Wellness as an Incentive
Wellness has been considered fluffy for some time. Many laughed at the thought of Wellness as a serious issue for managers and business owners. This was all back before we knew of the importance of Wellness. How times have changed.
Wellness doesn’t have to involve Yoga, sticking to a strict regime of exercise and consuming nothing but nuts and berries that have fallen to the ground – it’s one option for sure. Wellness is about being healthy, and being well; that is different for each and every one of us.
An experience Mark Dobson shared with us as his first ever experience of a wellness program was actually that of when he was younger working in a retail shop. As a reward for jumping through a few hoops, working well and hard, he was promised a surf lesson.
Trash talking was a method to which Mark responded well. His age and relationship with his older employer made it a relaxed working environment with a matey / banter’ feel. Being told that you wouldn’t be able to do it anyway. You wouldn’t be able to handle the surf. That kind of talk is basic reverse psychology whereby being told that you’d never be able to undertake a particular task of any kind, in the workplace for example, makes some people want to succeed more.
The trash talking reached Mark. He wanted to prove himself. He wanted to prove his worth. When they went surfing, as promised, an important factor in any reward – ensuring it is delivered as promised – he not only did well but he also enjoyed the experience; learning a lot too. It was life changing. Surfing became a large part of Mark’s life, both for sport, fun and fitness. He believes he is healthier today because of it.
So, Mark’s experience was ultimately more of a carrot, a reward for him, but it ended up being an introduction to better health and wellness. Just one example of how you can lead others, including employees, by example.
Considering the workplace, Mark tells us of a friend who is a fairly large guy. He’s realized his size and has begun to trim down. The reason and motivation for the weight loss is actually because a group of people at work, all fairly large, have decided to work together on it. Working as a team they’re focused on each other as well as themselves. They’re all doing the same diet and it’s not even really much of a diet; they’re just deliberately eating healthy for the next three months.
As a performance advisor, Mark knows that you’d want to have more than a three-month plan, but nonetheless, what he’s involved in is a healthy environment where they’ll feel like they’re bonded; they’re all together; they all feel like a team, both for work and for each other. That positive thinking and effect will be associated with the workplace.
People want their lives to be richer. They don’t necessarily want to be richer themselves. This is why financial incentives are having less and less of a positive effect on staff. There will always be the small minority who want nothing more than another pay rise or another bonus but the majority want something more. They want to feel better; they want to feel good; they want to love their living.
When you start to look at health and well-being, and you create those as incentives, you’re actually helping someone’s life a bit differently. The idea that somebody could have a group yoga session at work for an hour for example is fantastic, new and exciting. The cost to the company would be minimal, the impact on multiple staff would be great and the impact on the group’s lives would be much more than if you’d given each of them an extra few dollars a month; the same that the session cost you.
Everyone seems to be grumpy so we’ll just throw an incentive or reward at the – is the wrong mentality. Look at all your staff over a medium-long period of time and planning how to engage with them will make an impact. You will really impact people’s lives and impact the business as a whole, for the better.