advancingwellness-blog.jpg

Blog

Expert Interview: Jamie Larsen

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Jamie Larsen to discuss workplace volunteer programs.

Much Has Changed - Volunteering Hasn't

What is the essence of life? To serve others and do good.
~Aristotle.

Expert Interview: Naomi Abrams, OTD

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Naomi Abrams, OTD to discuss health and safety in the workplace, wherever you work.

Protect Your Employees - Wherever they may work

Remote working is here to stay. As businesses begin the journey forward into the post-pandemic world, it’s likely that the traditional office environment will have changed significantly. Workers may not be rushing back to the office and employers may not be rushing to bring them back.

Expert Interview: Dr. Kelly Tremblay

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Dr. Kelly Tremblay, neuroscientist and audiology expert to discuss older workers in the workforce.

Now Hiring: Wisdom and Experience

It seems like every generation carries its own stereotypes when it comes to workforce behavior: Millennials are entitled, Gen X-ers are unmotivated and Baby Boomers are completely out of touch. But what’s the reality? Millennials tend to be hopeful and resilient, Gen X-ers are highly adaptable and Baby Boomers…well, haven’t they retired by now?

Expert Interview: Julie Ann Sullivan

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Julie Ann Sullivan to discuss employee engagement and organizational purpose.

Now More Than Ever - Purpose at Work

Work is different today. Productivity has tanked as employees work from home in often less than optimal conditions. Distracted by kids, the dog, and the proximity of the refrigerator, it’s hard to stay focused.

Expert Interview: Carol Marzouk

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Carol Marzouk. to discuss toxic workplace culture.

Beware of Toxic Workplaces

A toxic workplace is not something that can be cleaned up with disinfectant. It’s not a germ or a virus, although it may feel like one. If you are like me, at some point in your career you’ve worked in a place that just felt downright unhealthy. Whether the harmful surroundings are due to the people, the culture, or a combination of both, these damaging environments are everywhere.

Expert Interview: Dr. Debra Lafler

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Debra Lafler, DDiv to discuss compassion in the workplace.

What Everyone Needs Right Now at Work: Compassion

Let’s face it, these are tough times. It feels like we are living in an ‘everything that can go wrong has gone wrong’ world. Perhaps you are fortunate to be physically healthy right now. But that doesn’t remove the anxiety and stress that come with being in a situation where things feel out of control.

Expert Interview: Amanda Hemm

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Amanda Hemm from Soutiens to discuss family friendly workplaces.

Parents Deserve Respect and Family Friendly Workplaces

Do you remember Rodney Dangerfield and his one-liners? His trademark line was, “I don't get no respect!” These days I feel like this could be the catchphrase for any working parent.

Expert Interview: Mindwise Innovations

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan is joined by Lisa Desai, Psy.D. and Bryan Kohl from MindWise Innovations to discuss mental well-being.

Caution: Mental Health at Risk

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the world and many are isolated at home, we have all learned the actions required to stay physically safe. We wash our hands, keep our distance from others and wear masks. Yet, we aren’t hearing as much about what we can do to stay emotionally safe.

Expert Interview: Michael Delman

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Michael Delman discuss productivity tips while working from home.

Is Working from Home Harder Than You Thought?

Working from home, the ultimate in flexibility and improved work-life balance, right? Under normal circumstances that might be so. But given the current COVID-19 pandemic, work has become home and home has become work.

Expert Interview: Laurel Farrer

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Laurel Farrer discuss remote working.

Remote Working - The New Normal

Many of us have found ourselves working from home recently, without much advance planning or preparation. Suddenly our dining room table, home office or living room couch is doing double duty as our workplace. The commute is gone, but so are some of the connections. It’s the new normal that we’ve had to adjust to on the fly.

Expert Interview: Rosie Ward

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Rosie Ward, PhD discuss rehumanizing the workplace.

Humanized Workplaces in an Age of Disruption

We are living in times of uncertainty and continuous change. Disruption is ever-present in our workplaces, impacting employee engagement and the overall corporate culture. However, disruption doesn’t have to be negative. Shaking things up presents an opportunity to draw on our strengths and create a humanized workplace where employees feel cared for and supported.

Expert Interview: Danny Hadas

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Danny Hadas of Emovation Project discuss employee experience.

Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day

Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. As human beings, it is as inherent to us as breathing. Yet many people don’t often feel valued and appreciated, especially at work.

Expert Interview: Adam and Kerry Anderson

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Adam and Kerry Anderson discuss the impact of an imbalanced life on our families.

Life Out of Balance: Impact on Families

Work-life balance is not a new topic. Nor one that is going away. Typically, when we think about work-life balance it is from the perspective of the employee who is trying to juggle the challenges of their professional and personal responsibilities. But there’s more to this conversation. What effect does this imbalance have on families?

Expert Interview: Scott Crabtree

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Scott Crabtree discuss the science of happiness and the link to well-being.

In Pursuit of Happiness and Well-being at Work

The US Declaration of Independence outlines that among our unalienable rights are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For many, the pursuit of happiness may feel like an endless journey to an unachievable destination.

Expert Interview: Nina Sunday

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Nina Sunday discuss psychological safety in the workplace.

Psychologically Safe - Is Your Workplace?

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something wasn’t quite right. No one spoke up in meetings. Conversations were polite and free of healthy debate. Everyone seemed more concerned with documenting their actions (aka CYA) than presenting ideas and creative solutions to the team.

Expert Interview: Ravi Hutheesing

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Ravi Huthessing discuss multiple generations in the workplace and how to bring those generations together.

Bridging the Generational Divide

We’ve been hearing about the conflict between generations for decades. Today, there are five generations in the workplace, each with diverse attitudes, experiences and workstyles. With so many differences, is there a way to build a bridge across the generational divide?

Expert Interview: Faun Zarge

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Faun Zarge discuss employee burnout and resilience in the workplace and what employers can do to support their workforce.

Running on Empty: The Burnout Epidemic

At first, I thought it was the flu. I was exhausted and slept for days, which was unusual for me as a healthy twenty-something. When it happened again six months later, it got me thinking. Had I been working too hard? Was I burning the candle at both ends? Had I lost all sense of balance in my life? The answer was all of the above. I was living in a state of chronic stress and on the road to burnout.

Expert Interview: Anthony Calderon

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Anthony Calderon discuss why Americans don't use all their vacation. Anthony is Chief Vacationer at Suite Break.

Who doesn't love a vacation?

It may seem like a silly question. What’s not to love about taking a break from work for a little R & R? I love everything about vacation. From researching and planning my itinerary to the anticipation that builds from the time I book the trip until I finally hit the road. I even love the packing and prep. Whether you’re heading abroad, playing tourist at home, or anything in between, who doesn’t love a vacation?

Expert Interview: Bryan Noar

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Bryan Noar discuss A recent research report that provides valuable information that is useful in building a business case for worksite well-being programs. Bryan is the  VP of Strategic Partnerships at Self Help Works.

Winning well-being programs start with a strong business case

Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that starting strong can have a major impact on the success of your initiative. Building a solid business case for your project is essential. When it comes to implementing worksite well-being initiatives, putting in the time to demonstrate the benefits of your proposal up front, can pay off big time when it comes to getting buy-in from decision makers. Simply saying, “because it is the right thing to do,” won’t stand up to senior leadership scrutiny.

