give careful attention to your herds;”

As a leader, do you believe that employee wellness is, in part, an organizational responsibility?

As a leader, have you taken the time to find out what your employees need?  Have you listened to them and, with them, co-created a positive workplace wellness culture that supports the welfare of one of your most valuable assets – your employees?

Sources:

Win with Wellness- Attract and Retain Talent – Forbes, 2018

Wellness Impacts Employee Presenteeism, UBF

Engagement Keeps the Doctor Away, Gallup

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221239/

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Ginger Hill is a Christian wellness speaker, coach and consultant and the founder of Good Health for Good Works where she helps the earnest, but often exhausted, workers in Christian organizations to take steps toward healthier living so they can serve with energy, excellence, and endurance.

 

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