Written by Toni Sperlbaum
I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the movie “Yes Man” featuring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel, but (without giving too much away – you should see it!), the movie is about a guy who is stuck in the same boring job with the same boring life who challenged himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year. Because of his newfound (and mainly forced habit) to say “yes”, it lead to all sorts of amazing and transforming experiences. He learned how to play the guitar (and even played and sang a guy off the ledge because of it), got a promotion, and even met the girl of his dreams. It’s a reality check with a lesson of open mindedness and the ultimate principal that while trying new things can come with some risks, it could also change your life for the better.
It’s this principal that I want to relate to our wellness programs. How often do you hear a new wellness program initiative either from your wellness vendor, on LinkedIn, at a conference, or from your peer at another company and without even another thought, you laugh *insert eye roll here* and say “that would NEVER work here!”? The reality is, we are Jim Carrey! We get stuck in a rut with the same wellness programs year after year, wanting more out of our programs but perhaps aren’t sure what “more” is.
Why are we so quick to 1. deny faith in our employees, 2. discount your leadership and their support, and 3. say “no”? My clients who are the most successful are the ones who strategically say “YES”. They don’t just say yes to me and the programs that HPA offers and sells, but yes to an employee garden, run by employees. Yes to a grassroots pedometer challenge. Yes to installing an onsite gym. While some of these examples are more costly than others, there are many opportunities out there that are FREE or, at the very least, budget friendly. Please note: I said “strategically say yes”. Time and budget are real factors that need to be considered. In fact, I often work with my clients to create a strategic plan that incorporates a mission statement, a vision, and a 3 year plan and calendar of programs (including those “out of the box” ones they’ve said “no” to for so long). If a program pops up that wasn’t in the original plan, we leave the flexibility to be able to add it in and let it blossom. However, if that program does NOT directly relate to the program’s mission and vision, then it is not carried out. This is where the strategy part comes into play.
I have seen firsthand the weapon of “no” that creates stale, lackluster wellness programs or at the very least, prohibits these programs from blossoming. My challenge to you is to say “Yes!”. Be open minded. Give your employees a chance by having faith in them, your leadership, and most importantly, yourself to deliver an exciting and engaging new program. Be a corporate wellness “Yes Man”.