Expert Interview: Megan Burns

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Megan Burns explore the relationship between employee experience and customer experience. Megan is a speaker, consultant and customer experience expert.

Happy Employees Make for Happy Customers

We’re all loyal to certain companies and brands. Whether it’s Apple, Jet Blue, Trader Joes or our local coffee shop, we tend to return to them again and again because we have a positive experience. And more often than not, it’s the employees who work for these companies who make or break our overall experience.

Expert Interview: Dale Atkins, Ph.D.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Dr. Dale Atkins explore kindness in the workplace and the link to well-being. Dr. Atkins is a licensed psychologist, an author, and a speaker.

Kindness Inspires Kindness

Having spent my entire career in the business world, I’ve noticed that business people often function from a rational and logical perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we adopt irrational or illogical approaches. But what would happen if we consciously added more kindness and compassion to the workplace?

Expert Interview: Nancy Board, MSW

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Nancy Board, MSW discuss mental health and the role employers play in supporting the mental health of their employees. Nancy is an expert in Employee Assistance Program operations, and is a business professional experienced in corporate health and well-being globally.

Shining a light on mental health

Recently, a close friend shared his secret with me. He confided that he suffered from depression and had been hospitalized for a short time. Although I felt honored that he trusted me with this very personal piece of information, I am disheartened that shame continues to make those with mental health issues feel the need to hide it.

Expert Interview: Ed Framer, Ph.D.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Ed Framer, Ph.D. discuss health coaching and the role it can play in supporting behavior change. Ed is Senior Director of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Health Fitness Corporation.

Health Coaching: Boost your chance for success

Have you ever tried to learn something new on your own? Maybe a new sport or hobby? Depending on what you were learning, you may have found going it alone got to be so frustrating that you simply gave up.

Expert Interview: Braden Monaco

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Braden Monaco explore employer strategies for managing health care costs. Braden is a managing partner at Blue Horizon Benefits, a privately-held concierge-style consulting firm.

Managing Health Care Costs

When I started in the field of workplace health promotion (that’s what we called it) over a decade ago, an employer’s primary motivation for implementing a wellness program was to control costs. At the time, health care costs were skyrocketing. Annual increases of 100% or more were not uncommon. The strategy behind a typical wellness program was to create a healthier workforce and prevent chronic disease before it starts, therefore reducing health care costs by reducing the need for services.

Expert Interview: Colleen Reilly

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Colleen Reilly explore the topic the role of employers in employee well-being. Is it a strategy or is it a responsibility?

Colleen is the Vice President of Wellbeing Services at Thrive Pass, a leading provider of a comprehensive platform for managing employee benefits.

Workplace Well-being: A Strategy and a Responsibility

No one goes to work expecting to come home less healthy. Yet for many, that’s exactly what happens. Workplace injuries, or worse, are more common than we might think.

Expert Interview: Mim Senft

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Mim Senft explore the topic of women in the workplace.

Mim is the President and CEO of Motivity Partnerships, and she is also the co-founder of Global Women 4 Wellbeing. Mim is a positive force in the wellness and well-being industry, calling for collaboration to move the profession forward.

Women in the Workplace

International Women’s Day is on March 8th. As we celebrate, it’s important to reflect on the achievements of women and take action to create a more gender-balanced world for the future.

Expert Interview: Sam Silverstein, CSP

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Sam Silverstein explore the topic of accountability.

Sam is a leadership keynote speaker and his mission is to empower people to live accountable lives, transform the way they do business, and to thrive at extraordinary levels by challenging leaders to shift priorities, cultivate an organizational culture, and inspire both individual and teams to take ownership in fresh and results-producing ways.

Culture of Accountability

Most of our careers include that one conversation you never forget. For me, it took place over 20 years ago. I was managing an outsourced operation at a Wall Street Financial services company. The conversation was with a person who was displeased with the turnaround time for my team’s deliveries. I remember her scolding, “If you say you are going to do something, you darn well better do it.” Keep in mind, I was a seasoned business professional, selected to lead this team because of my business acumen and experience. Yet, here I was being treated like a child.

Expert Interview: Stefanie Heiter

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Stefanie Heiter explore the topic of managing a remote workforce.

Stefanie is the founder and partner of Bridging Distance and has helped pioneer the field of dispersed teaming and leadership since 1997. Stefanie is among the nation’s leading thinkers and consultants on the human side of virtual work.

Remote Workers: Out of sight, not out of mind

When I started my career, going to work meant getting in my car, sitting in gridlock, working until quitting time, then doing it again in reverse. Today, while many workers still follow this daily routine, increasingly it is not the norm for others. More and more workers are trading rush hour traffic for the “slipper commute” from the kitchen, with their morning cup of coffee, to their home office or dining room table.

Expert Interview: Joel Bennett, Ph.D.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Joel explore workplace approaches to the opioid and prescription drug misuse crisis.

Joel is the president of Organizational Wellness Learning Systems, which goes by the acronym OWLS, a consulting firm that specializes in disseminating evidenced-based wellness and e-learning technologies to promote organizational health and employee well-being.

This distressing trend is closer than you think

While sitting in rush hour traffic recently, I heard a report on the radio about the opioid crisis. The story reported that, “for the first time in U.S. history, a leading cause of deaths — vehicle crashes — has been surpassed in likelihood by opioid overdoses.”

Expert Interview: Sarah Reiff-Hekking, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah Reiff-Hekking is a speaker, coach, and clinical psychologist with over twenty years’ experience helping people achieve and create their goals. She has developed a unique system to help her clients get a grip on their time and step up to the next level of their life or business.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Sarah explore personal productivity.

Kicking off a productive new year

We know the facts. 365 days in a year. 24 hours in a day. 60 minutes in an hour. It’s the same for all of us. Have you ever noticed how some people seem to get a lot done while others seem to be overwhelmed and unable to answer an email in a timely manner?

Expert Interview: Lacey Loehr

Lacey Loehr is the Director of Employer Programs at Pacify. She helps companies design thoughtful family benefits that support parents and the companies for which they work. Lacey began her career as a health and wellness consultant at Mercer, and has subsequently worked with purpose-driven technology companies like Pacify that support employee wellbeing.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan and Lacey explore the topic of family friendly workplaces.

Is Your Workplace Family Friendly?

I noticed something unusual while attending a meeting at the Google offices in Cambridge, MA. Dogs and babies. Babies and dogs. It was a good indicator that this workplace would rate highly as a family friendly workplace.

Expert Interview: Craig Becker, Ph. D.

Craig is a professor in the Department of Health, Education and Promotion at East Carolina University. He earned his BS in accounting and business from Purdue University, his Masters in Wellness Management from Ball State University, and his Ph.D. from Arizona State University.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan explores if we want a better tomorrow, can we create more good and not just do less bad.

A Force for Good

Each morning I skim the headlines of The New York Times. In the evening, I usually watch both the local and national news. I often end up feeling very discouraged by stories about things that are damaging our planet or diminishing the lives of the people who live here.

