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Fri, November 1, 2013
Building a Better Quality of Life in Corporate America
Globally we are at a tipping point. Grow strong and work together or watch as other countries “eat our lunch”. From within the walls of corporate America, the goal is to make money. And while money is central to business and surviving in many ways in our world, quality of life (QOL) and how well we experience the events and experiences of our lives is just as important. So how do they inter-relate?

The blending of corporate objectives with personal goals to derive the best combination of outcomes for both is an admirable position which gets me juiced up.  When this combination can serve our needs from both a corporate and personal perspective, we can build stronger community, increase productivity, and move closer to changing our country for the better.

The generations of people in our country may be experiencing different phases of their lives - younger adults are raising families while their parents are moving into the autumn season of their lives. Regardless of age or generation, QOL, the literal depth and sense of the people, events, and experiences that fill our lives, is paramount. Our QOL is created from every facet of our lives from our state of health to our job satisfaction and everything in between.

The marriage of corporate health to employee wellness is a direct path to improved profitability, job satisfaction, happiness, sustainability, and quality of life.  It is the accountability of both the organization and the employee that ownership of success can proliferate.  Enhancing and acknowledging the responsibility of both the corporation and the individual can build improved attitudes, inspirement, health, longevity, and lower costs while increasing wages and profits.

Efforts are in fact being made to improve the quality of life and health of the most important assets big business possesses, its employees. Wellness programs are one such effort.  The problem is, are they succeeding?

Dr. Kevin Pho, (the founder of  KevinMD.com) states that wellness programs may be missing the mark.  Dr. Kevin states in an article for the Gannet news service that “wellness programs are designed to lower costs for employers and keep workers healthy, but do they accomplish the goal?”  Dr. Kevin stated that “wellness programs are promoted as saving $3.00 or more for every dollar invested, but a recent RAND Corporation study concluded that wellness programs did NOT significantly reduce employer health costs.”  The reason being is that promoting more tests, screenings and doctors visits may have an initial good incentive but if follow through, and follow up are not put into place no change will occur.

Accountability and follow through are keys to the longevity of any lifestyle change, whether those changes are initiated and encouraged from the workplace or from an inner desire to change. Change begins initially as a thought, regardless of the original catalyst. That thought, taken into action, is where change begins to take form. Those actions, over extended periods of time, are what allow true, long-lasting change in our lives. It is the longevity of those new actions and behaviors that is the tipping point and where most fail. We are creatures of habit - both in our personal lives and our work lives. So how do you begin to take advantage of the corporate wellness programs that are available to you and use them to your best benefit? Incorporate the tools that you need to ensure your long-term success so those new actions and behaviors can become habits.

There are corporate wellness programs that are accountability-based. Those programs provide financial incentives to the employees to participate in wellness programs that increase their health and wellness. These programs often include additional screening and testing, exercise and fitness goals, and some even include wellness coaching to those who have identified health risks like high blood pressure. These types of accountability-based programs can be more of a support to the longevity of an employee's changes. But on a personal level, employees are most likely to be successful if they identify additional benefits to their long-term goals than strictly financial incentives offered from their company.

Changes that are the most long-lasting are those that provide frequent, small goals to achieve along the way to a larger goal. Even if you are enrolled in an accountability-based corporate wellness program, working toward achieving goals that will enable you to pay a smaller percentage of your health insurance premium, you could benefit from setting smaller, manageable goals and rewards to help inspire you to keep making improvements.

A large part of empowering yourself to achieve whatever your goals are is having a clear vision of why you want to make the changes to begin with. Perhaps you want to lose 50 pounds to give yourself the best odds of being around to see your grandchildren graduate from college. Providing smaller, reachable goals for yourself as you continue to work toward that goal helps provide you with the incentive to carry on, even if you're tired or losing your drive. By setting a goal at 5 or 10 pound increments as you work toward your ultimate goal of losing 50 pounds helps you to feel encouraged and empowered by your successes and gives you a greater chance of continuing your progress.

There are resources available everywhere if you need or want to be held accountable for your progress to another person. You can enlist friends and family to be accountability partners with you. There are virtual coaches who can literally work with you from anywhere in the world and who specialize in all kinds of areas. And there are all kinds of resources that provide free, quality content that can help you to learn, to grow, and to empower yourself as well!

Building a better QOL in corporate America starts with the foundation of all great companies - its most valuable assets: the lives and well-being of the employees. Those employees, like all of us, are ultimately responsible for the quality of their lives and for identifying those areas which need change in order to increase their quality of life.

Employees who work in companies who offer corporate wellness programs, particularly those that are accountability-based, are really missing a key opportunity to increase their health as well as their QOL if they choose not to participate. True transformation obviously comes from within but by creating a clear vision of your goals, using the resources available to you, and creating small, achievable goals, you literally can change your life!

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