Over at free-range communication (intentionally lowercase as is the style over there), my friend Fran wrote up a fantastic interview with Hollie Delaney, the senior HR Manager at Zappos to hear about how they conceptualize wellness and learn more about their approach. It’s a good read, so take a look when you have a few minutes.
Let me share my favorite part with you. In response to the question, “Why is it important to get people up and moving or eating well?”, Hollie said this:
Well, we have a conflict with the mainstream about “why.” Most are looking to help with rising health care costs. Of course, that’s important to us as well, but our main focus is when you’re well, you’re happier. When you’re happier, you do your job better. We want to give people the knowledge and opportunity to see how much better they feel and how much happier they are when they’re healthy. That’s our main focus.
It got me thinking about my own sense of responsibility as an employer when it comes to wellness.Sure, I’d make the same case that everyone does about wellness keeping healthcare costs down. Blah blah blah. We all get that.
I do feel like there’s a second piece here. As an employer, we’re asking our employees to work harder and deliver a better product. So in order to get that, we should be offering more services. They’re spending a huge chunk of time in our offices, so we should strive to bring services to them like Zappos does with smoking cessation clinics and Weight Watchers. Where it gets fuzzy for me is the issue of payment. There’s a case to be made that few participate unless you incentivize, but I tend to think that if you want to get healthy, no one can make you do it but yourself. We should give you the tools, but the onus is on you to use them. And since I love metaphors, let’s throw out one more: we can show you the door, but you still have to walk through it.
Regardless, I love the concept of wellness that Zappos is putting out there and I’ll be interested to see how that affects other companies.
What’s your take on wellness? Have you seen/experienced anything similar? Let me know in the comments.