Hug or smack – what’s your approach?

8 March, 2017

After 25 years of experience in workplace wellbeing it’s clear that there are many approaches to delivery a successful wellbeing programme. Phil Olding from New Leaf Health discusses the pros and cons of each approach.

There are many different approaches to developing your wellbeing programme, all covered on the New Leaf Health Leadership Course.

An obvious choice is to get the professionals in, inviting specialists to come on site and deliver specific messages.  This educational approach is based on informed choice (your workforce has got to want to come and hear the message) and success is very dependent on not only what’s being said but who’s saying it.

But this approach is very popular, particularly for organisations new to wellbeing or as part of a blended programme.

Another approach is the co-production style where workers and management share the power to plan, develop and support together, recognising that everyone has a vital contribution to make. This is often daunting for wellbeing coordinators as it means releasing some control – but will definitely share the load. This approach recognises the power of asset building where the organisation’s resources are evaluated, mapped and the gaps that are identified are filled from within. Training wellbeing champions is a good example of this – the wellbeing assets could then include knowledge, skill, passion or simply time.

There are some very interesting styles of approach too, like:

Nudging – this subtle approach attempts to entice the employee to take up the healthier option by using subliminal marketing. It could involve making an option more attractive, more fun or socially acceptable, but doesn’t force the person to take the healthy option. Examples of this could be: having smaller plates in the canteen but not reducing the amount of times they can refill them,   making salads the default side instead of chips or making the stairwell more exciting so people want to walk instead of using the lift.

Hugs – direct incentives shoves; tougher measures that restrict choice, like restricting chips in the canteen, or even

Smacks – harder hitting bans, for example the ban on smoking in the workplace.

Choosing your approach is important and will determine the direction of travel for your future programme.

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