How a Healthy Workplace Can Lead to a Better Bottom Line

Just like personal fitness, "business vitality" is important

Nikki Fogden Moore

A tired, unmotivated workforce is an expensive liability for companies of any size. We are faced with two expensive issues: employees being at work and not being productive or not being at work at all. According to a KPMG Survey, the highest contributing factor to people underperforming or not showing up was depression -- not colds, flus, or family issues.

It's time to get back to basics and give staff a reason to step up personally and professionally, with accountability and a shared sense of purpose. There are three key pillars on how you can build business vitality for your people and your bottom line:

1. Be Relevant: Identify Your Core Culture [don't just adopt someone else's]

Understand the real culture versus the promoted one: Not the written mission statement, but what's actually happening on a day-to-day basis. Do a quick chemistry check via your leadership teams. Ask your managers to consider what the real roadblocks are, based on your organization structure, location, and way of interacting with employees. Keep it simple and don't bury this process in paperwork. For example:

a. Personal approach: Do you know the names of most of the people who work for you, do their managers know more about them than just their skills and expertise?

b. Engagement: Lack of connection to the job and the company -- are they proud to work for you?

c. Fear of speaking up: Is it "safe" for employees to share personal wins/challenges and road-blocks with their direct management, fear of showing weakness, or asking for help outside of the role description.

d. Highly trained yet underperforming? Why...

e. The silo effect: Shift work and procedure overload -- feeling like a number and not part of a team.

f. Exhaustion: Under resourced and overworked.

g. Guilt: Can't be away from my desk. Start understanding your people off paper. It's no use given someone a gym membership for a year at lunchtimes if the culture is not there to support them leaving their desk and using it.

2. Reinforce the Culture

Encourage and display the importance of work-life choices, not just "work-life balance," and that everyone inside the organization is part of the company's success.

a. Bring business and personal performance together on one sheet for reviews. Do employees share their personal goals on wellbeing and development with you and how can we support them?

b. Are leaders connected to and respected by their teams. If leadership can't demonstrate by example, then don't expect your employees to.

c. Focus on winning weeks rather than winning years. A winning week is crucial for an incredible year -- in order to be productive, individuals must plan health and fitness, friends/family responsibilities, ME time, as well as admin and productivity.

d. It's not about oversharing every personal detail, but taking into account the hours at work, school pickups, planning fitness into the day, and making time for personal development and space to be creative. Are your staff being accountable to best manage their time?

e. Be transparent. Start with senior and middle managers -- often this level in the organization do not want to show vulnerability and lack productivity. Encourage your leaders to be more authentic, share challenges and come up with examples on how they can run their own weeks more efficiently. It's all connected. Choose your common language and keep using it.

3. Reward the Change

Said by some done by none. The biggest challenge most organizations have is creating personal goals for your organization that can be applied to everyone and maintained. For many people, being at work takes up the majority of their waking time, and they often spend more time with clients and colleagues than they do with their own families. Engage your teams to step up, look at their week differently, and actually be motivated to perform in all areas of life. Identify how you will reward your staff for stepping up and participating -- keep it simple and make it frequent:

a. Start with simple milestones that make it okay for people to trust sharing personal wellbeing goals and challenges. Build in health and wellbeing, positive mindset shares into Weekly team reviews -- I call these "vitality shares"

b. Identify workplace vitality elements -- access to fresh air, filtered water, personal connectivity -- even if working from home or off site, healthy food choices and the use of basic language in team meetings such as health and fitness goals alongside admin and productivity.

c. Be Consistent. Less grand gestures more daily attention to the cause. Understand the timings to build trust and implement effectively.

d. Identify wellness or Vitality Champions in each team that are going to manage and own the process as part of their role profile and keep reviewing and reminding of the pillars.

e. Review "stretch goals" and milestones on productivity in KPIS sessions. Share the results across the organization. As you lead a company, you are not only able to make a positive impact on your bottom line but also create a positive impact on the lives of those who work with you, and for you. Eliminate convoluted wellness programs and think how you can create a vitality program that is relevant to your company, it's demographic, workplace behaviors and management. If it's truly important to your bottom line you need to make personal vitality a part of your business plan and create a workforce that is healthy, wealthy and wise.

Nikki Fogden-Moore specializes in private coaching for high achievers to bring business and personal vitality to life. She runs tailored corporate vitality programs, writes regularly for several business magazines and has been running leadership and private retreats and workshops for over a decade internationally. Visit for more info.