Wellness Doesn’t Work. And It Won’t Work. Until It Does.

in Uncategorized, Employee Wellness Programs

Out of OrderNew study findings from the University of Illinois confirm that an employee wellness program doesn’t improve health or healthcare costs.

Here’s what will happen next:

  • Wellness critics will argue that wellness programs must cease at once.
  • Wellness profiteers will, once again, falsely claim that the studied program was atypical and that the researchers failed to report on measures such as mental health, energy levels, quality of life, or job satisfaction.

Here’s what should happen next:

  • We should be prepared to accept, based on a growing body of evidence, that typical wellness programs don’t deliver on their promise.
  • We should collaborate with employees to figure out how we can effectively support their wellbeing.

Research should be leveraged to improve employee wellbeing strategies. Circling the wagons around the status quo or interpreting studies simply as a yay/nay on employee wellbeing are both unproductive.

See the abstract/article:

Effects of a Workplace Wellness Program on Employee Health, Health Beliefs, and Medical Use: A Randomized Trial

 

Health Behavior Change Program Mind Map

in Uncategorized, Employee Wellness Programs

health behavior change mind map I first tried mind mapping three years ago — to plan a family vacation to Oregon. But I’d jumped straight to the software without really understanding mind mapping, and I crashed into the mechanics…and burned. Then, last year, I tried using new mind mapping software to illustrate a project I was working on at work. That attempt may have helped me, but when I showed it to team members, it was greeted with profound silence, bewilderment, and polite smiles. I still hadn’t even tried to educate myself about mind mapping. But intuitively I knew that it’s important.

Now I’ve started to understand the Why and the How of mind mapping, and I see tremendous potential: For problem solving in the workplace, for communicating, and, personally, for learning, memory, and unlocking creativity.

I was fortunate enough to come across the work of Jane Genovese, of Learning Fundamentals in Australia. As part of her mission to make learning more effective and fun, Jane has created beautiful and engaging mind maps on a broad range of topics. She was kind enough to allow me to re-post here her mind map on Behavioral Change Programs. Click on the map [below] to open the full-sized version. Jane’s map is extraordinary in the thoroughness with which it depicts the elements of successful wellness programs, and I would recommend it to any health promotion professional — especially newcomers to the field. I hope you enjoy and learn from Jane’s mind map as much as I have. (And please be sure to visit her site. Lots of great mind maps and other innovative resources.)

health behavior change mind map

Health behavior change mind map for health promotion and wellness professionals.

I’ll be writing more about mind maps, and publishing my own, and hope to explore with you how we can use mind maps and other visual thinking tools to advance employee wellness (and, beyond that, human resources and organizations overall). I think we are just getting started and the possibilities are unlimited.

[A version of this article was originally published on my The Employee Wellness Network blog in October 2011 —  Bob]