Putting together a great workplace wellness newsletter can be simple, fun, inexpensive, and rewarding. Follow these 5 tips and your newsletter will be the talk of the town: Tip #1: Produce an annual Editorial Schedule. Think about seasons-of-the-year, seasons-of-life, local events, and local resources. Organize your subject possibilities into distinct departments. For example, we use…
We should thank our lucky stars that President John F. Kennedy wasn’t a former workplace wellness expert. If he was, back on May 25, 1961, he would have challenged the nation, “…to set up a certification program that follows best practices in getting a U.S. space satellite program up and running to slow the rising cost of communications.”
But that’s not what he said. He was inspirational. Instead, he set a national goal of “…landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” by the end of the 1960s. The people needed and wanted to hear that. They wanted to achieve that goal. They wanted to be told they could do it.
If I made a choice that was unfavorable to you, and you belted me over the head with a 4×4 to let me know you were not pleased, it wouldn’t take me long to connect the dots. Even C+ students can be open to suggestion.
The U.S. Government may be about to whack you over the head with a 4×4. If you plan to use HRAs (Health Risk Appraisals), biometric data to single out individuals for intervention, or incentives to influence their health choices, be warned. . .
There were six teacher-coaches who left an enduring impression on me during my undergraduate years at Indiana University (IU), Bloomington (graduated 1979). I took classes each of them taught, and observed and learned from them as coaches. The only way to describe these people is the best-of-the-best.
Here are their brief bios and six health & wellness program tips from me inspired by them, along with a short story on each person:
1. James “Doc” Counsilman: Swimming, won six consecutive NCAA Division I Championships. Olympic Coach 1964 (Tokyo) and 1976 (Montreal), coach of Mark Spitz both at IU and in the Olympics (seven gold medals). Doc was the first to use underwater video to improve a swimmer’s technique. Doc swam the English Channel at age 58. Coached at IU from 1957 to 1990.
Tip − Visualize. I often feel that a general tip, like “get more streamlined in the water,” pulls all the correct techniques together without the swimmer needing to think about each adjustment. Give people a vision, and they’ll find it easier to incorporate all the skills necessary to achieve that vision.
Story: About dealing with athletes’ parents, Doc once said, “the best coaching job in America would be at an orphanage.” There was also a time Coach Knight (basketball) asked Doc to help an IU basketball player improve his vertical jump. Knight told Doc the guy’s vertical jump was about one inch high. Doc said when he got through helping the basketball player, Knight complained the guy’s vertical jump was only 3 inches high. But Doc pointed out that was a 300% improvement!
I am so sick of the chatter about what to incent or not in wellness programming. There are endless discussions about rewarding or penalizing for participation, outcomes, BMI readings, biometric improvement, HIPAA-compliant tactics, etc., ad nauseam.
To wellness managers who want to know the best way to use incentives, the answer is do not use them at all. You’re not running a guinea pig farm.
If you share this warped, Pavlov-ing concept of using incentives to manipulate behavior, you’re not helping anybody.
By now many of us know ROI stands for “Removal of Intuition.” But some of our leading “pointy heads of wellness,” (not you, of course) keep telling us getting ROI data for your wellness program is mission critical − and they mean “Return on Investment.”
I am not buying into the need to demonstrate a need for their definition of ROI at every workplace. Here are a few things that come to mind when I hear the phrase Return on Investment being used with day-to-day practitioners of wellness programs:
1. Difficult: I’d rather take the same amount of time, money, and effort and develop an in-depth knowledge of quantum physics. Or attend an Astrophysics convention for some light entertainment.
Put these 7 negatives about the HOPE Health Letter (HHL) under the light of your inquisitive mind, and you’ll see they become positives.
Here are basically the top 7 reasons a workplace will cancel their subscription to the HHL or not consider purchasing it in the first place:
1. New contact person: When a workplace hires a new wellness manager, vendor, or puts someone new in charge − most of the time those people clean house like a new head coach. Everybody and everything from the existing program goes.
1. Pun Challenged: 53% of employees don’t know what a pun is based on our wild guess. Hope Health’s posters use the advanced method of “intuitive pun application” (ipa). The result. Your employees can enjoy a good pun without knowing what one actually is.
2. Tweet Addicted: Nobody reads anymore. Poster captions are tweet-sized.
3. Don’t Commit – Engage: People can enjoy without any commitment. We just want to be friends, that’s all!
Laughter is a universal language. A place of common ground. Cartoons make us laugh because they allow us to suspend belief and enjoy the preposterous. Humor is the teaspoon of sugar that makes the medicine go down.
“That Barney Rubble, what an actor.”
Night Shift 1982
Cartoons work in health education because they’re. . .
- approachable, non-threatening, and non-judgmental
- familiar — we see ourselves in them
Some of the masters and mavens of big workplace wellness programs are touting their wears to the small business community.
Don’t drink the “Kool-Aid” just yet! They do indeed have some interesting information to share. But like Billy Joel said in his song, only the good die young − “Virginia, they didn’t give you quite enough information. . .”