Expert Interview: George Pfeiffer

George Pfeiffer is the founder and president of the Workcare Group in Charlottesville, Virginia. He draws from almost four decades of experience in worksite health promotion and provides consulting, training, and program design services for corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan discusses with George the evolution of workplace well-being programs.

Workplace Well-being: More than preventing heart attacks for middle aged white guys

My first corporate job was for a life insurance company in Hartford Connecticut. Since I’d never worked for a big company, I had no idea what to expect. The on-site cafeteria and gym were really convenient. The bowling alley and the squash courts - was this typical?

Expert Interview: Patty de Vries, MS

Patty de Vries. Patty is the Director of Strategic Projects for the Stanford Medicine Well MD Center. She is presently building working relationships with hospitals and university programs, and generating networking support for current and upcoming projects.

In this Expert Interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan discusses with Patty de Vries burnout and the employee well-being model Stanford created to respond to this issue for physicians and employees.

Is Your Workforce Burned Out? Stanford’s Well-being Success Model

At some point you’ve probably felt like you were running out of gas. Perhaps you were in the midst of a major project, experiencing a particularly busy time of year (think holidays or family visits), or just had one too many things go wrong over the course of a day. Occasionally feeling run down and frazzled is inevitable. But when this is your life every day, chances are you are burned out.

Expert Interview: Dak Kopec - Human Centered Design

Dak Kopec is an expert in the field of human-centered design and environmental psychology for design. He holds a doctorate degree in environmental psychology, two masters’ degrees, one in architecture and one in community psychology, and an undergraduate degree in health sciences. Dak is the former Director of the Boston Architectural College’s Master of Design Studies in design for human health program, and he is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Graduate Program in healthcare interior design at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

In this expert interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan explores human-centered design and specifically how that applies to the workplace.

Is Your Workplace People-Centric?

We often hear from organizational leaders that “people are our most important asset.” Yet if you spend even a few minutes reading reviews on employment sites like Glassdoor, it becomes apparent that those words do not always translate into the daily reality of the workplace.

Some leaders truly recognize that they cannot achieve their business goals without an actively engaged, purpose-driven workforce. In the book Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for you People Like Family, Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia demonstrate why it is important to put people above profits. Chapman tells the story of how they created a workplace at Barry-Wehmiller where people feel trusted and cared for.

Expert Interview: Tom Ciccotti Part 2

Tom Ciccotti is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Shortlister. Shortlister is a technology platform and team of subject matter experts used by the nation’s top employers and benefits consultants to help them identify their ideal vendor match for products and services in the wellness and HR technology space. Think e-Harmony or Match.com for finding vendors in these markets.

In this expert interview, AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan explores the research conducted by Tom Ciccotti's firm Shortlister, on employer’s preferences and buying behaviors with regard to well-being program technology.

Workplace Well-being Technology - What the Research Says

Designing a comprehensive workplace well-being program can be complicated. There are many aspects to consider as you make decisions surrounding which tools and resources your program will provide. Today, most employee well-being programs utilize some type of technology for program administration and management. But selecting this technology can be a daunting task.

Expert Interview: Tom Ciccotti

Tom Ciccotti is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Shortlister. Shortlister is a technology platform and team of subject matter experts used by the nation’s top employers and benefits consultants to help them identify their ideal vendor match for products and services in the wellness and HR technology space. Think e-Harmony or Match.com for finding vendors in these markets.

What's Hot and What's Not. Workplace Well-being Trends You Need to Know About

 

Keeping up with trends that impact employee wellness and well-being programs can feel like a full-time job. There are numerous dimensions from which well-being is viewed, thereby requiring that a wide range of topics need to be considered.

Expert Interview: Jamie Tessler, MS, MPH

Jamie Tessler is an occupational ergonomist, lecturer, and educator. She is an adjunct professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine, where she teaches occupational and environmental health to students in the public health and professional degree programs. At Northeastern University, Jamie is busy working to modernize and upgrade the occupational and environmental health and safety training programs and platforms. She is a frequent guest lecturer on occupational ergonomics in area schools of public health.

Not your father's ergonomics!

 

When you think of ergonomics, what comes to mind? Posture, a customized chair, a hand rest for your mouse pad? Most people think of ergonomics as supports, similar to these, for the physical body.

Expert Interview: Barbara Zabawa, MPH, JD

Barbara Zabawa, MPH, JD started the Center for Health and Wellness Law after she recognized a need for legal services that shared a mission with providers to improve patient outcomes and population health to encourage wellness, protect patient interests, in choice of provider and treatment options, provide holistic care, and information access. Attorney Zabawa has twenty plus years of expertise in the healthcare field, first receiving her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan before attending law school at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she graduated with honors in 2001. Barbara has clerked in the United States District Court in the western district of Wisconsin, served as a Skadden Fellow representing health care consumers on both the national and local level, and worked for a large health insurance company providing advice on the Affordable Care Act, as well as HIPPA, privacy, and security compliance.

Barbara is the author of the book Rule the Rules on Workplace Wellbeing Programs. She is a frequent speaker and writer, both nationally and regionally on workplace wellness program compliance, the Affordable Care Act, fraud and abuse issues, and HIPPA compliance.

Workplace Well-being and the Law - Is your program up-to-date?

 

Expert Interview: Michelle Spehr (Part 2)

videoMichelle Spehr, MA, M.Ed., MCHES, CWWPC is the co-founder and Chief Framework Officer of the Mindful City Project. With more than a decade of consulting experience, her contributions to this initiative, include developing frameworks that strengthen the capacity of communities to apply mindfulness in ways that positively change mindsets and reinvent how people connect and work together. Michelle also works as a health and wellness consultant at the Benefit Services Group, Inc. In this role, she helps employers identify and apply creative solutions that address well-being at both the employee and the organizational levels. Michelle earned her Master’s degree in both Communications and Health Education. Her professional credentials include certifications as a masters-level health educations specialist in worksite wellness consultant and a faculty designation from WELCOA.

Coming to Your Workplace Soon: Mindfulness

 

Expert Interview: Michelle Spehr (Part 1)

Michelle Spehr, MA, M.Ed., MCHES, CWWPC is the co-founder and Chief Framework Officer of the Mindful City Project. With more than a decade of consulting experience, her contributions to this initiative, include developing frameworks that strengthen the capacity of communities to apply mindfulness in ways that positively change mindsets and reinvent how people connect and work together. Michelle also works as a health and wellness consultant at the Benefit Services Group, Inc. In this role, she helps employers identify and apply creative solutions that address well-being at both the employee and the organizational levels. Michelle earned her Master’s degree in both Communications and Health Education. Her professional credentials include certifications as a masters-level health educations specialist in worksite wellness consultant and a faculty designation from WELCOA.

