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Banana Anyone? Lessons In Workplace Wellness

Banana Anyone? Lessons In Workplace Wellness

This week I went to a CECC seminar on “energising your workforce”.  There were a variety of speakers and statistics but one particular topic really caught my attention.

Brad Norris from Synergy Health spoke passionately about the importance of businesses committing to supporting the wellness of their staff.

The statistics are compelling. For every $1 spent on wellness the ROI is fivefold.  Putting the money aside though, I agree with Brad that we have a responsibility to look after the people who choose to work alongside us every day.  Apart from being a “good thing to do” it is one tool that drives employee engagement. “The organisation I work for cares about me and my colleagues.”

After the session, I sat down and made a list of what we do as a business in the area of wellness.  We do all sorts of things – flu injections, a never ending fruit basket, daily breakfast, access and support of EAP services, ergonomic assessments to name a few.  Not too bad for a small business.

Feeling pretty upbeat I decided to poll the Lemons.  I asked “do you think we are committed to your health and wellbeing?”  The results were interesting.  Some thought we were outstanding, some less than average.

I think there are a couple of key lessons in this:

1. You should never make an assumption that you know what your people need in this area

Did I ever poll the team and ask them what areas of health and wellness are a real concern?  Or did I just assume that that my ideas were pretty good?

The ideas probably aren’t bad, but perhaps the team have more pressing issues?  Maybe budgeting and stress and help with insurance advice are important in post-quake CHCH, than a banana (or two)?

The lesson here for me is to engage the team more, poll them on what they think are the areas of real importance. Maybe even offer online health checks so that you can give them a real benchmark to draw their own conclusions.  Once you’ve got the data, you can form an opinion and then put a formal plan in place to help meet their REAL needs.

2. How you communicate what you are doing in your business is as important as the actions themselves.

Often we go to great pains to communicate a decision at the time we make it.  “We’re putting on breakfasts because we’re aware that you’re driving extra distances to our post-quake office.  We want to ensure that you get the day off to a good start.”

As staff depart and new staff arrive, some of your intent can be lost.  It’s important that the message “lives on” in an organisation.  Your induction process, your intranet are both great tools for sharing your thinking behind some of these initiatives.

As CEOs we focus so heavily on building an external brand, ensuring our customers know what we stand for. Understand why we do, what we do. In our case we go to great lengths to ensure that our clients know that we will only build them a digital presence that will “matter” to them and their users. We work hard to make sure that this message is consistent. That every client, whether they join us now or in 6 months, has that shared experience.

We need to put the same effort into ensuring that our other clients, the internal ones, have a common understanding of the decisions of the past.

Living and breathing your organisation values and purpose is the core means of doing this but this week I’ve decided we need to develop an internal brand – one that talks to our internal clients.

Every week this job teaches me something new…

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Christchurch, Canterbury 8013