There’s a lot of talk about workplaces as in “workplace wellness” or the phrase, “healthful workplace cultures.” Workplace as a term has a physical connotation that limits thinking. It’s like explaining what you did on your summer vacation using flight numbers. The physical place has a role in the drama, but it’s a minor player. I am more interested in your summer experiences, impressions, enjoyments, interesting people you met, and the amazing moments you experienced.
When I talk with a business owner who wants to make his or her workplace a healthy place, the first thing I’ll say is, “Tell me about your business.” What follows is almost always a great, passionate story of dreams, challenges, and achievements. From those stories, strengths emerge that can be taken advantage of, and built upon. I am not there to install a wellness program. I am there to help that business owner move to the next level. And that always seems to involve. . .
- Letting people know (mostly by your actions) you value them as people, and the work they do.
- Giving people more autonomy and trusting them with that freedom.
- Expecting and allowing people to make mistakes in the pursuit of excellence.
- Benchmarking achievement and celebrating it.
- And of course, checking their blood values four times per year (I am joking about that last one).
Here’s a quick, little chart I use when trying to help people stuck in the old paradigms of management and wellness programs to think anew. It’s a great discussion starter, and there is never a time when you’ll find an open discussion on these general points unproductive.
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.