Focus: An Essential Leadership Skill

 

Expert Interview: Sara Johnson, Ph.D. (Part 2)

Sara Johnson, Ph.D. , as Co-president and CEO, leads the Business Development and Strategy Initiatives for Pro-Change Behavior Systems. Sara brings to her role over twenty years of experience in developing behavior change solutions in a variety of domains, including weight management, smoking cessation, medication adherence, and medical education. She has been the principal investigator on over $6 million dollars of research in National Institute of Health grants to examine the effectiveness of trans-theoretical model-based interventions. She is currently leading new research initiative to integrate individual and culture-level interventions to enhance well-being, increase engagement with evidence-based mobile apps that promote behavior change, and to develop interventions for pain self-management, sleep, and financial well-being.

Healthy Behaviors Start with Workplace Culture

 

Expert Interview: Sara Johnson, Ph.D. (Part 1)

Sara Johnson, Ph.D. , as Co-president and CEO, leads the Business Development and Strategy Initiatives for Pro-Change Behavior Systems. Sara brings to her role over twenty years of experience in developing behavior change solutions in a variety of domains, including weight management, smoking cessation, medication adherence, and medical education. She has been the principal investigator on over $6 million dollars of research in National Institute of Health grants to examine the effectiveness of trans-theoretical model-based interventions. She is currently leading new research initiative to integrate individual and culture-level interventions to enhance well-being, increase engagement with evidence-based mobile apps that promote behavior change, and to develop interventions for pain self-management, sleep, and financial well-being.

Why is behavior change so hard?

 

Is your workplace well-being program built to last?

 Is your workplace well-being program built to last? Will it sustain changes in leadership or program management, budget cuts, and changing employee interests?

Does your employee well-being program have a brand?

 We’ve often heard the ‘quote’ if you build it they will come. But when it comes to well-being programs, you have to do more than just build a program.

Expert Interview: Brian Passon

Brian takes great joy in being constructively disruptive, and helping people in organizations think and act in ways that facilitate their success and see what really is possible. Brian speaks and consults with people and organizations to inspire more meaningful, strategic, and joyful employee experiences. He believes that to change the culture of a workplace, we must focus on long-term objectives and that are supported with the right infusion of strategy, science, creativity, and “edu-tainment.” Along with being a co-founder and facilitator of Wellness Underground, Brian has also started and led several networking groups across the U.S. around employee health and productivity, and has facilitated the technology start up Quantified Habits.

What would your employees say about their employee experience?

 

Expert Interview: Rosemary Froehlich

Rosemary Froehlich spent over 15 years in Corporate Human Resources and a decade in marketing and advertising.  As the person responsible for running the company’s wellness program, she knew which communications got attention, which newsletters and webinars attracted subscribers and attendees, and which special reports she forwarded to senior management. In this video Rosemary talks about the the importance of communications to the success of workplace wellbeing. In this video we answer the questions: 1. Elements of effective wellness program communications 2. Why it is important to create a brand for your wellness program, 3. Common mistakes in wellness program communications.

The secret to increasing employee wellbeing program participation

Senior leaders want to know that the money being spent on employee wellbeing programs is having impact. A key metric in evaluating and measuring program impact is employee participation. All too often I hear from human resource and wellbeing professionals about the low levels of participation in their programs. This is a concern, especially when having to justify the reach of their initiative to senior leaders.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of June 8, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week on our theme of resilience. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of May 28, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week on our theme of communications. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of May 21, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week's theme is retention and wellbeing. See my blog, Do Your Employees Love Their Jobs. Don't miss my expert interview with Linda St. John, Founder and Principal of LSJ Leadership Coaching and an employee retention expert

Expert Interview: Linda StJohn

Linda St. John is Founder and Principal of LSJ Leadership Coaching, a Worcester, MA firm that specializes in employee retention. Linda’s work focuses on developing and implementing talent management initiatives, such as onboarding, mentoring, and coaching all with a focus on helping client companies hire and keep the right people.

Do your employees love their job?

I recently asked the question “Do You Love Your Job”? In the nearly 1,000 likes and 72 comments on my article, the overwhelming response was YES people love their jobs. For employers it is a constant challenge to create an environment where employees are happy, love their jobs, and want to stay.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of May 14, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week's theme is women's health in celebration of Women's Health Week. See my blog, Women's Health Why Employers Should Care. Don't miss my expert interview with Mache Seibel, MDone of America’s leading voices on women’s wellness and menopause. 

Expert Interview: Dr. Mache Seibel, MD

Dr. Mache Seibel helps women in and around menopause figure it out so they don’t have to tough it out. Dr. Seibel is one of America’s leading voices on women’s wellness and menopause. He is a highly sought-after health communicator and keynote speaker, who combines health information with original music, humor and stories that emotionally capture the audience and holds their attention, while the medicine goes down.

Women’s Health: Why Employers Should Care

As we celebrate Mother’s Day in the US, it’s also a good time to think about women’s health. Today women make up 47% of the US workforce. That amounts to 74.6 million women in the civilian workforce. There is good news and bad news with regard to women’s health. Women are more likely to seek medical care than men, yet women’s health care is more costly. 

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of May 7, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week's theme is gratitude and discovering purpose at work. Don't miss my expert interview with Star Dargin,  CEO of Star Leadership, LLC and author of the new book, Leading with Gratitude.

Expert Interview: Star Dargin

Star Dargin is the CEO of Star Leadership, LLC. In her roles as speaker, teacher, facilitator, consultant, and coach, Star and her associates have worked with many leaders, executives, managers, and business owners in all phases of their personal, professional, and organizational growth. In this interview she shares her expertise in the science of gratitude and its application in the workplace. 

Gratitude: A Leadership Standard of Excellence

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
G.K. Chesterton

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of April 30, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week's theme is happiness at work. Don't miss my expert interview with Silvia GarciaCEO and Founder of Feel Logic and HappiestPlacestoWork.org.

Expert Interview: Silvia Garcia

Silvia Garcia is the CEO and Founder of Feel Logic and HappiestPlacestoWork.org, and former Director of the Coca-Cola Happiness Insitute. Her work focuses on helping organizations get a competitive advantage by helping employees thrive. Through Silvia's expertise, we gain a better understanding not only of what true happiness is, but what employers can to do support employee happiness in the workplace.

The Secrets to Happiness at Work

Are you happy at work? Happiness in the workplace has been a topic of interest for several years, and with good reason. With reports of low levels of engaged employees and employee turnover at the highest rate in years, employers need to keep employee happiness on the radar. Happiness in the workplace links not only to engagement and retention, but also to attracting the right talent to the organization.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of April 23, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week's theme is connection and belonging at work. Don't miss my blog about the importance of stepping away from your desk to connect at work, and an expert interview with Sara Mann, a Connector-in-Chief.

Expert Interview: Sarah Mann

Sarah Mann is the Principal and Connector in Chief of Spark HR Solutionswhich provides practical and strategic HR solutions to business challenges, enabling organizations to leverage their talent and meet objectives.

Step Away From The Desk and Connect

Have you ever eaten lunch at your desk? If you are like many people, this may be a daily occurrence. Perhaps you feel pressured to keep working, or you want to work through lunch so that you can head out early to beat the traffic.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of April 16, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week's theme is employee engagement. Don't miss my blog about my visit to Zappos and an expert interview with Janet Swaysland, employee engagement expert.

