Mary E. Parsons

Change Company Culture to Support Workplace Wellness

Promoting wellness as part of your company culture can be tricky unless you approach the changes carefully. Going from donuts and pastries at meetings to healthier options may cause pushback from employees who feel their employer shouldn’t meddle with their food choices. There are many options to change your company culture and include healthier food.

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Discuss Options

Have an ongoing dialogue with your employees about corporate wellness goals. According to a study from Harvard University, every dollar spent on workplace health promotion programs results in approximately triple the savings in medical costs. Linking your wellness goals to savings is a good way to start the conversation, but remember that placing too much emphasis on cost savings for the company may create the impression you’re only interested in the bottom line rather than the health and well-being of your employees. Come to a compromise that’ll appeal to the greatest number of people.

Change Gradually

Start with communication and then move to implementation. Rather than banning certain foods, slowly replace them with other healthier choices. Consider including fruit and whole grain muffins in morning meetings and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meat at lunch meetings. You may find that these choices are actually more appealing to many employees who are looking for support in their own healthy eating habits.

If your company receives food gifts from vendors, clients or customers, have a word with them explaining that you’re integrating healthier foods into the workplace and provide suggestions that would promote your initiatives.

Provide Education

As part of your wellness program, have a nutritionist come in for a short presentation about healthier eating. Organize a healthy foods luncheon with a recipe exchange and a prize for the tastiest entry. It may be that some employees haven’t tried healthier choices and would benefit from the tasting.

Support Employees

Wellness programs have many facets, and it’s important to actively support healthy behaviors so your employees understand that developing healthier habits benefits everyone. As your employees commit to positive changes, you’ll see that productivity rises as they become healthier and more focused. Also, remind your employees that the changes only apply to food provided for meetings and office functions.

Understand Objections

Some of your employees may resent what they see as interference in their eating habits. Listen to what they have to say and explain your reasoning. Remind them of other wellness program initiatives and how they’ve been integrated into the workplace. Talk about the positive results in other areas and be sympathetic to employees who are struggling to accept changes.

The health of your employees and the health of your company go hand in hand. Changing your company culture to encourage and support healthy eating habits can benefit everyone, even if it means ditching the donuts.

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