The Importance of Valuing Employees (and Showing it)

Toni Sperlbaum                                                                                               VP of Sales and Marketing


March is Employee Appreciation Month – what a great opportunity to take a step back and evaluate how your organization is showing your employees how much you appreciate them.  There are obvious reasons as to why this is important, but did you know there is actual business strategy behind employees feeling valued and appreciated?

Here are the stats:

  • Companies with strategic recognition reported a mean employee turnover rate that is 23.4% lower than retention at companies without a program
  • Organizations who recognize their employees exhibit 28.6% lower employee frustration levels than companies who don’t
  • In a recent study by Forbes, companies that scored in the top 20% for building a recognition rich culture enjoyed a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate
  • Praise and commendation from managers was rated the top motivator for performance, beating out other noncash and financial incentives, by a majority of workers (67%)

Employee engagement is defined as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals”.  Providing recognition has had a proven impact on employee engagement.

  • Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace
  • When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “Give recognition”
  • When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement

This INCLUDES engagement in wellness program!  In fact, Gallup found that managers alone are 70% responsible for wellness participation.  This includes the manager’s ability to make their employee feel valued and appreciated, in addition to being approachable, communicating well, encouraging participation and even “giving permission” to participate.

Here are some easy ways to start recognizing employees today:

  • Profile recognized in employee newsletter
  • Social media on your public page recognizing employees for their accomplishments (what a great recruitment tool, too!)
  • Send a handwritten note
  • Call an employee to your office just to thank them (without discussing any other business or issue)
  • Create a specific award that shows appreciation for people who go above and beyond
  • Include praise as an agenda item at staff meetings
  • Acknowledge individual achievements by using employee’s names when preparing a status report
  • Have a sticky pad of “You Rock” sticky notes on your desk. Write one short note of praise to an employee each day.
  • Collect testimonials from your customers and start a testimonial wall (see picture of HPA’s testimonial wall)
  • There are high tech, comprehensive programs out there you can invest in (check out terryberry.com, a Grand Rapids based recognition company) that provide great engagement by managers and results to an improved company cultures and in return, business outcomes.

April is National Stress Awareness Month

                                                                                      Olivia Keeley                                                                                         Winter Wellness Intern


Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month? Probably not, because we constantly try to ignore the mental and physical demands stress brings upon us. According to the American Psychological Association, a survey taken in 2017 reported 80% of respondents experiencing at least one symptom of stress in the past month. Stress happens to all of us. Sometimes it seems unavoidable and overbearing. Whether a stressful situation occurs at work, home, school, or on the roads we must learn ways to cope with it. It is always important to remember that taking time for yourself is essential for your mental and physical health. It’s healthy to relax, renew, and rejuvenate!

According to the American Heart Association, stress can lead to a lot of unwanted complications. Health troubles such as: heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, weight gain, concentration and memory issues, sleep problems, depression, headaches, anxiety, and digestive complications are few of many health related issues that could take a toll on your body. Negative stress can prevent us from performing our best physically, mentally, and emotionally. Although no one lives a completely stress free life, we can still manage it throughout the week.

The American Heart Association provides healthy habits we can turn to in a stressful situation:

  • Stress-Busting Activities – Try doing activities that allow you to relax or avert your negative energy to something positive! Meditation, journaling, playing a favorite sport, taking a walk in nature, exercising, or listening to music are just a few activities you can attempt to limit your stress.
  • Positive Self-Talk – Rather than letting a stressful situation put you down, try shifting your thoughts from negative to positive by changing your mindset. Instead of saying, “Everything is going wrong” try switching that to “I can handle this one step at a time”. Or, instead of saying something like, “I can’t do this” try saying “I’ll do the best I can. I’ve got this”.
  • Give Up Bad Habits – Having too much alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine can increase blood pressure and heighten feelings of anxiety. Try cutting back on those unhealthy habits to reduce your stress.
  • Laugh Often – Laughter enhances your mood and helps you forget about things that may cause you to stress out. Listen to a funny podcast or put on a comedic movie. Tell jokes with friends and share laughter together!
  • Slow Down – Plan ahead and stay organized with a planner or desk calendar so you don’t have too much on your plate at once. Without having to rush to get things done, you will feel calmer and satisfied that you’re ahead of schedule.

When you take these small steps to manage your stress, you will feel more creative, more alive, and have time to appreciate small moments of happiness.  Furthermore, you will be able to recognize when you need to take time for yourself to be your healthiest version of you!

Going Beyond Diet and Exercise

portrait-circle-toni copy

 Toni Sperlbaum, CWWPM, CHWC, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

When you think of the term “wellness program”, the first thing that often comes to mind when it comes to programming are diet and exercise.  More and more, however, we are seeing a more whole-person wellness movement in the field which includes not only diet and exercise, but many other factors such as financial wellness, stress management, ergonomics, spiritual wellness, and much more.

September is National Yoga Month, which means it’s the perfect time to offer onsite yoga classes at your facility or at least provide local resources and information to your members.  Luckily, yoga hits two birds with one stone.  Many yogis see their practice as their own personal escape, connecting deeply to their core values and philosophy.  It also combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation and stress relief.  Seventy seven percent of people report regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and those who participate in yoga report reducing stress levels.

Outside of the mental benefits, no one can deny that yoga is a better workout than seems to those who haven’t done it before!  Not only does it improve flexibility, strength, and muscle tone, one 2011 study showed that 12 weekly yoga classes resulted in better function than usual medical care in adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain.  What this means for your health plan is less doctor or physical therapy visits!   It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, improve respiration and energy, and reduce cardiovascular disease. It’s really a win-win.

If you’re not a big fan of yoga, or feel you are unable to host a class onsite for whatever reason, I encourage you to put out a Deep Breathing, Meditation,  at-home yoga challenge to your members, or even a Lunch & Learn seminar regarding some of these topics.  As you can see from the few benefits I sited above (there are many more!), mental and emotional wellness are just as important as diet and exercise.  That makes healthier, happier, more productive, and lower cost employees.

Namaste.