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Category Archives for "Workplace Wellness"

Proven Psychological Strategies that Corporations Should Use to Maximize Peak Performance Among Employees!
Sep 22

Proven Psychological Strategies that Corporations Should Use to Maximize Peak Performance Among Employees!

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Workplace Wellness

I have written extensively about how more and more companies are recognizing that putting health and wellness programs on board ultimately helps their bottom line by maximizing peak performance in employees.  Do you wonder why such programs are directly related to profits?

Nearly One Million Employees Miss Work Each Day Because of Overwhelming Stress

Lost hours due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, turnover, medical, legal, and insurance costs have been estimated to cost $300 billion per year, or $7500 per worker.

A ton of research has now proven definitively that stress is linked to six leading causes of death, including:

  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • suicide

According to the American Institute of Health & Productivity Management, which phrased the term, “Presenteeism,”

There is also a major cost each year due to employees who are at work but not working up to their potential, because of the stressors they encounter.

In our 24/7 global society, stressors abound, both on and off the job. I-phones, instant messaging, and e-mail all are designed to make life more convenient and easier, but they effectively leash us to work and other obligations.  We have become a society of people with OCD as it pertains to looking for information and instant feedback.  This adds even more stress as we constantly fight to keep up with our competition.

Add to this family demands, our pervasive fear of terror striking close to home, and worrying about the future of our Country, constant stress surrounds us.

The Emotional Well-Being of Employees has Been Shown to Positively Impact Performance, Absenteeism, Lower Health Insurance Claims, and Enhance Quality Control

Where the workplace can really help is to focus on programs that enhance the well-being of their employees.  Here you have a captive audience, where their company can show a genuine interest in enhancing their emotional well-being.

The American Psychological Association launched their annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace award several years ago in order to give corporations an incentive to develop programs that will help workers to thrive emotionally.  Examples of programs that enhance the psychological health of employees in the workplace are:

  • offering growth and development opportunities
  • innovative employee recognition programs
  • encouraging work-life balance opportunities
  • participative decision-making opportunities
  • enhanced communications and respect between managers and workers
  • offering confidential counseling to employees from well-trained mental health professionals

Companies whose employees achieve peak performance understand that the emotional well-being of their employees is the key to such performance.

To learn more about how to develop a psychologically healthy workplace for your employees, contact me for more information.

Smart Communication Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace
Jul 21

Smart Communication Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Workplace Wellness

In previous articles, I mentioned the ongoing research cited by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence in embracing the principles of a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace.”  This is another piece of the Workplace Excellence puzzle—the role of smart communication in the design and implementation of healthy workplace practices.

Smart Communication in the Workplace

Bottom-up Communication

Management cannot initiate new workplace programs or initiatives without understanding employee needs, perceptions and concerns.

When a company invites me to help them develop a new workplace program, the first step is opening a series of programs where employees are encouraged to communicate.

Anonymity is often necessary in order for employees to feel safe in objectively relating their needs, perceptions and concerns.

Examples of Bottom-Up Communication Strategies:

  1. Employee surveys
  2. Suggestion boxes
  3. Individual or team meetings with managers
  4. Maintaining a participative, open, two-way communication culture

The information obtained by communicating with employees must be given genuine consideration by management.  Employees need to believe that the company is truly interested in their perceptions, concerns, and suggestions for improvement, rather than simply soliciting feedback from employees in order to make them feel important.  This includes not only assessing employee needs but directly involving them in the development and implementation of workplace practices that address those needs.

Top-Down Communication 

How management communicates with employees is critical to the successful implementation of new workplace practices.  Not only do employees need a basic awareness of the availability of new programs, but they need to know clearly how to gain access to them, along with strong messages that management encourages and supports these new initiatives.

Examples of Top-Down Communication Strategies:

  1. Newsletter, memos, etc. that explain the goals of Management
  2. Using multiple channels (e.g., print, electronic, and video, orientation and training sessions, staff and team meetings, etc.)
  3. Leading by example, where all levels of management regularly participate in the same psychologically healthy workplace activities with the employees

Nothing encourages employees more than knowing and believing that top management embraces the same workplace activities they are promoting for their employees.

Smart communication is an important part of building a psychologically healthy workplace. On that topic, the honorable Alexis M. Herman, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, said it best:

“This is not pie in the sky: this is about the bottom line. Building psychologically healthy workplaces isn’t just the right thing to do.  It’s also the smart thing to do.”

2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey Shows that We Still Have a Long Way to Go in Job Stress and Workplace Wellness
Jun 23

2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey: Still a Long Way to Go in Workplace Wellness

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Workplace Wellness

Every year the American Psychological Association conducts a survey to study stress, workplace wellness, and other critical factors among America’s workers. The 2016 survey was conducted in March and findings were released in June, so it’s time once again to examine the results of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey. The results show key areas where employers can improve their respective workplaces.