Expert Interview: Janet Swaysland

Janet Swaysland of Bluefire Partners works with leaders and teams to understand what's working and what's in the way; create new structures and frameworks for more effective communication; devise creative approaches to content and channels; and help internal teams up their game and gain new influence across the organization. In this expert interview we discuss how to spot employees who are genuinely engaged workers. We also explore when an employee is motivated, what are they connected to that motivates them? Most importantly, we talk about the business impact of an engaged workforce.


The Secret to Employee Engagement: My Tour of Zappos

For the past several years, the business world and particularly the HR world has been focused on the concept of employee engagement. Way back in 2013, Gallup reported that only 13% of employees worldwide were engaged. The good news is that more recent reports indicate a higher percentage of workers engaged – 32% in the US. Since then, the race has been to find the secret to increasing employee engagement.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of April 9, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

The Business Imperative of Well-Being

We hear about health care all the time. It represents 18% of GDP. Yet, what we're not hearing about is a change from the model we use here in the United States, which is an employer funded model. For now, it's here to stay. We also know that businesses profit from healthy employees. So what can you do in your organization to bring well-being to the forefront and make the connection between well-being and profitability?

Do your leaders understand the business imperative of wellbeing?

I’d like you to think back to your first job. Your first corporate job. What was that job like? I was a clerk, coding premium payments at a life insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. It wasn’t a very intellectually challenging or stimulating job, but I quickly learned there was something that was really special about this place that I was working. 

Expert Interview: Brian Luke Seaward

Brian Luke Seaward is a renowned nationally and internationally as an expert in the field of stress management, mind/body/spirit healing and corporate health promotion. We know stress permeates our workplace culture in negatively impactful ways. This interview explores how we define wellbeing in relationship to stress, what causes stress, and what we can do to address its effect in the workplace. 


Why are your employees so stressed?

It seems everyone I speak with these days is talking about his or her stress. In 2011, stress was described as the “21st century equivalent of the Black Death” For context on this, the Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. It resulted in as many as 200 million deaths in Eurasia and Europe from 1347 to 1351. In 2016, the World Health Organization described stress as the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century” and is estimated to cost American businesses up to $500 billion a year.

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of March 26, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

In our social media postings this week, we focused on wellbeing as a talent management strategy. Don't miss our blog and video on this topic.

Wellbeing as a Talent Management Strategy: Video

Not long ago, I had a conversation with a Chief Human Resource Officer, and here’s what she said to me: “Wellbeing is the cornerstone of our talent management strategy.”

I looked at her and said, "Wow, that’s a really strong statement. I’m curious, can you tell me a little bit more about why wellbeing is so important for your talent management strategy?"

Wellbeing is the New Talent Management Strategy - And It Works. 

Not long ago, I had a conversation with a Chief Human Resource Officer, and here’s what she said to me: “Wellbeing is the cornerstone of our talent management strategy.”

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of March 19, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Expert Interview: Leigh Stringer

The focus of wellness programs used to be on reducing health risks, with the goal of reducing health care costs. Now we understand that the financial benefits of employee wellbeing are most impactful on a company's bottom line. No one knows this better than Workplace Researcher and Strategist, Leigh Stringer, of EYP Inc. In this interview, Leigh details the research and strategies used by top companies to compete for the top line as well as the bottom line through the use of employee wellbeing.

The Bottom Line: Do Employee Wellbeing Initiatives Impact Profits?

Top Three Workplace Wellbeing Articles - Week of March 12th, 2018

Each week I read a number of workplace wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Don't miss this blog from earlier this week "Is employee financial wellbeing your business?". Also, don't miss this week's Expert Interview with Lora Fickett, CPA.

Expert Interview: Lora Fickett

Financial wellbeing is an important dimension of our overall wellbeing. In this interview with Lora Fickett, CPA, we explore how financial wellbeing causes stress for employees and the role employers can play in supporting employee wellbeing from the financial perspective.

Is Employee Financial Wellbeing Your Business?

When you think about financial wellbeing. What comes to mind? Does it mean having money in savings, paying your bills on time, having an investment or retirement plan? Are you one of those people who wait until April 14th to think about tax filing? Financial wellbeing really means different things to different people. Your employees are likely all at different places in terms of the approach they take to managing money.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of March 5th, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Don't miss this blog from earlier this week "Who needs a wellness strategy: successful businesses that's who".

Wellbeing Program Expert Tips: Strategy

Every successful business has a well-thought out strategy. Wellbeing initiatives are no exception. To be successful, every business needs to have a strategy for the goals they want to achieve, and this includes employee wellness.

Who needs a wellness strategy? Successful businesses, that's who. 

When I first came to the field of workplace wellness over a decade ago, I came from a business background. I noticed there was very little written about, or well-adopted practices, on planning wellness programs. Every successful business has a well-thought out strategy. By definition, strategy is a high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. A wellbeing program certainly falls under the category of "conditions of uncertainty," health and wellbeing is an ever-moving target. To be successful, every business needs to have a strategy for the goals they want to achieve, and that includes employee wellbeing.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of February 26, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week in our blog postings and social media we focused on a theme of social connections in the workplace. Don't miss this blog "A Surprising Key to Improve Employee Communications: Let's Go Bowling" or this Expert Interview with Nettie Nitzberg of West 5 Consulting.

Expert Interview: Nettie Nitzberg

In this expert interview with Nettie Nitzberg, of West 5 Consulting, we explore the topic of employee resource groups (ERG) and how they foster connection in the workplace.

A Surprising Key to Improve Employee Communication: Go Bowling!

I have fond childhood memories of bowling. It was a fun thing to do on a cold, wintry weekend. In New England, we have candlepin bowling, so regardless of age or skill level you could still participate and still have fun.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of February 19th, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week in our blog postings and social media we focused on a theme of the role managers play in supporting wellbeing. Don't miss this blog "Middle Managers: Wellbeing's Biggest Supporters or Greatest Threat?" or this Expert Interview with Laura Putnam of Motion Infusion.

Expert Interview: Laura Putnam

In the Workplace Wellbeing Essentials Expert Series interview, my guest is Laura Putnam. In this conversation, we explore the role that managers play in supporting wellbeing in the workplace.

Middle Managers: Wellbeing's Biggest Supporters or Greatest Threat?

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of February 12th, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week we focused on a theme of support for employees in the form of Employee Assistance Programs. Don't miss this blog "What motivates an employer to offer an EAP?" or this Expert Interview with Kathy Greer of KGA.

Workplace Wellbeing Evaluation

In my experience in managing workplace wellbeing initiatives and consulting to clients with existing programs, I often see that evaluating wellbeing initiatives is often overlooked.

 

Why you might ask, is it often overlooked? Many organizations just don’t take the time to make a plan for it or evaluation is added as an afterthought.

 

When we talk about an evaluation plan, we are referring to a systematic way that you are going to measure the results of your initiative. So why do you want to evaluate? The easiest answer is because you want to know if your worksite wellness initiative is working. Or even better, because you want to know if the initiative is efficient, effective, and has impact.

 

There are two approaches you can use to evaluating your programs: Process Measures and Outcome Measures.

 

Process measures examine the steps taken and activities required for implementation.

  • These measures include things such as participation, the response to activities and feelings that participants have about the program. Do employees like the way it is being delivered? Is the time of day convenient? Do they like the format? .

