We try to answer the ultimate question of any Health and Wellness or Workplace Health and Safety Manager. How do I get my employees to make a real, sustained behaviour change to their health?
Why change behaviour?
Not so long ago, there would have been managers asking another question at this point. So 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”. So 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 as a result of poor health, stress related presenteeism and absenteeism are directly costing Australian employers $10.11 billion a year.
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. As a result, they end up throwing away money on yet another activity, or plastering the walls with yet more posters.
Dr James Prochaska, often called “the godfather of behaviour change” has identified six stages of behaviour change. Often, the first five are repeated several times until step six is reached.
|Pre-contemplation||Has 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.
Call us on 1300 90 10 90 or contact us to find out more about our approach to employee health and wellness.