Trends in corporate health programs are now going beyond harm minimisation.
What if we felt better at the end of a day’s work than when we arrived?
What if our work truly uplifted us, energised us and fulfilled us? Is this feasible? Is it actually a desirable goal for corporate health programs?
The slogan, “employees should go home in the same state of health they came to work in, if not better” is becoming quite popular amongst corporate health managers. Many WHS initiatives now go beyond focusing on physical injuries, to look at the mental and emotional health of employees.
Likewise, employers are increasingly investing significant amounts of money and time in helping employees mitigate the stresses and strains of working life. Stress, and all its physical, mental and emotional symptoms, has shown to be costing businesses billions each year. The use of mental health seminars, mental health campaigns and health checks has had significant effects on lowering employee stress and absenteeism. Others are going even further to create a “culture of happiness”.
Inspiring and motivating employees is basic good management, not just for corporate health
Management and productivity experts often talk of the need to light a fire within our employees, to fill them with a sense of purpose, and ensure they have a deep and enduring job satisfaction.
We know that the most successful, competitive and agile companies are driven by teams of employees who are engaged, have a clear sense of direction and are united around a vision that resonates.
And, we know that managers who take the time to get to know their staff, who build on their staff’s strengths and manage their weaknesses, and who work to really inspire and motivate their staff, create productive, loyal and engaged employees who go the extra mile.
But every job has bits that are too boring or too hard. Some people are just hard to work with. Some teams just don’t meld. Sometimes a manager’s in the wrong job and they make life hell for their team. Some projects simply require long, gruelling hours.
In the end, most businesses exist to make a profit, and organisations exist to provide a service. They were not created to inspire their employees – that’s usually just a means to an end.
Traditional views of work
This idea of being uplifted and inspired work is both profoundly new and profoundly old. For centuries, in western societies at least, work was for the lower classes, the paupers and peasants. Until the rise of the artisan and trader middle class, people didn’t work to fulfil their life’s passions, they worked to fulfil the needs and wants of the rich, and to do it over and over again until their bodies broke down. On the other hand, some Eastern philosophies equate work with a kind of worship – work was a pathway to the divine.
Now, we find ourselves in a new era, where employee wellbeing and corporate health is seen as a seamless part of organisational strategy and operations. (See Learn From The Winner of the 2012 Corporate Health Award)
So, how much of a company’s time, or a manager’s time should be spend on ensuring their employees are not only “OK”, but are feeling uplifted and renewed? How much is the responsibility of individual employees to do this themselves?
What do you think? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
Healthworks has more than 30 years of proven experience in improving employee wellbeing and productivity. For more information on corporate health programs, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 or contact us.