News Archive


Management QOL in the News - November 11, 2016

Presentations from the 2016 ISQOLS Conference

Advances in Well-Being: Methodological and Measurement Issues

Distinguishing Indicators of Human Well-Being from Ill-Being

The Psychology of Work-Life Balance

Betterment of the Human Condition Award

Management QOL in the News - October 13, 2016

How to Teach Happiness at School

By Ilona Boniwell

We can teach students crucial skills of well-being without overhauling the curriculum, Ilona Boniwell explains.

Health is part of every public-school education. But what is health? It's more than just nutrition and gym class.

As early as 1947, the World Health Organization defined health as a state of mental and social—not just physical—well-being. Today, more and more schools worldwide are integrating social-emotional learning into their curriculum, teaching skills such as self-awareness, empathy, and active listening.

Read more at Greater Good Science Center.

Six Ways to Get More Happiness for Your Money

By Kira M. Newman.

More than a decade of research looks at how our spending choices can make us happier—or leave us disappointed.

When we think about spending our money wisely, we usually focus on getting the best value for the lowest price. We comparison shop and download apps to find the latest discounts and deals; we’re seduced by the daily special or the limited-time offer.

But, for those of us lucky enough to have disposable income, what if we defined wise spending in terms of the happiness that it brings? That's a completely different way of thinking about our purchases, and one that we have little practice in.

Read more at Greater Good Science Center.

Management QOL in the News - September 27, 2016

A neuroscience researcher reveals 4 rituals that will make you happier

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life.

Read more at Business Insider.

Management QOL in the News - June 22, 2016

Rosling on Extreme Poverty

From "Don't Panic: How to End Poverty in 15 Years" with Hans Rosling. Aired on BBC2 in 2015

Watch at YouTube.

Management QOL in the News - June 09, 2016

Why Rich People Aren’t as Happy as They Could Be

From Leadership & Management Guide, a Flipboard magazine by John W. Ancelet, Jr.

"I've been poor and I've been rich," quipped the comedian Sophie Tucker. "Rich is better." There is merit to Tucker’s argument. All else being equal,...

Read the full article at Harvard Business Review.

Management QOL in the News - May 09, 2016

How to measure prosperity: GDP is a bad gauge of material well-being. Time for a fresh approach

Which would you prefer to be: a medieval monarch or a modern office-worker? The king has armies of servants. He wears the finest silks and eats the richest foods. But he is also a martyr to toothache. He is prone to fatal infections. It takes him a week by carriage to travel between palaces. And he is tired of listening to the same jesters. Life as a 21st-century office drone looks more appealing once you think about modern dentistry, antibiotics, air travel, smartphones and YouTube.

Read more at the Economist.

The trouble with GDP: Gross domestic product (GDP) is increasingly a poor measure of prosperity. It is not even a reliable gauge of production

One of Albert Einstein’s greatest insights was that no matter how, where, when or by whom it is measured, the speed of light in a vacuum is constant. Measurements of light’s price, though, are a different matter: they can tell completely different stories depending on when and how they are made.

Read more at the Economist.

Rewriting history: The nation’s income is a constantly moving target

By how much did Britain’s economy grow in 1959? It would seem to be a question that ought to have been settled long ago. It hasn’t been. Samuel Williamson of the University of Illinois finds that in the British government’s annual “Blue Book” reports on GDP in the half-century or so since this uncelebrated year, there have been 18 different answers. The Blue Book published in 1960 said 2.7%; that of 2012 said 4.7%. British GDP, it seems, is under almost constant revision.

Read more at the Economist.

The party winds down: Across the world, politically connected tycoons are feeling the squeeze

Two years ago The Economist constructed an index of crony capitalism. It was designed to test whether the world was experiencing a new era of “robber barons”—a global re-run of America’s gilded age in the late 19th century. Depressingly, the exercise suggested that since globalisation had taken off in the 1990s, there had been a surge in billionaire wealth in industries that often involve cosy relations with the government, such as casinos, oil and construction. Over two decades, crony fortunes had leapt relative to global GDP and as a share of total billionaire wealth.

Read more at the Economist.

Management QOL in the News - May 02, 2016

Don't Panic: The Truth About Population

In this video / article Hans Rosling blows up some misconceptions and misunderstandings about population growth. He convincingly makes the following points: 1) Population growth should hit a limit around 11 billion within the next hundred years, as the world equalizes in health outcomes. 2) In developed countries, a ratio near 2 parents to 2 children mostly exists. As a result of equalizing health outcomes, low child mortality, and family planning, family sizes go down, and population growth slows in a predictable way. 3) Current population trends are strong enough that by 2100, only ~10% of the world population will be in Western nations (North America, Western Europe) — Africa will quadruple in population and Asia will increase about 25%. Learn more at Farnam Street (14 minutes).

Management QOL in the News - February 03, 2016

Greater Good Live

Please follow the link below to see highlights of a talk given by Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as he explains what he sees as the four science-based keys to well-being.

Click here to see the video.

Management QOL in the News - January 14, 2016

Does Happiness Really Help You Live Longer?

