Not all employers are ready for a wellness program, particularly if excessive stress is producing a negative outlook through the ranks. If people feel down about things happening in the organization, it’s a stretch to believe they’ll get excited about your health promotion efforts, no matter how spectacular.
Lessen Stress to Increase Receptiveness
Here are some of the most common stressors and why you should work to reduce, eliminate, or at least acknowledge them while building your wellness program:
- Change. The only thing that won’t change in today’s workplaces is the fact there will always be change. But sound business rationale should be behind anything that adds to the turbulence. Many employers haphazardly adopt new methods, policies, or procedures because others are doing it. Don’t abandon an approach completely in favor of another without good reason.
- Uncertainty. For all the empowerment hype in the last 20 years, many organizations still don’t seem to trust workers enough to share plans until they’ve leaked out and generated rumors or misperceptions. Lack of information makes them feel deceived and suspicious.
- Politics. Accurate or not, plenty of employees believe it’s more how you play the game than the quality of your work that determines success. If they feel politics are the road to advancement, they won’t be motivated to produce better products or services.
- Indifference. Downsizing has left a lot of casualties in its wake who are still working for the organization. A belief the company no longer cares about employees — that they can be traded like a commodity for another stock price increase — makes them ambivalent toward anything sponsored by the employer… even your services.
A good wellness program will never cure the ills of a poorly run organization. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. If you recognize any of these stressors at your workplace, do what you can to change them — first within your own department, then in other areas.
If you don’t have upper management champions who believe in you and your purpose, try to educate and cultivate them. Share any negative employee perceptions, along with your ideas for eliminating demotivators. As those subside, interest in your offerings will go up, helping to prepare your organization to welcome your wellness efforts.