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The biggest mistake in creating a Wellbeing Program

Are you making this mistake?

In my business the process goes a bit like this.

* I communicate with a CEO about my Well-being Consultation Services,

* they invariably ‘refer’ me to meet with someone in the HR department. * The HR manager feels a little defensive because they already have something in the works. - maybe they’ve already put some things in place

- maybe they’ve put together a ‘committee’ and are trying to create the perfect proposal

- maybe they’ve invested in a program already.

I applaud any and all of these steps. However there is almost ALWAYS some fundamental shortfall in the plans.

To be fair - Wellbeing wasn’t a word 3-4 years ago. It certainly wasn’t something that businesses were having to consider for their staff.

So, it’s NEW.

It’s a bit ‘uncharted’ and there is no one-size-fits-all magic formula. So, suddenly expecting your HR department to be on top of creating a wellbeing initiative is a BIG ask. There‘s plenty of snippets of information and ideas about how a Wellbeing program should look or perhaps what it should deliver, but there’s no singular concrete plan to implement.

At Xpansive, we’ve come from the Stress Management arena. The approach and methodology we put into place is based firmly in research as it applies to Organisational Change Management and Stress Management.

Why? Because, the root cause of Lack of Wellbeing is unmanaged stress. While Wellbeing can be broken down into bite sized areas for (what seems like) easy management

• financial wellbeing

• physical wellbeing

• nutritional wellbeing

• emotional wellbeing

the undeniable commonality is stress and anxiety.

If we don’t tackle helping our employees manage the things that are triggering a stress response for them

(and to clarify - that is usually as individual as fingerprints) then approaching physical or nutritional, financial or emotional wellbeing won’t actually make a dent in creating results for your organisation.

The biggest mistake organisation’s are making is …. they are not starting at the very beginning.

First you must understand WHY

What is happening in your business that shows you need to address wellbeing?

Is it a crumbling corporate culture

Is it a spike in absenteeism

Or an increase in mistakes being made

Or a reduction in productivity?

The first step we take when we begin working with a client is the C step in our

C.L.E.A.R methodology.

C is for communication but it’s more than just assessing the lines of communication in your organisation. Its about looking at what results or outcomes you’re hoping to see with a successful Wellbeing program being implemented. What are the problems you are noticing that need to be resolved and then we follow that by also carrying out a full ‘Needs analysis’. And then of course, how do you communicate that.

What management thinks the needs are, is almost always worlds apart from what the staff consider to be important.

Basically it’s a good idea to create a targeted, anonymous employee survey to get real and honest feedback.

You may be over complicating the process and you may be spending unnecessary dollars putting things in place that your staff neither want nor perceive to be of value to and for them.

One company I worked with recently was feeling frustrated that nothing they put in place was working. They‘d tried a company wide ‘biggest loser’ challenge to help address physical wellbeing. They’d implemented Yoga Fridays, allowing staff to ‘knock off an hour early’ to join the in-office yoga class.

These initiatives may seem generous and clever from the management stand point, but in a series of casual chats with employees I was hearing things like

’yeah, I don’t really want to finish my work week with Johnny’s butt in my face’


‘it’s a nice idea, but I’m just not really into yoga! It’s embarrassing, I’m so inflexible‘.

This relaxing yoga initiative was stirring up more angst than it was alleviating.

If you have some ideas of things you’d like to bring in, you must first get feedback from your people. Is it something they’ll embrace?

If the feedback is lack lustre, but it’s something you’re really committed to trying, then you need to get very creative and proactive with how you communicate and ‘market’ the new idea.

Ultimately - don’t feel intimidated or incompetent if you are struggling with putting something together for your team. This is new territory!! If you’d like to chat through some of the steps to creating something that will work for your team, get in touch.

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