Low-Cost Ways to Promote Employee Wellness

employee wellness, employee health

Have you implemented a formal employee wellness programme in your business? If not, there are compelling reasons to consider moving forward with a programme that emphasises the value of a healthier lifestyle and that offers resources for employees to pursue this admirable goal.

Above and beyond the simple fact that healthy employees are productive employees, a wellness program offers businesses these added benefits:

  • Reduced costs in terms of insurance coverage and less employee sick days
  • A key resource in retaining employees, because a company “willing to spend time and resources on employee health is a company that cares about its employees
  • A valuable tool for new employee acquisition, especially among Millennials who see corporate-sponsored health programmes as a key part of their benefits package

The costs of instituting and promoting wellness in your workforce don’t have to be prohibitive. A considerable effort should first go into building awareness of healthy living, exercise and good eating habits into the company’s culture.

Here are other wellness promotion tips:

Think creatively about healthy resources. Explore local resources that employees can use to take better care of themselves (discounted memberships at a local gym, signing up with community walk-a-thons and other charitable events, etc.). Not only can these efforts generate valuable partnerships with community businesses and nonprofits, but if you give employees branded t-shirts or water bottles, they’ll help spread the word of your business while taking part in community events.

Get your executive team involved. “Wellness” shouldn’t be restricted to your front-line or back-office employees only. Good health extends to the business owner, as well as his or her executive team. Promoting employee wellness will carry much more credibility if the CFO is seen at the head of the pack of a company-sponsored 5K or similar event. Leading by example is always the most persuasive strategy.

Get employees up and moving. Just getting employees away from their workstations for a few minutes every day will get them feeling better. Encourage them to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Move printers and copiers farther away from their cubicles, so a few extra steps are needed to finish a task. Explore opportunities for “walking meetings” with one or two employees, rather than sitting in a conference room. Stretching and walking is good for everyone!

Encourage the use of wearables. Small wearable devices like smartwatches, headphones, fitness wristbands, etc., are increasingly being incorporated into employees’ daily lives. They’re often used to monitor physical activity, stress management and sleep patterns—and because the devices are linked to easy-to-use apps, employees quickly adapt to having wearables be a part of normal life.

A report by the Health Enhancement Research Organisation in the US offers specific best practices for employers considering the use of wearables, such as:

  • Provide devices to employees (or subsidise their purchase), instead of mandating individual purchases.
  • Develop health-related goals and offer incentives for employees to reach those goals.
  • Get spouses and domestic partners involved to boost participation and offer an off-site support system.
  • Start with a pilot program to assess the value of wearables for your company.
  • Be prepared to refine the programme in order to keep employee interest high.

Promote smarter eating habits. What nutritional options are available in your workplace? Employees with better choices will likely make better decisions about what to consume during the workday. Get rid of junk-food vending machines. Sponsor ongoing potlucks and encourage employees to contribute healthy dishes. When celebrating birthdays or work anniversaries, offer fruit bouquets or power bars instead of cake. Offer nutritious drinks and snacks at weekly meetings. All of these options will help employees cut back on poor food choices, both at the office and in their personal lives.

Finally, survey employees themselves for ideas on how to improve wellness in the workplace. They might come up with low-cost ideas that are ideal for your company culture. By doing so, you’ll likely increase their appreciation for the effort you’re making on their behalf.

Want more advice on making your business more productive? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!


Change Your Culture to Boost Retention

company culture

These days, employees leave one job and take another for a host of reasons. One reason that should never come up is a company’s toxic culture. In the hunt for talent, businesses can’t afford to lose valued workers because the work environment is dysfunctional, fear-based or insufficiently appreciative of their contributions.

Moreover, culture is rapidly emerging as a key differentiator when it comes to recruitment and retention. The best employees demand and deserve competitive salaries and benefits, but “they also want things that money can’t buy, such as an office environment that makes them happy and comfortable,” writes HR expert Rosemary Bryant, “whether that office environment fosters creativity, is laid back and relaxed, or makes work fun.”

Just as a great business leader determines the cultural quality of the company he or she leads, so ineffective leaders are responsible for a work environment that employees find uncomfortable (or often, intolerable) to work in. These individuals must first recognise the shortcoming in their leadership approach and then begin the hard work of changing their culture in order to keep their most valued employees.