Outcome measures include changes to health risks, biometric measurements healthcare costs and productivity.

  • Examples include changes to individual health status indicators such as blood pressure, Body mass index, or they can be measured in terms of organizational data such as Short Term Disability. Absenteeism, changes in workplace policies, or medical costs.

 

Evaluation needs to be built in along the way as you are implementing your programs. This is very helpful to have information on what is working, what is not working, and what needs to be changed. Then you can make mid course corrections to ensure high participation rates and overall program success.

Expert Interview: Kathy Greer

In this expert interview with Kathy Greer of KGA, Inc., we talk about employee assistance programs and the benefits they provide to both employees and employers.

What motivates an employer to offer an EAP?

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of February 5th, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week we focused on a theme of mindfulness in the workplace. Don't miss this blog "How to Influence Innovative Thinking and Motivate People: A Culture of Mindfulness" or this Expert Interview with Tara Healey of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

Expert Interview: Tara Healey

Is mindfulness in the workplace just a passing fad? Why is it becoming so popular? Why now? In this expert interview with Tara Healey of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, we explore why mindfulness is here to stay.

How to Influence Innovative Thinking and Motivate People: A Culture of Mindfulness

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of January 29th, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week we focused on a theme of creativity in the workplace. Don't miss this blog "Fostering Creative Minds: Does Your Office Culture Kill Creativity at Work" or this Expert Interview with Rochelle Seltzer.

Expert Interview: Rochelle Seltzer

Does your workplace foster creativity? Do you feel most creative when you are at work? What does creativity have to do with wellbeing? In this expert interview with Rochelle Seltzer, we explore aspects of creativity at work. And don't miss our blog Fostering Creative Minds: Does Your Office Culture Kill Creativity at Work?

 

Fostering Creative Minds: Does Your Office Culture Kill Creativity at Work?

When you think about creativity at work. What comes to mind? Developing new and innovative products that meet some previously unmet need. New ideas. Taking risks.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of January 22nd, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week we focused on a theme of healthy eating in the workplace. Don't miss this blog 'Nourish or Nosh: Food at Work .' or this video interview with Leslee McGovern, RD, LDN.

Expert Interview: Leslee McGovern

It would be hard to get through a workday without food. Food can be a part of the culture in a workplace. But how healthy is the food in your workplace? In this expert interview, Leslee McGovern, MS, RD, LDCN, CWPM discusses nutrtion in the workplace and how organizations can serve as a role model by offering healthy choices.  You can also read our previous blog on food at work here.

 

Nourish or Nosh? Food at Work.

Food is essential for life. Food is comfort. Food is love. Food is social. Food is cultural. Food is many things to many people. At work, food comes in many shapes and forms. In a previous blog, we noted that food plays many roles at work and can be deeply embedded in the organization’s culture. It is used to recognize and reward employees (company breakfasts), foster socialization and interaction between employees (ice cream socials), provide convenient sources of energy (vending machine) or it can be a perk (free snacks).

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of January 15th, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week we focused on a theme of leading wellbeing. Don't miss this blog 'If you don't care, it doesn' happen: leading wellbeing.' or this video interview with Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO of Wisdom Works.

Expert Interview: Renee Moorefield, PhD, MCC

The role of leadership in wellbeing initiatives is important. What does it mean for a CEO or manager to lead wellbeing? In this expert interview, Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO/Founder of Wisdom Works, talks about the role leaders play in wellbeing in the workplace and how organizations are viewing wellbeing.  You can also read our previous blogs on leading wellbeing here.

If You Don't Care, It Doesn't Happen: Leading Wellbeing

Early on in my career in the field of worksite wellness, I learned that one of recognized best practices for a wellness initiative is to have senior leadership support. In the years that followed, as I worked with a variety of clients, it became clear quickly that without the support of senior leadership, the commitment to the wellness initiative was just not a reality.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of January 8th, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

This week we focused on a theme of healthy workplaces from the built environment perspective. Don't miss this blog 'Creating a well workplace: why the built environment matters' or this video interview with Delos Senior VP Whitney Gray, PhD, LEED AP.

Expert Interview: Whitney Gray, PhD, LEED AP

The environment in which we live and work shapes our wellbeing and influences our health. In this expert interview, Whitney Gray, PhD, LEED AP, Senior Vice President of Delos, talks about the ways in which the built environment impact our health. You can also read our previous blogs on this topic here and here.

Creating a well workplace: Why the built environment matters.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of January 1, 2018

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of December 25th 2017

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of December 11th 2017

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of December 4th 2017

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Top Three Wellbeing Articles - Week of November 27th

Each week I read a number of wellbeing articles from various online resources. Here are my top three picks from this week. I have added my comments about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

Is your workplace building making you sick?

Vacation: Good for Employees and Good for Business

As the temperatures begin to rise and daylight extends later into the evening hours, it is easy to think about summer plans and vacation time. Yet, it appears that this is not on everyone’s mind. According to Project: Time Off, 55% of American employees left vacation time unused in 2015, leaving an astounding 658 million days unused. Only 47% of employees will use all their vacation time.

Free to Roam: The Flexible Workplace

When I decided to start my own business after years of working in a corporate setting, I was looking forward to the flexibility that it offered. I would get to choose how I spent my time and what my day looked like, and where I did that work. Increasingly employees are asking for more flexibility in their workdays. They are asking for flexibility in when they work, where they work and how they work. Inherently as humans, we want to have choice. Autonomy is one of the key motivators that drives people to do their best and most productive work. Today, flexibility in the workplace is essential to attract and retain your workforce.

Don’t Put a Band-Aid on a Bullet Wound: Root Causes of Employee Stress


Not long ago, I had a conversation with a Human Resource professional that went something like this. “For the past five years, on our employee engagement surveys there is a clear message about the stress in the workplace.” In that survey, employees were asked questions such as:
  • Choose the adjectives that best describes the culture of the organization
  • People who are successful in the organization (choice of options)

Is there an app for that? Not exactly…

As the Champion for our Wellbeing initiative, Advancing Our Own Wellness, I recently reviewed the aggregate data for our annual personal health assessment.

In our action plans we like to use the latest technology, testing it before we recommend new programs to our clients. For most any program we think, "Surely, there's an app for that!" But this time we weren't so sure...

Workplace Well-being Trends 2017


We’re off and running in 2017. As we work with our clients partnering for healthier workplaces, we see changes afoot. Here is our take on what we see happening in healthy workplaces in 2017.

From Distracted to Driven


I feel like I am sliding into home plate as I settled into my chair. The meeting has already begun. I am rushing from my last meeting with barely time to take a bio break. I need a moment to switch gears, to get my thoughts prepared for the conversation for which I am physically present but not quite “in the room” yet.

Once I catch my breath, and I engage in the conversation, I notice that my mind is wandering. Random thoughts are running through my head. Did I remember to mail the mortgage payment? What time am I supposed to be at the event this evening? I feel the urge to reach for my cell phone. I’m finding I’m distracted by these thoughts and lose track of the conversation.

Three Ways You’re Doing Worksite Wellness Wrong (And How to Get It Right!)