My overall thoughts on the 2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey? The results are both surprising and disappointing.

Main Findings of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey

Overall, the findings show that after all of these years of consistent research findings by professional industrial/organizational psychologists, many companies are still failing in several critical areas.

Some of the most disappointing findings I read:

  • Only about half of those surveyed feel valued by their employer.
  • About half of workers still do not believe that their employer provides opportunities to participate in decision-making, solving problems, or setting goals.
  • The main sources of worker job stress are low salaries and insufficient opportunities for development and advancement

Feeling valued and having the opportunity to challenge yourself, reach goals, and grow as a worker are basic needs that every company must address. These crucial elements help employers nurture their most valued assets—their employees.

Workplace Wellness Findings

In addition to job stress, the APA Work and Well-Being Survey also examined workplace wellness, a topic that I have covered in recent blog posts.

Despite the research and anecdotal documentation of the wonderful benefits of workplace wellness programs, the survey found that only one-third of American workers regularly participates in such health-promoting programs, when provided by their employers.

Secondly, despite the plethora of research proving that workplace wellness programs promote health (for example, by proactively teaching employees how to manage stress), more than half of those surveyed believe that their work climate does not support employee wellness and a third still complain of chronic stress in their jobs!

There is evidence that more than half of the companies in the U.S. still do not see the benefits of promoting worker and job site wellness initiatives.

Much more education regarding the health and bottom line benefits for employees and their companies, respectively, must be provided for HR professionals.

What Key Element Differentiates Companies that Embrace Wellness Initiatives from Those that Do Not?

From the survey results, it seems that the key determinant of whether a company embraces workplace health and wellness programs is whether senior leadership supports and encourages wellness.  A whopping seventy-three percent of employees who have senior managers who show support and commitment to well-being initiatives said their companies encouraged and nurtured healthy workplace and healthy lifestyle plans.

There are also other significant, positive outcomes for employees with senior leadership that supports and encourages wellness. These employees:

  • Feel motivated to do their best.
  • Have higher job satisfaction.
  • Have positive relationships with their supervisors and co-workers.

Eighty-nine percent of these employees also recommended their company as a “good place to work” and were less likely to leave their job the next year.

Using the Findings to Create Better Workplaces

Results of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey demonstrate that the presence of senior leadership that embraces wellness programs is linked to many far-ranging outcomes. As David W. Ballard, director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, concludes, “When supervisors’ actions match their words, employees notice.” 

The take-home message from the APA Work and Well-Being Survey is that employers must focus training on their senior leaders and be sure they understand the critical need for workplace health and well-being initiatives.  Ballard puts it succinctly: “Employers who truly embrace well-being as part of how they do business create a workplace where both employees and the organization thrive.”

rivet your clients and friends to your brand
Jun 10

A Fabulous Idea to Firmly Rivet Your Clients and Their Friends to Your Brand

By Dr. Jack Singer | Featured , Workplace Wellness

With so much competition in the marketplace, many businesses are continually looking for ways to build their brand and expand their reach to new markets. This requires a business to develop a solid foundation of people and products in their own organization, which is fundamental to building a solid brand. However, some smart businesses are taking their growth to a whole new level by finding ways to rivet their clients and friends to their brand. Let me explain what I mean.

I was recently speaking with the marketing director of a wealth management firm that is heavily invested in wellness for their advisory team, as well as all of the other employees that make up their “family.” It was remarkable hearing about the kinds of wellness programs they conduct on a regular basis, and I am privileged that they are going to bring me in to conduct my unique programs as well. These types of programs are key to developing your employees – an essential part of your business foundation.

While we were chatting about the possibilities, she mentioned that they sometimes invite their clients to the workshops. What a terrific idea that is! It’s like passing forward the incredible, life-altering skills they are learning to their own clients. Now there’s a firm that GENUINELY cares about their clients!

And how do you suppose the clients now view this firm? Think they’ll start telling all their friends about the wonderful service and workshops they are getting? Of course, they will! This firm is creating brand advocates that will do their marketing for them – it’s brilliant!

You can incorporate this same initiative in your business. Here are some tips on how to start:

  1. Start from Within. Just as the company I mentioned above did, you need to start by investing in your internal teams to ensure that they are full supporters of your business and brand and have the skills necessary to offer your customers the best possible product and service. Just remember, it’s not only about what they know, but how they act and manage themselves around customers and clients.
  2. Offer Something Your Competitors Do Not. If you are looking for a sure way to stand apart from your competitors, find something they don’t offer and add it as an offering for your customers. Keep in mind; it has to have value and be something that your customers would want. Try using customer surveys to learn more about what they want and get creative to find something of value to offer.
  3. Ask Customers for Referrals. Your customers and clients are your best brand advocates, but businesses often fail to ask them to refer their business to friends and family that might be interested. While you can offer incentives for referrals, it’s not necessary. If you are providing excellent service and products that they can’t get elsewhere, and your customers actually feel that you have their best interest at heart, they’ll happily recommend you.

