Workplace Wellness − Two Old Pros Tell Us It’s Time to GET Back to Basics

My friend and workplace wellness expert, Ken Holtyn, has been successfully implementing wellness programs for small and medium-size workplaces for 30 years. He recently told me this about the history of workplace wellness:

“Worksite wellness has stuck its foot in its mouth big time − twice. Once, when in the early days of wellness some bright soul told a company how much money they could save them. And 30 years later we are still trying to prove it!

The Health & Wellness Promotion 2013 Summer Reading Program… Book #1

Book #1: “The Spirit and Science of Holistic Health, More Than Broccoli, Jogging, and Bottled Water… More Than Yoga, Herbs, and Meditation” (2004). By Jon Robison & Karen Carrier.

This is One of My Favorites

I could write an entire white paper on why this book is the best book ever published on wellness. My own paper copy is dog-eared, marked up, stained, and includes hundreds of my own notations. But because the name of our organization is Hope Health, here’s one of my favorite quotes from this book.

The Health & Wellness Promotion 2013 Summer Reading Program… 5 All-Star Book Recommendations from the C+ Student

When people ask me, “What the hell are you smoking, Connors?” I know they really mean, “What are you reading?”

Often a first reaction to a counter-intuitive message is to be angry. Kill the messenger! Somebody talk to him, please! Is this guy nuts? That kind of knee-jerk response is validation that the change process is beginning.  But for change to be sustainable it requires truth, facts, and ideas. The power of words remains a powerful force in shaping the future.

I selected these five books because they do a great job of challenging us to be critical thinkers; these authors lay out the facts, and offer deep insights and workable solutions to seemingly insurmountable national health problems.

Wellness News: Taco and Pizza Consumption Improving the Health of Americans?

I have a long-time friend named, “Taco Dean.” I just started adding the “Taco” part because he discovered the answer to getting Americans healthier while eating a Doritos® Locos Taco. (You can’t make this up!)

It was a brilliant exhibition of editorial dexterity, misdirection, and slight-of-hand. But the trick worked. And now I am happy to report that based on vapor streams, how a handful of dust blows in the wind, and summer cloud formations (standard ROI methodology), we believe America is starting to get healthier as a result of Taco Dean’s article, Wellness Needs A Doritos® Locos Taco. I encourage you to read this masterpiece, reflect on, and then act upon it.

The First Step to Building a Great Health & Wellness Program: Think!

Before you put out an RFP (request for proposal) for an HRA (health risk appraisal), or dive into the new fad called “gamification,” or start scheduling a health fair, or order the pedometers – STOP!

Here are some simple questions you should ask first.

1. What does your organization mean when it uses the term “wellness”? Is there a more appropriate term?

2. How may wellness contribute to your core competencies as an institution?

Workplace Health & Wellness: The 5 Big Myths BUSTED by the Truth! And the Next 6 Steps You Should Take

Some day (hopefully soon) we’ll have a period of capitulation and shed these five myths that have limited our ability to help Americans lead healthier lives.

Myth #1: Wellness programs reduce health-care costs and produce a significant Return on Investment (ROI).

Truth: Programs don’t and can’t because of arithmetic. Those claims of fantastic savings don’t add up and can’t stand up to even my simple math scrutiny. Besides, when the overall population is unhealthy, all those people not working at the healthy workplace create a huge demand for health-care services. You may build an island of healthier people, but the sea of illness surrounding you will raise your costs, too.

A 9 Word Wellness Message That Broke Through

I recently saw a t-shirt on a college-age, female athlete that made me laugh… and then think. Funny how that works, huh? The t-shirt’s message scrawled across her back was, “I work mine off so I can kick yours.”

We can learn a lot from this style of communication:

A. I immediately knew who the joke was on. Me. And it made me laugh.

B. It was a great example of brief and clear communication. No confusion whatsoever.

How Financial Professionals Bet Against Wellness Coaches & Public Health Officials

Boy, oh boy! Where has my head been? Don’t answer that. All these years I, and thousands of other health professionals, have been trying to find ways to get as many people as possible to adopt healthful lifestyles. As it turns out, the smart money has always betted against us.

Financial professionals know that adopting a healthful lifestyle is a very simple, common-sense approach that hasn’t a chance of ever happening with enough people.

Workplace Wellness ROI: A Simple Way to Verify

I am no math genius, but I love simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (+ − X / ).  I call it envelope arithmetic. And it’s a powerful tool to help my C+ intellect grasp various concepts.

When I see a wellness ROI that says, for example, “$5 return for every $1 invested,” I wonder what that actually means? So I pull out my trusty envelope, pen, and calculator (now on my mobile device).

Let’s say there is a “comprehensive” workplace wellness program for 5,000 employees that costs $350 per employee per year. What does the envelope say?

Employee Health & Wellness Newsletters: Do You Make These 5 Critical Errors?

Over the last 30 years, I’ve seen a few great employee wellness newsletters. But truth be told, most of them are terrible. I am in the business of producing employee wellness newsletters so I am a tough reviewer.

Here are the 5 critical errors we regularly see in workplace wellness newsletters:

1. No news: There is no newsworthy content. Many rookie editors of wellness newsletters forget to put “news” in the letter. No local news… no breaking news… no relevant trends. . . no tying content to context.