 

Most wellness programs are designed while looking through the lens of money. Who are the most expensive employees? What can we do to change those employees so they will cost less? What you get when this is your focus is policies that charge overweight, tobacco-using employees more money for health insurance than their slender, healthier counterparts and all but forces these individuals into programs that they may or may not be ready for or even interested in participating in.

These are the wellness programs where very little changes in overall employee health and the money you were hoping to save goes down the drain along with the additional cost of your failing wellness program.

 

AdvancingWellness CEO Honored by CDC


AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan Recognized at Inaugural Work@Health® Conference:

ATLANTA, GA. On Friday, September 23rd, AdvancingWellness CEO, Mari Ryan, received the Outstanding Master Trainer award during the inaugural Work@Health® Conference co-hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ASHLIN Management Group.

Celebrating the Launch of Working on Wellness

AdvancingWellness is pleased to celebrate the launch of the Working on Wellness program.
Last week we welcomed the first group of Massachusetts employers in to the program.
Working on Wellness is Massachusetts' newest initiative to support employers implementing comprehensive, evidence-based worksite wellness initiatives. The program specifically aims to reach businesses or organizations that are smaller, have low-wage workers, and do not have the internal capacity to implement a comprehensive wellness program.

Workplace Wellness: The indisputable, the debatable and where we go from here

Every HR professional has a full plate of responsibilities - and
workplace wellness has become a standard item on the menu. Especially in light of the Supreme Court's recent ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, it is likely that workplace wellness is here to stay.  Meanwhile, workplace wellness is a field that has more questions than answers, and HR professionals are often left trying to sort out the pieces.

The Secret to Outstanding Business Performance

Every senior business leader is on the continual search for the Holy Grail that will help improve performance of his/her business. The highway to business success is littered with the remnants of many fads that were thought to be that Holy Grail: management by objectives, total quality management, Theory Z, and many more. With each passing decade, there is a new approach that comes completely outfitted with jargon, consultants, and certifications. Whether these really work is the question. And do they produce long lasting business performance?

New Massachusetts Worksite Wellness Program

Invest in your company by investing in your employees’ health and well-being!

Four Tips for Being A Better Health Advocate

A scan of Steven Keating’s brain eight years ago revealed a slight abnormality — nothing to worry about, he was told, but worth monitoring. And monitor he did, reading and studying about brain structure, function and wayward cells, and obtaining a follow-up scan in 2010, which showed no trouble.

Coping Mechanisms: When You’re Stressed What Works for You

As a worksite wellness health coach, part of my job is working one-on-one with tobacco users. Over the years, my clients and I have had a lot of good laughs together over the question, “Don’t you realize that smoking is bad for you?” Most of them have had this question posed to them hundreds of times by friends, family, and complete strangers. As they point out, “Of course I know smoking is bad for me. I would have to literally live under a rock to not know that smoking increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Lack of knowledge is not why I am still smoking.”

When you ask them why they still smoke despite their

Love your job?

Do you love your job? How do you think your employees would respond if you asked that question?

Is US Missing Out on Reasons Worksite Wellness is Good for Business?

By Valorie Bender, CWPM

I have been working in the field of corporate health promotion for over five years. During that time I have read studies and listened to expert speakers explain how companies have saved, or may save, on health care costs by implementing a wellness program. I honestly believe, over time, a well executed and comprehensive wellness program can achieve such results. I have also come to believe there are other, perhaps more compelling, reasons to have a wellness program. The rest of world seems to agree. A 2014 survey[i] of over 1,000 companies from around the world, shared why their organizations participate in corporate wellness.

When is Work the Source of Stress

In a recent conversation with a Human Resources Executive,
he asked if my company offers stress management programs as part of a worksite wellness program. I responded yes, and quickly asked his permission to ask a couple of questions. I explained that we often find that stress is a symptom of some underlying issue or issues. Our preference is to not just treat the symptoms but to uncover the true underlying issue. He pondered this for a moment and continued to tell me his story.

Realistic Expectations of a Worksite Well-being Program

As I sat across the table with one of our clients during our
annual review and planning session for their worksite wellbeing (wellness) program, I observed concerned, contemplative faces examining the data before them. One team member looked up and said to me, “I am worried that we haven’t made any significant changes in the BMI category. We’ve been at this for nearly five years and this still hasn’t really changed.” As tough as it was to hear, he was right. The numbers were not budging.  While we had seen changes in other metrics, there had been very little change in the BMI biometric over five years.

When To Give Up On A Worksite Wellness Program

It is not unusual for me to encounter employers who say they want a wellness program. In many cases, they have taken one or two small steps to implement one but they are not getting the results they were hoping for. If your program has fallen flat you may want to take a look at the following items.

AW CEO Mari Ryan Appointed Worksite Wellness Master Instructor

AdvancingWellness is pleased to announce the appointment of CEO Mari Ryan as a Master Instructor by the Chapman Institute. The Chapman Institute is recognized as one of the country’s leading educational programs for worksite wellness professionals. The WellCert program offers practical, experienced-based training and certification resources that promote professional development and establish a research-driven best practice standard for wellness practitioners. “We are delighted to have Mari working with us in this role. She brings a depth of hands-on experience from her years of managing and implementing workplace wellness programs on behalf of AdvancingWellness clients. Her vision and passion as a thought leader in our industry will be extremely valuable to those who participate in the WellCert programs she leads.” said Larry Chapman, founder of the Chapman Institute.

Employee Well-being: If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Manage It

Early in my career, a client taught me “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
That lesson stuck with me as I went on to manage a variety of other business operations. When I came to the field of workplace health promotion, I learned about the best practice of program evaluation. Traditionally, this is based on measuring key statistics such as employee participation, changes in health risk status, and change in health care costs.

Worksite Culture of Well-being Made Easy

When my kids would come home from school I would
have a healthy snack waiting for them on the kitchen counter. They always ate what was laid out for them, happily and with no complaints. I am sure if I had a bowl of candy they would have happily consumed that as well. Having the healthy food in reach as they walked in the door is an example of making the healthy choice the easy choice. That is what we are always striving for when creating a healthy culture in the workplace. One of the best ways to do that in the workplace is to take a look at the organizational policies, both formal and informal, that can support or sabotage a worksite well-being. An added bonus - changing or implementing policy can be one of those low hanging fruit items, which often can be easily implemented and low cost.

Worksite Wellness Shouldn’t Focus on Getting Inactive People Active

I am a long distance athlete. If you had told my 20 year old self that my 35 year old self would be a seasoned marathon runner and ironman triathlete I’d have laughed and told you that running wasn’t a sport, running was the thing “real sports” use for punishment. In terms of exercise habits, I was fairly typical of most Americans. I would decide it was time to lose weight, I would make a resolution, I would join a gym, maybe buy some home-gym equipment, and I would exercise three or four times a week for about a month, maybe three if I was really motivated. Then, slowly, I would stop going until, by the six-month mark, I’d abandon my efforts completely. If I couldn’t get my act together enough to exercise regularly in my 20s, when physical activity is supposed to be “easier,” how did I manage to run my first marathon at the age of 30 and, better than that, stick to my exercise routine so well that I actually became a running coach? What changed? The answer is “community.”

