by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Dave cleans our offices on Sunday mornings, which happens to be the same time I stop in for a couple hours to prepare for the week. He’s a fit 40-something who looks like he could run a sub-40 minute 10K. His Monday-Friday job is at a local tool and die manufacturer — a 3-shift operation with mostly union workers. 

The HR folks at Dave’s workplace have been trying various wellness programs in recent years with poor results. “I suggested the company pay for half of fitness center memberships, but instead they decided to pick up the whole cost. After a year, they dropped the benefit because people would sign up, but that was the last time they went to the gym. They had no skin in the game. So those of us that would actually use the benefit get nothing.” 

Dave went on: “Our annual step challenge is next month, and the same thing that happened in past years will happen again. People will sign up to earn the $50 gift card, then go back to using the elevator at the end of the month.” And… “We do an assessment every other year, and half the guys lie about their smoking, drinking, exercise because they think the information will be used against them to increase health insurance premiums and copays.” 

Unfortunately, Dave’s workplace wellness experience isn’t unusual. Well-meaning, yet misguided managers implement services intended to inspire behavior change but miss the mark by a wide margin at best, and actually make change harder at worst.

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’re fortunate to work with some of the most successful professionals in wellness. And while our evidence is anecdotal, we find common threads that appear to influence career and program success among our more than 500 client implementations each year:

  • Quality academic training. In most instances, top managers chose purposeful curricula pointed toward personal and/or population health. With few exceptions, they selected the field after academic or work exposure to adult well-being theory and practice. 
  • Meaningful experience at a young age. Many were given significant front-line responsibility in their first jobs right out of school. And while we work with successful wellness managers from their 20s to their 60s, the strongest appear to hit their stride in the mid-30s after a decade gaining valuable experience in the trenches. 
by Beth Shepard   Beth's profile on LinkedIn  

Pokemon Go and the Power of Fun

Last week my family and I surrendered to our curiosity about Pokemon Go. After dinner, we downloaded the app… just to take a look. In less than a minute, we all had our shoes on and were out the door, hunting Pokemon.

Nobody twisted our arms — no one paid us to head outside to walk and run or threatened to fine us if we didn’t. We didn’t even think of it as exercise; locating Pokemon and outrunning each other trying to nab them has been just plain fun.

Intrinsic Intrigue

It’s no secret that people are naturally drawn to playful, pleasing activities and adventures, from hobbies and sports to travel and outdoor recreation. When something sparks our imagination, makes us feel like a kid again, and offers a shared experience, it’s irresistible… and we tell everyone we know. A few things to think about as you design your next wellness initiative: