The Next Level of Wellness: Removing Your Mental Block

In the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the typical office employee, physicalwellness is important. Unfortunately, many organizations truly only develop physical wellness programs as part of a complete wellness program. Yes, encouraging employees to hit a healthy weight, an ideal blood pressure, or even simply going on a walk during their lunch hour around your campus is great, butmental wellnessis just as important. While the physical health of your team is important, an attention to mental wellness is key. Why? Let’s take a look…

Intrinsic Motivation

Prizes, rewards and money will only get your engagement and motivation levels so far. Yes, company leadership will see a rise in performance for maybe a few weeks, but how long can you maintain that constant dispersal of physical rewards? The truth is, after a while,your rewards program will fail to keep the team responsive to the program.

Unfortunately, 95% of managers follow an antiquated style of motivation. Perhaps it’s due to subpar management training or the need for a change in the majority’s management style. But pushing employees towards an unforeseeable end-of-year goal isn’t the intrinsic motivation they need. It needs to be a more immediate and relatable benchmark that directly impacts the employee. Walter Chen (@smalter), Co-Founder and CEO of iDoneThis said:

“Typically managers believe the idea that pressure makes diamonds. The thinking is that if you want exceptional performance, you align employee objectives with end-of-year bonuses for hitting certain milestones and then employees will turn up their work ethic to reach them.”

Attention to Mind, Attention to Body

Taking employee mental wellness into consideration when you create yourwellness program does more than just improve your team’s emotional state. You’ll see fewer sick and personal days because your employees will be more likely to take care of their physical and mental wellbeing. In fact, employers who offer mental wellness benefits are less likely to have conflict or work-related injuries on their campuses. Judi Hennebry Wise, Director of Education Services at Hill Physicians Medical Group, said:

“Employers can begin to focus on mental health by ensuring that employees have access to mental health benefitsincluding an employee assistance program (EAP). EAPs are useful in that they can provide referrals to mental health professionals and other services while maintaining strict standards of confidentiality. Employers with mental health benefits are at a significant advantage over those who do not supply such benefits in that they are likely to have lower incidents of job burnout, onsite violence, and workplace injury.”


Breaking Habits

The first step in changing habits is understanding and defining what organizational priorities are. What is the goal of your wellness program? What does leadership want to see changed through the wellness program? These are things to consider before you alter the program. Mold your new dual-sided program based on the priorities you’ve constructed to see a change in the employee habits.

Creating bad habits is a lot easier than breaking them. Fortunately, you can help your employees replace bad habits with constructive ones with a well-roundedwellness program that takes into account their mental wellness. By giving youremployees the tools (like a 12-week program to replace bad habits with better ones) they need to break their habits, they can build better ones.

Despite the recent popularity of physical wellness program in the workplace, there’s another facet to these programs that is being slighted. Mental wellness is crucial to the success of your employees and your ultimate talent goals. Whether that’s decreasing absenteeism or increasing employee satisfaction at work, part of the wellness program needs to be mentally focused. Through intrinsic motivation employees can nurture their mental and physical well-being and break bad habits with the tools you provide.

Bio: Tim Olson

Tim Olson, CEBS, CMFC and Managing Partner of the Olson Group, has been working with Nebraska employers for over 33 years and has been in the employee benefits industry since 1980. Presently, Tim works with employers assisting them with self-funded and fully insured medical and dental programs, consumer-driven health strategies, term life, long term disability insurance, section 125 flexible benefit programs, voluntary benefits, retirement programs, and executive compensation plans.  Tim currently works with more than 200 employers participating in 500 employee benefit plans, and covering more than 30,000 employees throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. You can read more about Tim and his insight on employee benefits needs on The Olson Group Blog.

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