Addressing and helping manage stress in the workplace is one of the most cost-effective ways for companies to stop talent “burn and churn” and improve employee performance. While the idea that healthier, less-stressed employees have a positive impact on company success has taken some time to catch on, companies are now finding it to be an important benefit to attract and keep top talent. Dr. Ken Pelletier, a pioneer in workplace wellness, sums up the shift: “We are moving from a goal of increased ROI (return on investment) to one of pursuing ROV (return on value).”
With this shift in corporate perspective, we’ve seen an increased understanding of the role that stress plays in the workplace. It’s encouraged greater interest from companies to create stress management programs that incorporate corporate massage, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and fitness classes. In order to experience the benefits of these stress management programs, companies must ensure they are implemented and integrated properly. Senior management must recognize that the programs are an essential part of the company’s success and productivity by creating an accessible platform for employee engagement. When these conditions are met, employees are empowered to be healthier, happier, and more productive. These perks then assist HR directors and managers in meeting employee recruitment, retention, and engagement goals.
How Healthy is Your Workplace Stress Management Program?
The major challenge most companies face is creating a culture of wellness within the workplace. Oftentimes, wellness programs developed by human resources departments have been siloed in isolation from one another. They become limited in their reach, effectiveness, and more reactive than proactive. Underperforming workplace wellness initiatives need to be reconfigured as part of a wholesale approach to managing stress.
6 Pillars for Successfully Managing Stress in the Workplace
The 2014 Spafinder Wellness study found that if companies want workers to engage with, and stick to, new healthy behaviors, they need to provide access to a broader range of fitness/wellness activities that go beyond traditional gym memberships.
Body Techniques’ six pillars for an effective stress management program offer a great framework for success. If you build all six pillars, you’ll have a corporate culture that can effectively manage stress and promote the overall wellbeing of employees:
- Access: Prioritize low or no-cost services for employees. Many of Body Techniques’ clients subsidize the cost of services which boosts participation levels and ensures the program is viewed as a true employee benefit. True on-site integration is as essential as a supportive corporate wellness culture, because convenience matters.
- Acceptance: Offer activities your employees already love doing and make the process easy. Employees don’t want to deal with complicated activities and procedures.
- Culture: A wellness program should be a natural extension of a company’s identity and aspirations. Collaborate with your worksite wellness staff and external partners to determine what kind of incentives will motivate your staff and fit with your culture.
- Excellence & Transparency: Wellness programs must be comprehensive, engaging, and high quality. Employees participate more when managers and leadership share their own stories, empathizing with a heavy workload, sharing favorite stress relievers, and making a personal, relatable effort to talk about stress with employees.
- Messaging: Stress reduction is not just a mission—it’s a message. Reach out to your employees through emails, signage, and newsletters to enhance and drive employee participation. Consider health fairs, competitions, and other internal communication platforms to make employees aware of the program.
- Partnership: Active, ongoing collaboration with internal and external partners, including vendors, can provide a program with some of its essential components and many of its desirable enhancements.
Body Techniques is about helping forward-looking and culture-oriented companies. We set our sights on those who recognize that a willingness to give back to their employees is an investment in people and results.
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