How to create behaviour change through your workplace health program August 24th, 2012, by Ken Buckley

stages of change

This is the first in a series of blogs by Corporate Health Juice which answer the ultimate question of any Health & Wellness or Workplace Health and Safety Manager:

How do I get my employees to make real, sustained behaviour changes to their health?

Why behaviour change?

Not so long ago, there would have been a small group of managers asking another question at this point: Why do we need to change behaviours? We’re here to run a business, not to worry about our employees’ lifestyle habits.

Fortunately, most executives  now understand that healthy employees are essential for a healthy business.

More importantly, they understand that to truly improve health, people need to change their ingrained habits, their “behaviours”. A free water bottle and a lunch-time yoga session just won’t cut it.

And more to the point, they understand that unhealthy employees are expensive. Unhealthy employees cost you in lost productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism. It’s estimated that stress related presenteeism and absenteeism are directly costing Australian employers $10.11 billion a year. [See 3 ways to reduce presenteeism costs].

Unhealthy employees are expensive

But, as anyone who has tried to nag a partner into changing a habit knows, behaviour change is hard. Very few companies  know how to change behaviour, and end up wasting good money after bad on trying yet another activity, or plastering the walls with yet more posters.

It’s for this exact reason that Healthworks is introducing a new system of employee health and wellness that’s proven to change behaviour and shift corporate cultures.

It’s called “WellSteps”, and it’s based on the latest academic research and international best practice in employee behaviour change and employee engagement.

Wellsteps draws from the work of Dr James Prochaska,  often called “the godfather of behaviour change”.

Dr Prochaska has identified six stages of behaviour change (the first five are often repeated several times until you get to step 6).

The six stages of behaviour change

Pre-contemplation Have not thought about the benefits of change
Contemplation  Is thinking about the benefits of making a lifestyle change
Preparation  Is getting all the equipment necessary to make the change
Action  Have made the change for under 6 months
Maintenance  Have maintained the change for more than 6 months
Termination  Former problem will not present any temptation or threat to relapse


At Healthworks, we understand that it’s just not feasible to work out which stage every employee is at for each habit, so in reality, it’s more like this:

Simplified model of behaviour change


Healthworks’ new WellSteps system for corporate health and wellness helps you move your employees through these stages of change.

We use a unique approach which takes into account the employees’ whole environment, including their home life and their broader organisational culture. It’s an approach which incorporates best practice in engagement, motivation – and long-term behaviour change.


In our next blog, we show you how: we explain a unique approach to helping you shift your employees’ ingrained habits for a healthier, more productive organisation.

Call us on 1300 90 10 90 or contact us to find out more about our new WellSteps system for employee health and wellness.


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