No one is ever prepared to receive a terminal diagnosis, and for me it was no different. While my body tried to warn me well in advance, I was too busy succeeding in my executive role, being a mom and catering to everyone and everything. The scariest part of it all is that I never saw it coming. Maybe you have been through something similar and understand what it means to keep up with the daily grind all in the name of achieving your goals. Only to later realize that it came with great sacrifice.
It’s amazing that nearly 80% of businesses with greater than 200 employees have a wellness program in place. Yet medical claims and disease are on the rise; young people are experiencing auto immune disease, fatigue and anxiety and chronic illness accounts for a large part of medical expenditures. Something isn’t adding up; a wellness program should be creating a healthier workforce, and in time provide a savings for the organization. So why isn’t this the case?
Wellness programming is being done all wrong.
One of the biggest lessons I learned through my health journey was that in order for me to change the course I was on and achieve health, I would need to participate differently and make new choices. This was the biggest step in my whole journey because it set a new course and provided momentum. And it all started with a shift in mindset . . . a shift in perspective.
This is exactly what is needed to move from a wellness program to creating a wellness movement. To achieve health, we must assess current habits, explore the root cause of disease in the body, and find new ways to participate in life. The 30-day weight loss challenges, walking contests and quarterly lunch-n-learns aren’t going to get you there. Instead, you’ll want to execute on the four A’s to shift perspective, change culture and create a wellness movement.
The Four As:
ASSESS: You’ve got to know where you’re starting so that you can create a well-rounded program that addresses the key issues of your team. In our consulting we investigate every nook and cranny; biometric testing, subjective feedback, focus groups, assess your chronic disease claims and look at medical claims too. Your insurance carriers will sometimes share where you are versus their book of business. Please don’t get caught up in this; it doesn’t matter where you are compared to another organization; it matters where your people are today, where you want them to be in the future, and how you plan to get there.
ATTAIN: The success of a wellness movement depends on the permission your team is given to invest in themselves as they invest in the success of your organization. It begins with buy-in; when executives lead the way, management will follow. There’s often a disconnect when employees are given verbal permission to take part in wellness offerings, but don’t feel they have true permission to act because management frowns upon it. Lead the charge, walk the walk, and encourage your management team to do the same. Employees will engage when they see this modeled for them and feel as they have full permission to follow suit. As a result, you’ll see a rise in presenteeism, productivity and overall morale and that impacts every bit of the bottom line.
ACTION: Be strategic with the plan, and please don’t throw spaghetti against the wall and hope that it sticks. Create well-rounded offerings that reach every employee, shift perspective and teach strategies that address the root cause of disease. Four areas to explore are nutrition, movement, emotional health and stress management. Health goals are achieved when individuals are provided the guidance, space and support to create healthy habits and participate in a new way. Once this happens, the organization will begin to see a return on investment. Otherwise, it’s just one 30-day challenge after the next. Health happens when we consistently and consciously invest in it every day.
ACCOUNTABILITY: This may seem elementary, but we’ve seen it all too often . . . please track your spending and know how your investment is impacting your end goal. Participation-based incentives are very helpful with engagement. Track participation, know where your money is going and be sure to look at ROI and VOI (value on investment) when assessing the success of your wellness offerings.
There is no greater gift you could offer yourself, your team and your business than the gift of health.
Speaker, author and coach Angela Gaffney regularly inspires audiences of every kind on the importance of balance in your life. You can reach her at www.AngelaGaffney.com.