Last Friday morning the Puget Sound Business Journal hosted 2 panels of corporate leaders who shared their best practices for implementing wellness in their organizations. The topics of conversation were interesting and relevant to wellness. In that respect alone I believe the event was a success. The idea that good wellness programs enhance employee engagement, which drives performance and positive culture change came across well.
But even beyond the conversations, if you look at the event in its entirety there is more to see I think. The event wasn’t just full of HR and other wellness implementers. There were many dissimilar types of exhibitor booths and the people present represented a large number of wellness products and services. In a sense the event was also an indicator of the current state of corporate wellness itself.
This begs the question: What are some of the messages, ideas, and trends represented at the event that are influencing corporate wellness? Below are a few of the most prominent messages or trends I noticed:
- Don’t wait; get started or continue work on wellness! Whether just or unjust business needs to shoulder the responsibility for helping its workforce be well and productive. Double-digit growth in healthcare costs and wellness related impacts on productivity have conspired with a long-term decline in the American wellness culture. Business needs healthy, engaged people to compete and grow. Acting effectively does creates a substantial return on investment over time. One panelist (a CEO) went as far as to say you need to act regardless of whether you can measure ROI because the full return to your business may not be fully measureable.
- Workplace wellness is a culture change. Engagement and results come through inviting the workforce to co-create an interactive community supporting wellness. Successful wellness programs are highly customized to the needs, situation, and desires of the workforce. Community is the fertilizer that grows the plant of wellness. Better community drives better results and better culture. For health and business productivity.
- Successful wellness programs are holistic. Programs need to be holistic because the nature of wellness itself is holistic. Habits of mind and life can and do create physiological changes in our bodies and vice-versa. Employees engaged in studying emotional IQ, doing community service, or getting help with their 401k investments are doing valid activities. Just as valid as the next Fitbit challenge.
- The influx of products and services looking to capture a piece of the corporate wellness budget seems enormous. Beware leaders, it looks a little like the homesteading land-grab of the old west. You will need to create simplicity and progression based on real needs.
- The world of preventative and personalized healthcare is growing and impacting corporate wellness. The fact that 70% or more of chronic disease risk can be mitigated through lifestyle change and quality preventative care is something the corporate wellness world is taking note of. It’s about practitioners getting to know the whole person and their needs. This allows them to help their patients prevent problems and prioritize care. Wellness leaders are already in action implementing this kind of care. An example of onsite preventative care provided to Children’s Hospital by Vera Whole Health was cited in the panel discussion.
The conversation was rich and the time well used but certainly there were topics needing coverage. Maybe at the next wellness event? Here are some topics I view as important going forward:
- What is the executive leader’s role in initiating and supporting wellness? How do they effectively prepare themselves and their leadership team? How do they set or reset the vision?
- How do leaders co-create solutions with their workforce? What guides the conversation? Are there tools and techniques to help?
- What are wellness program pre-requisites? Is the business prepared for a long-term wellness initiative? What do they need to know or do before launch? If they have launched how do they assess performance?
- If the goal of wellness is long-term integrated lifestyle change, what are the guiding principles, processes, and tools needed to keep on track for the long haul?
Final thought… Physical wellness drives engagement. At the same time healthy engagement drives physical health. We should work to align physical wellness, quality of relationship, and quality of the work environment for best results.
Comments always welcome,