What Exactly is Corporate Wellness?
The other day someone asked me “What exactly is corporate wellness?” It occurred to me that many people might not know and be curious about just what exactly corporate wellness entails, why does it matter and how can your organization achieve it?
Why Corporate Wellness Matters:
If you own a business or work for a business, which includes most people, then corporate wellness affects you. According to the US Department of Labor, people spend 7.6 hours a day working. This translates to approximately 48% of our waking hours being spent at work. Given this, the environment in which we work can have a profound effect on the rest of our lives and on our general sense of well being. Wellness is fundamental to being a healthy high performer and having a successful organization.
What is Wellness?
Wellness is defined by the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual status of each person; i.e. a healthy body, an alert mind, a balanced emotional nature and an inner essential presence. One’s behavior is a manifestation of her wellness at that given moment. On an organizational level wellness is measured by examining these manifestations of behavior as they relate to such dimensions as motivation, communication, leadership styles, conflict management, morale, inclusion, and how well individuals work together.
What Does a Corporate Wellness Consultant Do?
By measuring and helping to change behavior, corporate wellness consultants enable individuals to review and enhance their strengths and potential to grow, innovate, and excel in performance. Any dysfunctional (unwell) behavior such as bullying, aggression, ineffective communication, poor leadership, and symptoms such as anxiety, poor team work, lack of confidence, and low morale are addressed. Through their interventions, corporate wellness consultants contribute to the creation of a healthy, successful, high performing corporate culture.
Corporate Wellness Affects Your Bottom Line:
The costs of poor corporate health are great, both financially and emotionally. Corporate health and unhealthiness commonly manifest in the areas of:
3) Team Work
4) Conflict Management
Healthy effective leadership can decrease organizational erosion caused by conflict and poor communication and steer an organization toward its Vision of Success.
Unhealthy and ineffective leadership can create serious consequences such as:
· Reduced productivity
· Increased supervision overhead
· Excessive employee turnover
· Increased stress
· Low morale
· Decreased customer satisfaction
· Damaged management credibility and distrust
A reduction in productivity of those in conflict is one of the more serious consequences of unhealthy communication. A 25% loss of productivity e.g. doing things to get out of the area of conflict or tension reduces an average work-week to fewer than 20 hours. One of the key foundations of any successful workplace is being able to use healthy and effective communication.
Healthy communication can help people:
· Receive and share information better
· Define and understand goals
· Avoid the negative effects of conflict and confusion
· Build rapport and enhance relationships
· Promote self-confidence
· Have a positive overall effect on the working environment
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision…the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” (Andrew Carnegie) Unfortunately unhealthy corporations do not understand how to develop an effective working team. This is often reflected in a lack of productivity and in high levels of conflict.
The monetary as well as the emotional costs of conflict are great. Unfortunately many unhealthy organizations suffer chronic patterns of unresolved conflict that are costly and often symptomatic of serious organizational dysfunction. Some experts believe that unresolved conflict represents the largest “reducible cost” in many businesses.
Addressing conflict and creating a harmonious work environment should be viewed as an important element in achieving organizational well being, effectiveness, and enhancing productivity.
Low morale, a common symptom of poor organizational health, due to stress and other issues can destroy your business. In fact according to the American Institute of Stress (2004), stress and burnout-related absenteeism, tardiness, low productivity, and job turnover cost American companies over $300 billion annually.
So What Does a Healthy Corporation Look Like?
A healthy corporation has a healthy “high performance” culture.
Healthy high performers:
· Have genuine positive attitudes and high motivational levels
· Bring all of themselves to work and give their best
· Communicate clearly, cooperate and encourage team members, and know how to resolve conflicts
· Display a high degree of wellness and performance especially under pressure
· Stand up for their own views but never trample others; they are innovative because they recognize that their human capacity to perform is great.
Research shows that healthy high performers have a significant influence on an organization’s success. Addressing corporate well being as it is manifested in the areas above will lead to the creation of a healthy high performance culture. Healthy corporations create healthy high performing workers. Having high performers just makes good business sense.