The following is a guest post from Sally Stephens, president of Spectrum Health Systems in Indianapolis (an Indiana Chamber member).
Do any of us really know how health care reform will affect worksite wellness in the future? With many things still left in the air, undefined and or not clearly explained, we are left to prepare the only way we know how: continuing to focus our strategies on keeping the healthy, healthy and targeted lifestyle interventions to help the unhealthy get well. Organizations that choose to invest in similar strategies during tough economic times recognize the health of their employees is as important as having the right people.
In the book “Good to Great,” Jim Collins made an analogy of having the right people on the bus. The preface of the analogy is that by having the right people in the right seats the bus will be more operationally sound and successful. I would like to take this a step further by adding tires to the analogy. Continue to think of the bus as the organization but now the tires on the bus are those employees with the primary responsibility of moving the bus forward. Assuming the right people are in the right seats and the tires are healthy, technically your bus should be running optimally. Now imagine you stop providing attention and care to the tires on your bus. How do you think this affects the performance of the bus? The tires on the bus are the foundation and any unhealthy changes to the tires will ultimately affect the rest of the people on the bus as well as the bus itself. Likewise, any improvement to the health of the tires will have a positive affect. Your wellness strategies should be designed to provide the attention and care needed to improve the life and performance of your tires.
Unfortunately, the value placed on wellness is not always associated with the health of an entire organization. Whether you believe health care reform is a good thing, or a bad thing…the bottom line is good health is always a good investment and even more so during tough economic times. Behavior change is closely related to the culture and the environment we work and live in. By lowering the priority placed on health we ultimately risk the healthy becoming unhealthy, and the unhealthy becoming sick.