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1 Comment | May 19, 2010

How to Screw Up Your Employees’ Wellness Vacation Program

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What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. –Emerson

Congratulations! You’ve just rolled out your Vacation Wellness™ Employee Benefit Program to rave employee reviews (if you’ve just emerged from your cave and haven’t yet added this to your employee wellness benefit programs, start here), and are all set to reap the big business benefits of workforce healthcare cost reduction and decreased employee turnover rates. You’re eyeing the Savings Estimator results happily, ready to see the balance return to your company balance sheet.

Don’t screw it up.

You can still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

How?

Simple. By continuing your workaholic ways. Whether you’re doing a good job of it or not, you’re setting the template for your employees’ behavior by your own. If you’re hunched over your computer for ten hours a day, don’t be surprised to see your staff doing the same.

If you extol the virtues of wellness travel, and encourage your staff to take advantage of the many wellness vacation deals available as part of their Vacation Wellness™ program, but never take a vacation yourself, it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what will happen.

Absolutely nothing. Your staff will do what you do. They may not like your sports team, or take up your favorite hobby, or begin quoting your pearls of wisdom with loving admiration, but they will certainly model their workplace behavior after yours. There’s a discussion on the Employee Wellness Network on this very subject, and Doug Hensch of DRH Group cites an example of this phenomenon. Good or bad, executive behavior becomes employee behavior with lightning speed.

So if you’re not digging your toes in the beach sand yourself, you can’t expect your business to reap any of the benefits of your employee wellness vacation program, and your broader employee wellness benefit program results will suffer as well if you’re not putting your time where your mouth is.

Perhaps it’s most helpful to think in more personal terms:

  • Regular vacationers are up to half as likely to suffer a heart attack. Assuming you survived, how much would a heart attack set your career and family life back? Could you afford the financial expense?
  • Taking regular vacations makes you three times less likely to suffer depression. What would suffering a six-month bout with depression do to your family? Job performance? Bank account?
  • Vacation wellness reduces stress, which has been linked to all six leading causes of death. How would your stress-induced untimely demise impact your family? Friends? Coworkers?
  • Taking vacations reduces likelihood of developing burnout, a stress-induced, performance-sapping condition that costs employers billions every year. Could your advancement hopes or business goals survive a bout of burnout?

Wellness travel only serves to reduce employee healthcare costs, decrease employee turnover rates, and improve employee engagement and motivation if your employees actually take vacations.

They won’t if you don’t.

If you haven’t already, you should provide Vacation Wellness for your folks. And then you should go on vacation!

See you on the beach…

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1 Comment

Doug 10:27 am - 21st May:

Thanks for the reference and for a very timely posting :) As an entrepreneur, it is very easy to forget that vacation and downtime play a very important role in well being AND productivity. In the end, I do believe that an individual’s manager plays the biggest role in helping set the right climate and the right example for taking time off. Thanks!