Your business is part of this health crisis here are 6 steps to help
We are in a national weight crisis. More than two thirds of Americans are overweight. The health ramifications from eating too much “bad for you” food and sitting too much includes a national diabetes crisis, the threat of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Weight gain is getting worse. One third of Americans are now obese.
Your business is part of this health crisis. How much your work associates weigh is linked to how much your company pays in health insurance premiums due to increased work associate health issues. Weight related health impacts will lower productivity due to lost work time.
Ignoring this link means turning a blind eye to a health challenge that confronts the people (often friends) that you work with.
This national crisis is forcing management engagement. However, this is a step that should not be taken lightly. It requires diplomacy. It requires tools for enabling change. The path to weight loss will require addressing individual issues have that created weight gain.
The end result will be no less than a change in business culture that will touch everything, and everyone, from the break room to the factory floor to the desk.
Where To Begin
As in every business strategy, the starting point is management leadership. Weight loss has to be a focus for management before it can become a focus the company. Management that does not walk its talk is not listened to.
This is especially critical as research grows on how disengage work associates are with their companies. Research points to work associates showing up, doing what they are measured to do and then walking away from work with little enthusiasm for the next work day.
Work associate engagement is a dual commitment between management and work associates. It is a collaboration around common passions to achieve a mutual goal. Especially among the millennial generation the work place is only engaging if it aligns with their values. It is only a meaningful experience to them if they see how their job makes a difference.
This negative news on work associate engagement is actually a tremendous opportunity as applied to the issue of weight gain. Weight gain is a challenge confronting almost all of us. It is a personal concern. It is problem that work associates recognize and accept the need for change. It is a path for positively aligning with, and engaging, work associates on an issue they know is important to them and their families.
Six Engagement Steps To Sustained Weight Loss
The path for engaging work associates is a six step process.
The first step is for management and work associates to share a common vision that “we are in this together.”
The challenge of achieving sustained weight loss is a common challenge for management and work associates. The challenge is not a figure pointing “you” issue. Achieving sustained weight loss is a “us” challenge. We are all overweight and this weight gain threatens all of us with the ability to live more.
So the first step is to develop a shared vision that weight gain is a common problem that requires an unified effort.
The second step requires management leadership.
Leadership begins with management taking action to address their own weight gain issues. This is leadership by doing. This does not mean management has to first lose weight before they engage the organization on a weight loss plan. It does mean that management is demonstrating that they are committed to figuring out what to do, and then doing it, to achieve sustained weight loss.
The third step is engagement.
The process of engagement is to inform, educate, facilitate and motivate. The informative step is probably the easiest part of management leadership. It is quantifying the common challenge. It involves quantifying how the organization defines weight gain?
It seeks to answer the questions of how much money weight gain is costing the company? It creates granularity to the question of how weight gain is impacting work associates’ wellbeing and pocketbooks. This is a process for gaining census around the reality that we all face a weight gain challenge that threatens our health and financial security.
This step defines the burning platform that requires either putting out the fire or facing serious damage. It creates a convincing explanation of why change must happen.
Next- steps 4 through 6