Companies that take the time and effort to implement a successful Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) see the benefits in their employees and their bottom line. In fact, research has proven a compelling financial savings that EWPs have for companies – and they are substantial.So, it makes sense to ensure that your EWP does what it intends – promote wellness. No matter what initiatives are in your EWP, they need to meet two criteria a) suit the culture and characteristics of the company, and b) not be too costly to implement and so be rejected. One intervention that cuts across business size, sector and culture lines is screening for health risks and should be part of every EWP. Of course this will differ from company to company – a large business is more likely to be able to afford to set up a clinic on the premises, while a very small business would need to find more innovative ways to implement similar wellness interventions. A partnership between the medical scheme and a service provider like LifeAssist can make it more affordable. South Africa’s burden of disease for working age adults Two South African research institutes, the Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa and the Burden of Disease Research Unit, presented a paper on the country’s burden of disease called ‘Non-communicable diseases: A race against time’ which found that the incidence of lifestyle related disease, and non-communicable diseases, are rising rapidly:
- Rates of hypertension have increased dramatically over the last 10 years
- Similarly, diabetes and high cholesterol is also rising
- We are less active and eating more. 70% of South African women over 35 are over-weight or obese
- So it’s likely we will start seeing more strokes and heart attacks.
- some very basic but negative behaviours must change – this includes reducing smoking and drinking, increasing levels of exercise, and improving diet
- and everyone over 30 should get their blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure tested every five years at least
- Small business – communicate the importance of screening to all employees. Create pamphlets or use company meetings or communications to encourage people to go for screening. Set out the minimum screening tests like blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. And if possible, list the private and public clinics nearby who can do the testing.
- Medium size businesses – implement the above and also offer some on-site or sponsored testing services. For instance, take note of when government may be having a health drive in your area (for example, heart week may be promoted with blood pressure testing at clinics nearby). Then either offer your work site as a place where testing can take place, or arrange for a nurse to come test employees if they choose, or join up with other businesses in the area to reduce costs of screening tests.
- Large companies – both of the above plus use the business’s collective negotiating power to negotiate with health service providers to come on site and offer screening tests.
At the core of any effectively functioning team is an ability to communicate effectively. Effective communication is frequently misunderstood to mean that you should say what you’re feeling or thinking, when you’re thinking it or feeling it, and let the other person just deal with it. Or, hold it in until you’re ready to explode, and then explode all over everyone. Well, needless to say, neither of these represent effective communication.What is effective communication? Effective communication is any communication where meaning is exchanged, people are treated with respect and some value is created. Exchanging meaning To exchange “meaning”, move away from pronouncements such as “that won’t work”. Rather say, “I think that won’t work. Have you considered this?” Drop emotionally charged terms such as “that’s just stupid!” and move toward terms that have contextual meaning: “I think that won’t work, given the goals of the project. What do you think?” Whether or not someone has earned your respect is separate from how you behave toward him or her. Your behaviour, which includes your words and facial expressions, should always be respectful. Show respect I have a good friend who says, “Just tell me, give it to me straight, and I won’t take it personally”. Most people are not like that, so when he treats people the way he’d like to be treated (following the Golden Rule), they feel offended and insulted. By the same token, he doesn’t really understand how others like to be treated (the Platinum Rule), and to a certain extent he doesn’t care, so he still treats them the way he’d like to be treated, because he assumes that they’re like him. However, that’s not effective communication. It doesn’t include treating others with respect. Create value Creating value means that at the end of each exchange, there must be more there between you, rather than less. There should be more understanding, learning and camaraderie. Everything you say and do reveals your feelings, your motivations, your reactions. I believe that the statements:”He made me angry” and “She hurt my feelings” are false. No one is responsible for your feelings and behaviour but you. But by the same token, while you are not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or behaviour, you still have a responsibility to be aware of other people and what leads them to feel certain ways. Sources www.desiclub.com www.stevenlist.com/blog www.wikihow.com
The popular saying, “there is no ‘i’ in team”, implies that team members have to work effectively together and that every team member should understand his or her role as part of the team to achieve good results.
“Positive leaders manage their organisations more effectively. They create a positive environment by focusing on challenges and opportunities; not problems. They express acknowledgment and genuine, heartfelt appreciation for work well done. This creates trust, lowers stress levels and increases productivity.”Leonardi argues in an article in Business Week that leaders who focus on employee strengths, praise, link rewards to performance results, help employees become better self-managers and maintain a cheerful, positive and optimistic attitude, regardless of what is happening, manage the bad times much better. She mentions research shows that people with higher levels of wellbeing and, thus, positive emotion are:
- More focused and engaged at work;
- Better team players;
- More creative;
- Better at problem solving; and
- More motivated, healthier and better performers.
- Practice gratitude and positive thinking;
- Cultivate optimism – find the silver lining;
- Take your mind off comparing yourself to others;
- Practice acts of kindness;
- Nurture social relationships and invest in social connections;
- Develop a strategy for tragedy;
- Forgive – be willing to let go of past hurt;
- Increase flow experiences (being in the zone);
- Savour the joys of life;
- Commit to goals;
- Practice spirituality; and
- Take care of your soul and your body: Exercise, meditate and act happy.
by Christine Leonardi