Chasing the carrot or eating the carrot

Are wellness program incentives really working?

Workplace Culture: Let's Get Physical

Creating a workplace culture that supports well-being means looking for opportunities to incorporate movement into everyone’s day on a consistent basis. Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to increase your energy level. So how about an energy boost at the start of every meeting at work? A great way to do this is to start every meeting with a few minutes of physical activity.

Workplace Culture: Disease in Vatican City

I’m standing up applauding Pope Francis for his leadership. He has one of the toughest leadership jobs in the world. He’s the chief executive of the smallest country in the world and at the same time the world’s largest Christian religion.

In his first annual Christmas address to the Curia, the equivalent of his senior leadership team, he lambasted them by describing the diseases overtaking their culture. He stated "a church that doesn't try to improve is like a sick body." He specifically categorized these into diseases: “of feeling immortal or indispensable", "pathology of power," “loss of compassion” and “terrorism of gossip”. Ouch! No doubt the members of the Curia are feeling slammed by their senior leader’s public statements about the dysfunction of this team. While airing this in public may not be the best approach to dealing with management issues, perhaps Pope Francis felt that a dramatic move was necessary.

The Power of Purpose

The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder -- waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.

Worksite Culture of Well-being

My first real ‘career’ job was working for a life insurance company in Hartford Connecticut. Given that it was my first job, I didn’t have any base for comparison. I had only worked for very small companies not a large company such as this one, which had 1,800 employees in the home office. There were many amenities in the home office, including a cafeteria, on-site clinic offering free dental screenings, a bowling alley, showers, squash and volleyball courts. Given that I was so young, I figured all big businesses must offer these amenities. I ended up staying at this company for nine years. Had I not relocated to a different state, I might still be working there. It was a “great place to work”, long before this became a standard recognition in the workplace.

Got engaged employees?

A sustainably engaged workforce is essential to business success. AdvancingWellness CEO Mari Ryan recently presented at The Alliance for Business Leadership Fall CEO Summit. The theme for the Summit was Growing Margins, Growing Markets. You can read her blog on employee well-being as a key to sustainably engaged employees and see her slides from the event here.

Is Your Workforce Energized?

Meet ‘Melissa’, after 20 years with the same job and years of struggling with
body image and weight gain, she decided she need to make some changes in her life. She interviewed with a company for a new job.   During the interview process she was pleasantly surprised to learn about the company’s welll-being program. She got the job and felt lucky to be so supported by her new employer. She was inspired by those around her who were excellent role models for making healthy choices. Melissa participated in the company pedometer challenge, then joined the company Weight Watchers program and decided to train for a 5K race. Over the next six months, Melissa lost over forty pounds and exclaims each day she is able to give more on the job and off because she has so much energy.

The Essence of Energy

The Essence of Energy - Well being Series

The world of worksite wellness has traditionally been almost exclusively
about physical health. Are you healthy, are you absent from disease, do you eat right, exercise, etc.? But in the world of wellness, a shift is underway. New research is showing a host of other factors contribute to your overall health and well-being, such as how connected you are to others, your finances, your purpose, your environment and community all play a large role.

Improve your well-being by cultivating strong social connections

How do you cultivate strong, healthy social connections?

I have up and moved to a new city several times over the last fifteen years or so. Most of these moves have been career-driven, but some of them were financial choices, while others sprang from a need to “shake things up.” Each time I made a big move, as exciting as it was to start a new job or a new adventure, one element of starting over I have found particularly difficult and often leaves me feeling down and lonely is saying goodbye to the people I love and having to start anew with making friends.

Well-being - Community

How community connection impacts your well-being

I come from an enormous, Middle-eastern family. Think “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
and you will get the gist of what it is like to spend time with my relatives. What is different about my family from that fictional movie family is that my family still lives in their small village across the ocean and I was born in the United States, with only my immediate family close by.

How does purpose influence your wellbeing?

What is the first question people often ask when you first meet?
It is usually – “what do you do”? If you are like me, you respond by describing your work. You spend the majority of your waking hours doing something you consider, a career, vocation, occupation or job.  Perhaps a better question is: “How do you feel about what you do?” If you find what you do to be enjoyable and filled with meaning you, are likely to be thriving in the well-being dimension of Purpose.

 

Personally

When you think of your overall well-being, purpose is probably not the first item on your list. Yet research is starting to show this may be the most important of all the elements of well-being. If you don’t spend the majority of your day doing something you enjoy, the odds of having high well-being in other dimensions diminishes rapidly. 

Think about it. Imagine you have a great circle of friends and family, you are secure financially and in good health – but you don’t like what you do each day for work or you have a toxic boss. Chances are, much of your social time is spent worrying or complaining about how unhappy you are in your endeavor. This causes stress, which takes a toll on your physical health. If you don’t have a purpose, you can see how this can deteriorate the other areas of your life. Purpose in life can have a positive effect on longevity, disease and even DNA repair.[i]

 

Well-being - Money

What does it mean to be thriving in the well-being dimension of money?
The easiest way to relate to this is to recall a time in your life when you weren’t thriving in this dimension. It may have been a time when you were out of work, or had more debt than income. That experience of contrast probably gave you a clear understanding of what it feels like to struggle financially.

American psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a highly regarded theory of needs. At the bottom are the basic physiological needs such as breathing, food, water, sleep, and sex. Once these needs are met, we then ascend to the next level. At the second level is safety. This level encompasses physical safety, such as not living in an area where you feel threatened, security found in family, health and financial resources. The physiological and safety needs encompass our basic needs. If these levels of needs are not met, it becomes difficult to ascend to the next level.

2014 Worksite Wellness Council of MA Annual Conference

What is well-being?

What is well-being?

When you think of the concept of well-being. What comes to mind? Being healthy, not sick? Being loved? Being satisfied with life and happy? The AdvancingWellness team asked a few friends what well-being means to them, and here’s as representative sample of the comments we received:

World Cup Mania - All About Community


Anyone who knows me would say that I’m a sports fan. A hockey fan absolutely. A football fan, sure. But a soccer fan – never. Yet, here I am, following the news, checking the FIFA app on my phone, and checking my schedule to be sure I can watch the US team in action. It’s so easy to be captivated by this sport that is followed so widely throughout the world. Part of that appeal comes from rooting for our team and from being part of something so much bigger than any one individual.

Being part of a community may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about our own wellbeing. Yet, according to research on wellbeing, being part of a community can actually be ‘the differentiator between a good life and a great one.” [1] The social interaction of being part of a community can boost your overall wellbeing. We really thrive when we give back to our community.

Why Your Worksite Wellness Program Needs a Plan

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Benjamin Franklin

Our late, great forefather is often cited for this quote.
And how many times I remind self when I get into some situation where I didn’t want to be, that I should have heeded his advice. If I had just taken some time to plan a little better, I wouldn't be in the predicament I find myself in.

Pool Party!

When I was a kid, there were two families in my neighborhood that had pools.
All summer long, whenever my parents wanted to know where we were, they just called over to one of those neighbors. We lived in the pool. I remember what fun it was.