Here are suggestions for achieving this critically important goal.

Understand what constitutes a thriving culture. Of course, “culture” can be a nebulous, catchall term meaning different things to different people. But, generally speaking, a strong culture is defined by these elements:

  • A workplace where people can ask questions and voice disagreements or concerns without any negative consequences
  • Flexibility in work schedules, recognising the value of a good work/life balance
  • Ongoing employee coaching and development
  • An environment in which employees understand how their individual contributions affect the company’s financial performance

With these elements in place, employees are far less likely to leave and risk not finding a similarly vibrant environment elsewhere.

Cultivate transparency. One common complaint among employees is that they lack any access to how decisions are made by their employers. No one’s demanding “top-to-bottom” transparency on all key strategic and financial decisions, but sharing specific financials and outlining how a decision was reached to launch a new initiative, for example, “promotes a culture where everyone is treated like an adult who has something to contribute,” notes Mary Martinez at GoCo. A transparent workplace “will engender feelings of worth and value among all your employees.”

Foster a spirit of collaboration. Work environments where people feel like it’s “every man for himself” will hasten burn-out and a severe drop in morale. Look for opportunities to get people in one department to work more closely with colleagues in other departments—or any type of large-scale project that requires employees to work as a focused team.

In that same respect, consider taking employees off-site for occasional team-building exercises where the emphasis is on friendly competition and opportunities to get better acquainted with others on the team.

Encourage employee training and development. This facet of a healthy culture is rapidly becoming a “must-have” among HR recruiters and those wanting to promote retention. Your best employees have a strong desire to improve themselves. It’s up to you and your business to encourage this desire by sponsoring and/or subsidizing work-related seminars, on-site visits by industry experts, classes at a nearby community college, etc. Employees who feel they’re acquiring new skills and knowledge are far less motivated to look around for a new position.

Recognise and reward outstanding achievements. Everyone likes to be recognised for their hard work. Such recognition can take the form of a simple “thank you” message from the CEO or more formal programmes that salute individual effort in the form of a bonus, day off, special parking place and so on. These incentives frequently spur greater engagement in one’s everyday job.

Maintain a customer-focused approach to business. Your best employees work hard to provide good products and services to your customers. Invite their feedback and suggestions on ways to keep improving the quality of customer service from these “front-line” people. The business will benefit overall and, once again, you’ll see greater engagement among your workforce.

Want to retain your rock-star employees? Make sure they are treated respectfully and offered every opportunity to grow and become even better at what they do.

Need more ideas on setting the right company culture for your business? Find a TAB Board
to get insights from non-competing business owners in your area.


How to Create a Success-Oriented Sales Culture

success-oriented sales team

Success in sales remains an elusive goal for many companies, partly because the sales process can’t be configured or engineered in a way that guarantees closing a deal with every prospect. Too many variables are involved.

However, building a success-oriented sales culture within the organisation can tilt the odds in your favour. The key is paying special attention to sales management in a way that’s positive, instils confidence and rewards sales activity, not just results.

Here are action steps you can take to boost the success rate of your sales team:

Honour the role of salesperson. If you come from a sales background, you know first-hand what a difficult job it can be. Failure and rejection come with the territory and it takes a strong individual to bounce back from these challenges and start fresh all over again.

For this reason, it’s good to “promote how honourable it is to be a sales rep for your company,” notes small business expert Megan Totka. “Put the importance of their position on a pedestal, and highlight how pivotal it is to the success of your business.

Automate repetitive tasks. Salespeople thrive on high energy and welcome the unpredictable nature of their jobs. That’s why they often find repetitive sales-related tasks so draining and demoralising. It’s up to you to free them up to do what they do best—sales. Wherever possible, employ technology to handle routine customer relationship management tasks (such as sending customised messages to prospects), thus giving your team more latitude to focus on other key responsibilities.

Enforce a consistent sales process. Yes, we all know about rock-star salespeople who “act on a gut feeling” or otherwise go it alone. That’s not the path to a success-oriented culture. Instead, every business should establish a consistent sales process, says sales expert Alana Nicol, with “specific steps that everyone takes so each person knows clearly what it takes to identify, qualify and close an opportunity.”

