Don't Let CNBC Scare You Away From Employee Wellness!
Posted Jan 29 2009 11:42am
In 2009, if you are looking for bad news you don't have to look far. Are things worse now than they have ever been before? Maybe. Could be? Perhaps? Can anyone tell us for sure. We have all seen the iconic black and white pictures of the 1930's. People selling two or three apples on a table set up on the sidewalk.Thousands of farmers and manufacturing line workers lined up in blizzard conditions all waiting for ten available jobs. Without question , that was pretty bad!
But in 2009, we are watching the "worst economic time ever" on giant plasma screen televisions or $3,000 lap tops. Yes its very very rough out there and the implications are universal. But, could it be that this climate may be in an economic version of the "string theory" in physics. Everything is connected and the root or source of the energy is always the preexisting reflection.
What if there were no CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc. informing us every day about how bad it is? After all, there were the very same people telling us EVERY day how great it was right up until September. In fact I remember Dylan somebody or other on CNBC saying that there was no reason that the Dow could not break 14000!
This is not about minimizing the incredible challenges that face all of us. It is about keeping things in perspective.
Our businesses are nothing without the teams we count on every day to run them. To make budget decisions that will directly harm your teams ability to do their jobs properly will only perpetuate the problem. The key to surviving in tough economic times is to recognize the challenge, realize the short term implications and minimize the long-term consequences.
Cutting any amount of resources currently dedicated to employee wellness and health will only send negative signals. In the 1980's, managers had "lucky to have a job syndrome". This was an ugly way for managers to communicate to valuable team members that they were not in a position to step out of line. Many great and talented people were of the mindset that "If I make a suggestion or think independently, I'll stick out and likely be let go." So, employees sunk into a shell of fear and just went through the days business as usual until the inevitable happened and the company either failed or imploded. Let's have a fresh and positive attitude this time around in the 21st century. Yes, the day may come when you may have to communicate to members of your team that the financial environment of the company warrants staffing changes. That is the reality of the situation. But until that time comes, each day should be a concentrated celebration of your team members unique talents, individual and collective decision making power and overall performance. make an example of the good things that happen through daily staff blogs or group emails. Encourage your team to offer solutions to problems and most importantly , do not hide the challenges and struggles your company may be acing from the only people who can rectify them.
Encourage your team to stay healthy by way of on-site corporate health and fitness programs, health club memberships ,health screenings, nutritional counseling and chair massage days. Think of them as prize fighters training for the championship match. They need to be stronger, faster, leaner and most of all mentally relaxed and prepared for battle.
In the long run, an investment in a corporate wellness program is extremely short money. The return? Priceless.