Managers have many responsibilities. These include helping employees achieve their career goals. In addition, managers play a critical role in creating a supportive environment that helps employees achieve another type of goal: wellness. Managers are the key to employer support and workplace wellness.
Why is employer support so important?
When employees see managers engaged in wellness activities, they are more likely to participate.[mfn referencenumber=1] Human Resources Institute. (2011). Wellness Leadership: Part of the Wellness Culture Coaching White Paper Series. Retrieved February 4, 2019, from Human Resources Institute website: www.healthyculture.com/Articles/Wellness%20Leadership%20White%20Paper.pdf.[/mfn] In fact, an effective leader will be the change they want to see.
- Managers are the instigators and organizers of change. They are responsible for follow-through and quality control.
- Managers are gatekeepers. They allocate resources such as time, space, and money.
- As leaders, managers work to create conditions that are conducive to success. They are accountable for the failure of the group or organization.
The impact of workplace wellness
Company culture plays a large part in employee well being. While many organizations have the best intentions when it comes to employee wellness, they can have an unsupportive culture without even knowing it.
One common mistake companies make is shining light on performance metrics without giving employees the tools they need to improve. For example, a company may require employees to complete health screenings without supporting them in using the results to make improvements. This method will most likely fall short with limited participation and success. It can actually have the opposite effect.
An unsupportive culture can lead to lower morale and unhealthy employees.[mfn referencenumber=2] Kohll, Alan. (2018, September 18). The Biggest Roadblock to Improving Employee Well-Being. Retrieved February 4, 2019, from Forbes website: www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2018/09/18/the-biggest-roadblock-to-improving-employee-well-being/#6fd895f1e0d3 [/mfn] The missing piece of the employee well being puzzle is often positivity and support.
Successful organizations make fun, interactive wellness education and activities a part of every workday. Embracing wellness in this way can mean the difference between employees who strive for the minimum and those who are excited about and engage in the wellness program. A company that prioritizes and supports wellness efforts can yield a workforce focused on total health—and productivity.
Steps employers can take to support workplace wellness
Try these ideas to put your employees on the path to better health:
- Offer nutritional choices. Make sure to have a healthy vending machine. Avoid sweet treats on special days and opt for healthier snacks.
- Encourage physical activity. Walking meetings or standing desks help employees fit in more physical activity.
- Help with stress reduction. Yoga and meditation can help employees de-stress. Try starting meetings with a deep breathing exercise.
- Reward healthy behavior. Incentives for completing wellness challenges and participating in wellness education can motivate employees to engage.
Workplace wellness won’t work without you. Remember, employer support is key to workplace wellness. Your support can mean the difference between happy, healthy employees and unhealthy, unengaged employees.