HR Management

Will ‘Mental Minefields’ Blow up Your Corporate Wellness Program?

Our last issue talked about how “mental minefields,” as defined by the consultant McKinsey & Company, erode corporate health and prevent sustained growth. Let’s see if those minefields attack wellness efforts as well.

Yesterday’s Advisor detailed five factors spelled out by consultant McKinsey & Company that foster “corporate health” (sustained growth) and three “mental minefields” that drag it down. Today, as promised, we’ll see if the same traps also drag down a corporate wellness program.

1. The Mindfulness Trap. (When managers truly committed to long-term performance get pulled back into short-term performance by the “press of daily business.”) Many feel this applies to wellness when people say, “I walk/run/swim/work out every day, but today I don’t have time, I’m too busy.”

2. The Cognitive Trap. (When you reason your way into short-term perspective by thinking, “I can’t deal with vague future issues when I have concrete current issues on my plate.”) Wellness version: “I’ll stay on my diet over time, so this little bit won’t hurt.”

3. The “Self-Knowledge Trap.” (When people don’t actually do what they think or say they do.) This would be someone who announces he or she is on a diet but keeps reaching for the doughnuts, or the new nonsmoker who takes “just a few puffs.”

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A well-structured wellness program anticipates these “minefields.” It provides structure and a rationale that keeps participants’ eyes on the prize and returns constant feedback in terms of measurement of results. It also has another, more tangible return … about 347 percent on the company’s investment, according to recent studies of organizations that have implemented these programs.

You say you don’t have a wellness program or think yours might have some traps of its own? Many of our readers have found the answers they need to set up or improve their programs in BLR’s new resource, Workplace Wellness: Healthy Employees, Healthy Families, Healthy ROI. The book lays out a clear, 7-step plan for creating and operating a wellness program at your workplace:

1. Find a Wellness Champion Among Senior Management. Likely not difficult, once you explain the human and economic payback and the fact that health insurance costs are jumping 8 percent to 12 percent yearly. (One forecast for the current year predicts a rise of 11.3 percent.) That’s not to mention the fact that nearly every CEO publication we’ve seen recently has an article on wellness! To get the ball rolling, we’ll give you a template that neatly lays out for your senior management the reasons wellness has become the hot trend in the C-Suite.

2. Assess the Current Level of Wellness at Your Workplace. Do this through surveys and checklists that inquire about specific health concerns for your industry and operation. The book provides the forms you need.

3. Create a Customized Operating Plan. This should include a mission statement, goals and timelines, and assigning responsibilities. (The book follows the SMART method … creating a step-by-step plan that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed.)

4. Keep Your Program Legal. You’ll also need to consider how your plan interfaces with HIPAA, ADA, and other laws. The book explains how to stay in compliance, including use of the latest HIPAA revisions that allow you to reward participating employees without violating nondiscrimination statutes.

5. Launch Your Program. Use creativity, according to Workplace Wellness, with measures such as running a contest to name the program and coming up with appropriate rewards. The book suggests many approaches to make wellness fun, and includes detailed direction on how to run a health fair.

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6. Communicate, Educate, Motivate, Empower. Build wellness into your company’s operations and culture, suggests the book. One example: Establish a regular wellness announcement time at department meetings. Also suggested: Create maximum empowerment by letting employees run the program as much as possible.

7. Measure, Assess, and Adjust. There are numerous metrics to show how well your program is working, from improvements in absentee rates and health insurance premiums to changes in weight and cholesterol. The book provides a full set of assessment tools.

If you’d like to examine Workplace Wellness: Healthy Employees, Healthy Families, Healthy ROI on a no-cost, no-obligation basis for 30 days, we’ve arranged for you to do so. Click here and we’ll be happy to set it up.

Better Health, Better Bottom Line
Studies show you can have both with a well-planned wellness program. Now BLR has a brand new, complete guide to help you easily set one up and achieve both a healthier workforce and an ROI that could exceed 300 percent! Try it for 30 days! Learn more