Train for the results you want. Businesses do the best they can to hire talented salespeople who can get results out of the gate. But for the best results, sales training is the most effective strategy. Such training can emphasise a variety of techniques and attitudes, including how to:

  • Stop talking to the prospect and ask questions instead
  • Position yourself less as an expert and more as a problem-solver
  • Hone your company’s unique selling proposition
  • Focus on sales activity as much as on results

For sales veterans and rookies alike, it’s helpful for the manager and/or CEO to occasionally sit in on phone calls and/or face-to-face meetings with prospects, and offer constructive feedback afterwards. Most salespeople welcome such feedback, as long it’s framed in a positive way.

Offer opportunities for learning. Training is one thing, continuous learning something else entirely. As part of honouring your sales team, give them every opportunity to participate in webinars, attend sales conferences and engage in other learning activities that help them hone their skills and network on behalf of the company. When they can collaborate and share new ideas, they’ll come away re-energized and excited about incorporating new strategies into the sales process.

Avoid micromanagement. Perhaps the best way to instil self-confidence in your team is by not micromanaging them. Delegating responsibilities and leaving them alone to do their job is another way of saying you trust in their judgment and abilities, and that you expect them to give their very best with every prospect. Sometimes they’ll succeed and sometimes they’ll fail. It’s up to you to avoid casting blame but emphasise instead the value of learning from experience and doing better the next time.

By honouring their efforts and giving them the tools and responsibility to succeed, you can build a culture of sales enthusiasm and energy, unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Want to learn more about building a successful sales culture? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!


Would You Please Like Me?


Most people like to be liked, and many salespeople love to be liked. The weakest salespeople need to be liked.

While the end result of being liked certainly provides an advantage over being disliked, a salesperson’s desire to feel good and their need for approval can have huge consequences in their overall effectiveness and ultimate success.

Let’s look at John:

  • John works really hard to get people to like him.
  • John is very nice to everyone.
  • He almost always agrees with people, especially with sales prospects.
  • If John disagrees, or if he hears contradictions in a buyer’s conversation, he won’t say a word for fear someone might not like him.
  • If a prospect wants John to do just about anything, he’ll do it.
  • If a buyer wants a proposal, he’ll send one right away.
  • If a buyer wants John to go back and redo the proposal, he’ll happily oblige.
  • If the buyer wants John to sharpen his pencil to offer a better deal, John will take care of it.
  • If the buyer wants John to put on his tap shoes and dance on the table, John will do so with a smile.
  • In his zeal to be liked, John will rarely ask questions, especially of the difficult or challenging variety.
  • John is an expert on small talk, but avoids big talk.
  • John will never push for a ’yes’ or ’no.’ He will accept ’maybe’ all day long.
  • If a prospect decides to take a phone call during John’s visit, John will sit by smiling as the minutes tick by.
  • If a buyer wants to spend a few hours talking with John about something that has nothing to do with business, John will cheerfully invest (aka: waste) the time. (This type of wheel-spinning behaviour is most prevalent among the most unqualified buyers – the ones with the least decision-making power or influence.)
  • Since John always defers to the buyer’s schedule, he frequently loses track of time and is often late for his next appointment.
  • John happily accepts stalls, put-offs and misdirection.
  • John rarely qualifies a prospect. He’ll invest time, energy and money with anyone who asks for it.
  • John is more than happy to give as many unqualified demos and presentations as are requested.
  • John will never push to understand true buying motives or the decision process.
  • If the prospect doesn’t graciously offer to tell him directly, John will never learn anything about budgets or how much the buyer is willing to invest.
  • John takes objections personally and emotionally.
  • John is highly vulnerable to win/lose arrangements.
  • John will sacrifice his commissions (and company margins) in order to maintain his likability.
  • John will provide free consulting as long as a buyer requests it.

John is a really nice guy and most buyers actually do like him. Unfortunately, they don’t respect him or his time. Consequently, John squanders massive amounts of time, company resources, sales volume and profit.

I’m not suggesting here that a salesperson shouldn’t be likable. Of course you want your salespeople to be liked. However, it is much more important that they are trusted and respected.

When the desire or need to be liked transcends effective sales behaviour, it could cost you dearly. Be on the lookout for John.