2019 is coming to a close and with it my last article for the year! I want to start by wishing all my readers a very happy holiday season, blessed Christmas and joy filled New Year. When thinking of the best gifts to give to those you care for wouldn’t the gift of health, wellbeing and happiness be a blessing for all employees? Imagine living your best life at work? I believe this is possible and can become a reality for everyone which is why I’m so passionate about the work that I do (Employee Wellbeing Advisory). I want more than anything else to see people thrive and excel in life. When people around me feel good about themselves they make me feel good about myself. There’s nothing more that I love than walking into an office where I am greeted with warmth and wide-open smiles. It makes my day and reconfirms to me this is going to be a great day, we are going to do amazing things today.
I believe that people are the key to everything we want in life. It’s about finding and connecting with the right people that will bring the things we so desire into our lives and make them a reality. This world is so diverse, it’s filled with unique, exceptional individuals. Each individual has their own special talents and life path. This is why each of our purposes in life is so different. It’s why we are able to create so much and achieve so much together. There is an old African proverb that says: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
We are all connected to each other, this has been proven by quantum mechanics and a wealth of research supports the fact that it’s how we enhance our relationships with others that enhances our wellbeing.
On a fitness or health transformation journey, a great deal of support is needed along the way. As we spend most of our lives working, employers arguably play the greatest role in supporting their employee’s health and fitness journey’s. So how can they go about doing this without ‘breaking the bank’? The awesome reality here is that numerous studies have now been performed linking employers spend, on their employee’s health and fitness, to bottom line gains, long term organization sustainability and economic growth. So, the spend is not ‘breaking the bank’, it’s building it!
There are many ways employers can set up fitness and health programs for their people and what’s been proven to work time and again is incentive programmes that have lots of short-term rewards along the way. Discovery has proven over a number of years, working with a vast number of people across the globe, that ‘Behavioural economics: the science of rewarding the behaviour’ instead of only the outcome works. It’s the practice of offering tangible rewards for ‘making the right decisions’. They have proven that the ‘motivation equation’ is based on a wide range of aspects – pride, identity, ownership, getting promoted, losing weight, turning around a health issue, running marathons, writing books, hiking, starting a new business etc. And it’s about rewarding steps along the way to achieving these different ‘aspects’ that drives longer term sustainable behavior change.
Specifically, if you’re going to put a new fitness programme in place, it’s ideal to first start with a survey to determine which physical activities your staff are most enthusiastic about. Your staff or your team are the ones who are going to be doing the activities so make it something they have always wanted to do or are keen to try out. Then design a specific programme with tangible milestones and rewards along the way. It’s not just the winner at the end who ‘takes it all’ but everyone who participates gets something along the way. Run a PR campaign across your organization for everyone to see the transformational benefits to both the participating individuals and the organization as a whole. Manage your fitness programme like a strategic project, link each employee into their job spec, productivity dashboard and area of the management accounts and financial statements they impact on. Create a Fitness Dashboard that you report back to your Board on once a month along with the other financial results. Incorporate this into your financial reporting commentary along with the quantified financial impact it’s had. And then finally but most importantly celebrate results and see how each participant has positively impacted their community as part of the programme / challenge. Reward the winner by gifting their community with, for example, a swimming pool (which can be part of CSI spend). We need to look at sustainable results not just a ‘white elephant fitness programme’, so keep building on your programme as you learn along the way from the results your organization achieves. You can also start to build in other elements of employee wellbeing into the programme as you come across common hurdles, such as counselling, resilience training, mental health workshops, healthy snack vending machines, time and life management workshops etc.
To me it all starts with my health which is largely dependent on my fitness which is why I believe fitness to be the starting point of a great wellbeing programme and also a great way to kick off your 2020 new year to get your employees motivated and engaged.
I want to leave you with this, there is no one size fits all when it comes to fitness, you need to find what motivates you and your people the most and go for it. It’s what motivates you the most that will fuel your life with passion. And, as we are all connected, when the whole group is motivated significant positive change takes place.
In closing I would like to share this video with Vic Alley, one of the world’s top Fitness and Bodybuilding Coaches, where he shares on his personal fitness journey and why he is so passionate about it. As he says, a healthy life, is a healthy mind and it’s a healthy body:
Next year I will be sharing with you more each week on the different types of fitness activities and programmes you can implement. We have made some podcasts and more videos where we find some great insights from experts in a number of different fitness fields. We’ll also be looking at a few employee’s fitness journey’s and how they manage to turn around their health and physical fitness while working busy jobs and having a number of other commitments to meet.