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Getting work performance – and profits – to POP!

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Do you have responsibility for your corporate wellness programme—either as the manager or as the individual who’s accountable for the results?

I’d like to pose a challenge to you. Imagine going back to your workplaces and announcing that you’re retiring your wellness programme. No longer are you going to search for ways to fund it. You’re going to stop imploring your C-suite to endorse it.

Instead, you’re going to let them know you want their support for your organisation’s new People Optimisation Program – POP! for short.

What would the result of such a shift in nomenclature be? POP! As in supporting eye-popping workforce performance. POP!, as in helping to deliver a significant pop in participation—because who doesn’t want to perform at their best? POP!, as in a pop in revenue and profitability.

Wall Street gets it.

Skeptical? Consider this: In a recent study by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), the stock values for firms with robust health and wellness programmes grew by 235% over 6 years – while the S&P 500 index grew only 159% over that same period.

Another independent study looked at the stock performance of organisations that won the C. Everett Koop National Health Award. It turns out that these companies – all with strong wellness programmes – performed three times better than the market average appreciation.

Wall Street obviously gets it. Companies that invest in optimising the performance of its workforce showed higher market valuations.

What about employers outside the U.S.?

The fact is that today “wellness” has evolved beyond the gym, to encompass other areas of health. Our recently completed research—the 8th edition of our Global Wellbeing survey, published 12 years after the first of its kind—highlighted the fact that employers in the U.K. and Europe are focusing on the financial, social, and professional health of their population nearly as much as the physical.

  • Physical and mental health—Are we physically healthy enough to accomplish what we need, and want, to do every day? For 60% of employers, physical wellbeing is the top strategic component of their wellness programmes. A further 57% target emotional health in the workplace in developing wellness strategies.
  • Professional success—Do we have a sense of purpose—are we able to find meaning in the work we do? For employers in the U.K. and Europe, career development and job satisfaction comprise just under 50% of their current wellness strategy, while 73% cited this as a critical driver of their strategy.
  • Financial wellbeing—Do we have a sense of financial stability today and are we confident we can handle both the expected and unexpected mishaps that happen, while also being able to set money aside for long-term needs? In Europe, 28% of employers reported that financial stress is a serious workplace issue – to the point that 49% of employers identified financial health as a top strategic issue for their programmes.
  • Community and social connectedness—Are we engaged in meaningful relationships and connected to the communities with which we interact and to which we belong? Our survey reports that “social connectedness” has been a key component of workplace wellness for the last 2-5 years.

This is what wellbeing means to us, and it’s what HR professionals are tasked with supporting: helping individuals be healthy, happy and productive so they in turn can perform at their best and thereby contribute to greater group results.

So why rebrand the programme?

Sadly, “total wellbeing” is a term that may seem squishy to some, and one that hardly resonates with the CFO. But if a total wellbeing programme is actually pursued, people optimisation is the result. And people optimisation is certainly what all organisations seek. Our research shows that employers increasingly view creating a culture of wellbeing as being critical to their employee value proposition, and even critical to their organisation’s brand in the marketplace.

So somewhat tongue in cheek, I suggest rebranding the total wellbeing/total rewards programme as the “people optimisation program” —aka “POP”!

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