By investing a little time and money into your employees and customers, you’ll begin to see big returns on the building of your brand and business. Just ensure that you are taking the right steps towards success!

How Corporate Wellness Programs Boost Employees AND Companies
May 05

How Corporate Wellness Programs Boost Employees AND Companies

By Dr. Jack Singer | Self Improvement , Stress , Stress Management , Workplace Wellness

Corporate wellness is a current buzz word, but the fact is, some businesses have been offering corporate wellness programs for years or even decades. New research on corporate wellness and the physical effects of stress is making more and more corporations interested in implementing their own wellness programs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the norm in the future.

Arguably the most convincing study on corporate wellness was recently published by the American Psychological Association (APA). It tackles the argument that some companies have for not enacting wellness programs – more specifically, some argue that although these programs benefit employees, they are costly and don’t help the business’s bottom line. As it turns out, this thinking is wrong.

APA Study Shows the Financial Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs

This study looked at stock portfolios from two different groups of publically-traded companies. The first group had established wellness programs for their employees – robust wellness programs that had won industry awards. The second group was composed of traditional publicly-traded companies that had no wellness programs.

The researchers then compared the performance of each groups’ stock portfolios over a period of 14 years. In the end, they found that companies with wellness programs outperformed the S&P by more than 200 percent.

This study demonstrates that not only do corporate wellness programs benefit individual employees – they also impact a company’s profit. This shows that it is financially and fiscally smart to implement wellness programs in order to increase revenue and profitability.

How Corporate Wellness Works on the Individual Level

Obviously, this study took a macro-level view of corporate wellness, examining performance at the company level. So how does corporate wellness work at the individual level to produce these astounding results on corporate profit?

On the individual level, corporate wellness programs work to raise the health of your workers. By focusing on physical health, mental health, diet, and exercise, your employees stay healthy and strong. They get sick less often, which means fewer insurance claims and fewer missed days of work. And their work improves because they are alert, confident and perceptive. They make fewer mistakes, their productivity improves and so does their morale. These individual effects then add up to company-wide improvements which fuel profit growth.

Corporate wellness programs contain a range of elements related to physical health, exercise, diet and mental health. Although all of these components are important to a well-rounded corporate wellness program, I argue that mental health is a crucial concern for any business starting a corporate wellness program.

This is because mental health impacts other forms of health and there are proven ways you CAN change the amount of stress in your life. This is done by understanding how stress forms – that it isn’t a result of events but rather your interpretation of those events – and then taking steps to change your interpretations. Doing so not only improves your mental health, but your physical health as well.

Psychologically Healthy Workplace
Apr 07

The Power of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Featured , Work-Life Balance , Workplace Wellness

For many years now, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence has recognized companies across the U.S. that embody the principals of a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace.” For years, I’ve been involved in cutting-edge research on the specific ingredients that make up such workplaces.  All organizations should strive to embrace these characteristics, not simply because they are psychologically healthy for the employees, but because with healthy employees, absenteeism is less, morale is higher, and the quality of products is consistently higher.

Characteristics of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

Employee Involvement

When employees participate in decision-making, including encouraging and considering their suggestions, they embrace those decisions and it foster’s creativity.

Work-life Balance

Helping employees to handle the challenges outside of work, such as the responsibilities of single parenting, takes much pressure off of them. Flexible working hours, for example, is one ingredient of the work-life balance equation for employees.

Personal and Professional Growth and Development

What does the company offer employees to increase their competencies? Cross-training opportunities for employees to rise within the company also keeps employees from looking elsewhere.

Employee Recognition

Getting a raise is a form of recognition, but there are many other types of recognition, from company-wide awards ceremonies to fancy trips for top producers. The bottom line is that everyone loves recognition for his or her efforts and loyalty.

Health and Safety

Providing health and wellness workshops directed at educating employees about healthy lifestyles and preventing potential health problems is a must, not simply for the employees and their families, but for the overall health of the organization. For example, when companies bring me in to provide wellness workshops, my goal is to teach employees how to develop permanent resiliency skills, so that they never get overwhelmed by the stressors inherent in their jobs.

Examples of Comments from Employees About Why They Love Their Jobs

The APA surveys employees to determine what aspects of their jobs they love and they post them in their Highlights from the Good Company Blog. Here are some examples:

“Management listens to our concerns. There are regular Q&A’s where we can submit anonymous, public questions.”

 

“I love my job because I get to work from home every day, with flexible hours.”

 

“My co-workers are fun to work with.”

Having fun in the workplace is a major motivator, yet is missing in most work settings. Think strategically how you can improve this within your company and you’ll see a significant improvement in employees morale and overall dedication.


Ready to start reducing stress in your life so you can Develop the Mindset of a Champion? Download my FREE 5 Step Mental Toughness Guide HERE!