Wellness Delivered Blog
Employee Wellness: “Win-Win” at its best
A “Win-Win” is a situation or agreement that is advantageous to all parties involved. While brainstorming real-world examples of win-win, the first instance that pops into mind is the mutually beneficial collaboration between the clownfish and certain types of sea anemone – one of the most well-known symbiotic relationships in nature.
Clownfish, also referred to as anemonefish, are able to live in sea anemones and enjoy protection from predators because only the clownfish (and certain damselfish) do not get stung by the poison in the sea anemones’ tentacles. In addition to the protection, the clownfish also get the leftover food that the anemone does not consume. This is obviously very advantageous for the clownfish, but the sweet deal is not one-sided.
The hosting anemone benefit greatly from the presence of the clownfish. The residing clownfish eat or chase away parasites that feed on anemones. They also clean away algae growth on the anemone, increase the water circulation around the anemone, and possibly lure small prey to the anemone with their bright colors.
The clownfish’s secret to living among the sea anemone without getting stung is in the slimy covering on its skin. Other fish don’t have this type of covering and are unprotected from the anemones’ poison.
Scientific observation has clearly shown that the clownfish and sea anemone help each other survive better in the ocean as a result of their symbiosis. Quite similarly, extensive research and experience have proved employee wellness programs to be a key to enhancing the “win-win” in employer-employee relationships.
A worksite wellness program is an investment in two futures – that of the employee and the entire organization. When an employer sets out to improve the health of his or her employees with a well-designed wellness program, the organization itself will also experience improved health. Even though the weight loss incentives, smoking cessation classes and health fairs are specifically designed to improve employee health, the initiatives help the health organization as well.
The ways in which employees benefit from health screenings, exercise incentives, cooking classes and wellness coaching are very evident:
- Increased awareness of potential health risks
- Practical tools and strategies for successful lifestyles
- Convenient and confidential support for positive changes
- Lowered risks of disease
- Increased well-being, self-esteem and self-image
- Increased job satisfaction
- Higher quality of life
But what is less obvious is how employers benefit from wellness programs. The investment (wellness programs) that employers put into their greatest assets (employees) tends to have a high return:
“Medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.” 1
In addition to cutting costs and saving money with wellness programs, employers can also expect to see:
- Enhanced retention of healthy employees (healthy employees can serve the company longer)
- Enhanced recruitment (people like working for companies that are known for taking good care of their employees)
- Reduced absenteeism (healthy employees need less sick time)
- Reduced presenteeism (healthy employees are more alert, energetic and focused)
- Increased employee productivity (healthy employees can work more efficiently than sick employees)
- Decreased rates of illness and injuries (a healthy workplace reduces employees’ need for health care)
- Improved employee satisfaction (employees enjoy a healthier body and workplace)
It is clear that employee wellness is a powerful tool for employers to enhance win-win in their company. Just as the clown fishes’ special slimy coating enables them to reside safely in the sea anemone, the worksite wellness program enables employees to work healthfully and productively in the workplace.
How is your company’s “win-win”? Contact me at Wellness Delivered for a free onsite consultation to discuss how a well-designed employee wellness program can increase the “win-win” for your company.
Employee Wellness Coordinator
1 Baicker, Katherine, David Cutler, and Zirui Song. "Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings." Health Affairs 29.2 (2010): 304-11.
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More than Willpower
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, conducted a study on 700 volunteers that tested their success in achieving their varying types of New Year’s resolutions. His study found that 78% of them failed to stick with their resolution. That means only 22% of the resolutions were successful.
The difference between resolutions that stick and failed ones is in the type of planning involved. Goals without well-devised plans to achieve them are like ropes of sand. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Here are some ways to make your 2013 goals more successful than ever before:
Make S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, Time-bound. Here’s how it could look:
“I will ride the stationary bike at the gym for 30 minutes on resistance level 8 while talking with Linda or listening to an audio book, 3 times per week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, to lose 8 pounds by March. Then I will review and modify my goal.”
Involve others. Find a buddy to achieve your goal with. Tell your close friends or family about your goal and ask for their support. Accountability greatly increases probability of success.
Break it into steps. Avoid focusing on an outcome that is currently far from reach. Break up your objectives into small steps (achievable within 1 to 3 months), chart your progress, and give yourself a small reward after achieving each step.
Prepare for obstacles. Have some “plan-b’s” ready to meet obstacles that could arise.
Enjoy it. Focus on the benefits of your new resolution, not on what you are missing out on. Add things to your routine that make it more enjoyable, like: music, friends, and variety.
Expect setbacks. Don’t beat yourself up over returning to an old behavior. Treat the failure as a temporary set-back, not as a reason to throw in the towel.
Tackle one resolution at a time. Your chances of success are greater when you channel your energies on one new behavior at a time.
Go and conquer. “You can't plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)
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