For the most part, workplace morale and culture is governed by workplace health. Think about it, we all know we are happier and more productive when we are fit and eating healthy foods, its a proven fact. So if we improve the health of our staff we improve our bottom line right? You would think so. If we all know this to be true, then why does it seem that not all businesses look to implement health initiatives into their workplace? What do companies have to lose?
From past experiences it would be fair to say that a lot of companies refrain from heavily investing into workplace health initiatives, due to their lack of consistency in achieving consistent returns on investment. There are just too many variables that can dramatically impact on the measurables. Ranging from: lack of leadership and application of the chosen program, right through to poorly presented material and initiatives that don’t address the issues relevant to your workplace. The biggest factor though, it would be fair to say, is the lack of follow through from staff.
The ultimate success of any health initiative, comes down to how consistently and effectively the staff retain the information and then apply it. No one can be forced to do anything they don’t want to do, so in order to change staff culture and lifestyle habits, it truly is a war of attrition. It cannot be just a ‘once off’ approach. One exercise class, one seminar or one health screen check, will not change the majority, it may change one or two, but to change the majority requires several things:
-A strong leader who knows the importance of health and who is prepared to place that at the top of their values list, to set the precedent for their employees to follow.
-Consistent exposure to information and education on healthy mindset, eating and exercise.
-Consistency in routine eg. scheduling in permanent staff exercise classes weekly.
-A preparedness to change eg. perhaps only healthy food items are sold at the staff canteen.
-And lastly, each individual establishing a strong enough reason ‘why’ they want to improve their health.
There is no ‘silver bullet’ to improve staff health. Long term improvements to staff lifestyle habits requires attention not just to exercise and eating habits but to that of their mindset too. It is a three pronged attack and if you miss out on one element, then you limit the overall effectiveness of any given health initiative. If a health initiative comes your way and it’s not inclusive of all 3 of these elements, then I would strongly suggest finding one that does. The improvement of staff health, motivation and culture, starts and ends with effective leadership. It is the person at the helm that governs where their crew, their team, their staff ends up. The question that we need to continue to ask ourselves is: Is our team worth the effort? And there in lies your compelling reason ‘why’ to do something about it.