The Well-Being Journal

National Employee Wellness Month

Jennifer Rudloff

The third annual National Employee Wellness Month (NEWM) kicked off on June 1st nationwide in an effort to promote existing healthy living programs and share successful strategies for corporate health initiatives. NEWM gives employers a great opportunity to jumpstart or enhance your company’s well-being programs and maybe even try out some new initiatives. If properly administered, these programs will not only have the potential to lower healthcare costs, but they will also ultimately create happier, healthier and better performing employees.

As a proud sponsor of NEWM, Healthways is implementing our own initiatives to improve our employees’ well-being on a number of levels, and encourage everyone to be healthy and social. Here are a few of the things we’ve put in place.

  • Fitness classes: We are offering our colleagues a variety of fitness classes on site to fit their schedules. They can choose to exercise before work, at lunch, or at the end of the workday.
  • ‘Workout Wednesdays,’ allow and encourage employees to wear workout gear to the office to help remove some of the barriers to exercise. We also offer additional fitness classes on these days and encourage group walks.
  • Walking workstations: our employees can get away from their desks and get moving by working from one of our walking work station treadmills.
  • Healthier and Fresher Food: In addition to providing healthy options in our Café, we’ve also startedan herb garden on site which our chef can pull from, and we offer a weekly farmers market for employees to get fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • We offer Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes to employees to help them better manage their stress.
  • All of our many web-based, telephonic coaching, and disease management programs are available to our colleagues, just going to show it is so good we eat our own cooking
  • Company sports leagues: We help employees form teams for local sports leagues. Employees often gather together at lunch to practice in the courtyard.

In addition to our own workplace initiatives, we have launched Healthways|Blue Zones Vitality Cities, a community-wide well-being improvement initiative in the Southern California’s Beach City Health District. Read more about what we’re doing to help communities.

When talking about workplace well-being initiatives, it’s important to note that success often requires a cultural shift that starts with leadership but is accepted at all levels of the organization. As discussed in a previous post, “wellbeing is highly valued by employees and a key driver in their level of job satisfaction, loyalty and motivation.” A new study finds a disconnect between employers and employees regarding wellness initiatives. The report found that 42 percent of employees say that their bosses do not look out for their physical health enough, while only 14 percent of management thinks the same. National Employee Wellness Month provides a wonderful opportunity for employers to open up a dialogue about well-being with their employees and renew their commitment to wellness in the eyes of their people.

**NOTE: Healthways was recently chosen to be one of Baltimore’s Healthiest Employers by the Baltimore Business Journal. To read about some of the initiatives that helped land us on this list, click here >>

What are some well-being initiatives you are thinking of or already have in place? What kind of wellness initiatives would you like to see implemented within your organization?

Topics: Well-Being Company Workplace Well-Being Healthcare Business Performance Health Competitive Advantage Prevention wellbeing and health How to Improve Employee Performance Health in the Workplace National Employee Wellness Month Wellness Healthways Employee Performance Improvement

Employers and Employees at Odds about Wellbeing, Study Finds

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Well-being Wire by MeYou Health

Bosses may be overestimating their perceived attention to employees’ well-being, a new British study finds.

Researchers found that 42 percent of employees say that their bosses do not look out for their physical health enough, while only 14 percent of management thinks the same, InspiresMe reported June 6. Similarly, 50 percent of employees think their employers fail to support their emotional well-being, but only 13 percent of employers concur.

In workplaces where a large majority of employees feel their employers care about them a great deal, however, most workers describe themselves as “loyal” to their jobs, the study finds.

“We believe employers who address physical, emotional and financial health and wellbeing could improve engagement and ultimately the productivity of their people,” says James Glover, director of Simplyhealth,which released the study (PDF). “Wellbeing is highly valued by employees and a key driver in their level of job satisfaction, loyalty and motivation. If employers fail to communicate that they care, they could lose talented people as soon as the job market starts to recover.”

Reader Question: Does your employer look out for your well-being?

Topics: Business Performance Competitive Advantage

Does your company have a Chief Well-Being Officer?

Jennifer Rudloff

When people ask me about my job, the description is often met with surprise. Chief Well-Being Officer is not a common position in today’s C-Suite – and I think that’s a mistake. I can think back to a time not that long ago when the concept of a Chief Technology Officer was foreign; thought to be a “creative” title commissioned only by the Googles and Sun Microsystems of the world. Yet today, the absence of a CTO is almost unthinkable.

I challenge companies to think differently about the health of their employees, their most valuable asset. Research shows that employee well-being can play a key role in establishing a competitive business advantage. For instance, while 30 percent of a company’s healthcare spend is linked to medical care and pharmaceutical costs, the remaining 70 percent is spent on health-related costs associated with worker productivity (Spector, Bruce. The Cost of Absenteeism in the Workplace. Nov. 1, 2010. www.employersweb.com.). The research also demonstrates that companies with effective health and productivity programs generate more revenue per employee, attain a higher market value and generate higher shareholder returns.

The impact doesn’t just positively hit a company’s bottom line ... you must take into consideration the top-line benefits that coincide with a focus on well-being. Employers that focus on prevention, provide value-added benefits and demonstrate that they care about their employees’ physical and emotional needs are more likely to attract and retain top talent. They are also more likely to earn and maintain employee trust and foster a productive environment through a high performing, engaged workforce. Bottom line: these companies are more likely to succeed.

The job of a Chief Well-Being Officer is to focus on how employees can be impacted at work, at home and in the community and how this impact can improve the overall business performance.

At Healthways, we understand the importance and value of maintaining happy and healthy employees.

Yes, happy employees are good for business ... just ask the Chief Well-Being Officer.

Topics: Strategies and Comparative Advantage Business Performance Competitive Advantage Prevention Motivation How to Improve Employee Performance Employee Performance Improvement