A new study contradicts prior research by suggesting that a happy life isn’t necessarily a longer one. But a closer look reveals that there's more to the story.

Click here to read the full article

Management QOL in the News - November 03, 2015

The Secret to Danish Happiness

Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. The reason might lie with the idea of "hygge."

Pronounced "hooga", the word derived from the Germanic phrase meaning to think or feel satisfied. There is no exact translation of hygge but some attempts are "cozy" or "homey". In Denmark it means being aware the cozy time is sacred and treating it as such. This is a powerful factor in Danish happiness.

Click here to read the full article

Management QOL in the News - April 27, 2015

The Social Progress Imperative

The Social Progress Imperative (SPI) is changing the way we solve the world's most pressing challenges by redefining how the world measures success and putting the things that matter to people's lives at the top of the agenda.

The Social Progress Index revolutionizes the solving of societal problems by enabling leaders to systematically identify and prioritize issues. The Social Progress Imperative's network empowers leaders to convene all the right local actors, global partners, and subject-matter experts necessary to develop and deploy meaningful solutions. Together, the index and the network empower local actors to both identify shortcomings and deliver the solutions to improve them.

Relying only on a country's GDP as the measure of progress provides an incomplete picture of human and societal development because it overlooks factors like access to electricity, health, property rights, and religious tolerance.

The Social Progress Index is used in tandem with GDP to provide a holistic assessment of a country's overall progress.

The Social Progress Index examines social and environmental indicators that capture three distinct dimensions of social progress: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity.

The Index has four key design principles:

  1. Exclusively social and environmental indicators: The index focuses on indicators like indoor air pollution and women in school, not family income or individual employment.
  2. Outcomes not inputs: The index assesses performance on indicators like access to electricity and suicide rates, not inputs like policies, laws, or levels of funding.
  3. Actionability: The indicators used are specific enough, such as access to improved sanitation facilities, to pinpoint exactly what needs to be changed or maintained.
  4. Relevance to all countries (societies): The index has been designed to measure performance of societies at all levels of income and on any continent.

Click here to read more about the Social Progress Imperative.

Management QOL in the News - April 09, 2015

Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index

Several new reports from Gallup are now available on our resources page.

The Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index (Global Well-Being Index) is a global barometer of individuals’ perceptions of their own well-being — those aspects that define how we think about and experience our daily lives.

The 10 questions that comprise the Global Well-Being Index and were fielded as part of the 2013 Gallup World Poll allow for comparisons of element-level well-being at the individual, social network, organizational (e.g., employer, health plan, patient population), city, state, country, and global levels. The index includes five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.

In addition to the global well-being index, Gallup has an American Healthways Well-being Index. State and selected community rankings are available.

Click here to learn more.

Poor Behavior

How Behavioral Economics Interacts with Development Policy

The Economist Free Exchange   

By paying attention to how people actually think, behavioral economics has qualified some of the underlying assumptions of classical economics, notably that everyone is perfectly rational. Some of the simplifying assumptions of economics are not always correct: people do not act in every instance in their long-term interest, they do not weigh all of the costs and benefits before making a decision. 

Click here to read the full article.

Joy to the World

What Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim Can Tell Us About Economics

The Economist Free Exchange   

What is the point of economics? It often seems that the objective is to make the world richer. Yet this is the season when the ineffable supplants the material. Making it a good time to ponder whether maximizing income should really be the end-all of economic policy. 

Click here to read the full article.

The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis

The Atlantic's article explores the real roots of a midlife crisis

Written by Jonathan Rauch  

What a growing body of research reveals about the biology of human happiness - and how to navigate the (temporary) slump in middle age.

Click here to read the full article.

Management QOL in the News - September 22, 2014

World Happiness Report 2013

Edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs.

The world is now in the midst of a major policy debate about the objectives of public policy. What should be the world’s Sustainable Development Goals for the period 2015-2030? The World Happiness Report 2013 is offered as a contribution to that crucial debate.

Click here to download and read the report in its entirety.

Management QOL in the News - August 22, 2014

A Test of Two Positive Psychology Interventions to Increase Employee Well-Being, Journal of Business and Psychology; September 2014, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp. 367-380

Authored by Seth Kaplan, Jill C. Bradley-Geist, Afra Ahmad, Amanda Anderson, Amber K. Hargrove, Alex Lindsey.

Despite an abundance of organizational research on how contextual and individual difference factors impact well-being, little research has examined whether individuals themselves can take an active role in enhancing their own well-being. The current study assessed the effectiveness of two simple, self-guided workplace interventions (“gratitude” and “social connectedness”) in impacting well-being.

Sixty-seven university employees participated in one of the two self-guided interventions for 2 weeks and completed self-report measures prior to the intervention, immediately following the intervention, and one-month post-intervention. Growth curve modeling was used to examine the effects of each intervention.

Partially supporting hypotheses, the gratitude intervention resulted in significant increases in positive affective well-being and self-reported gratitude but not did significantly impact negative affective well-being or self-reported social connectedness. The social connectedness exercise did not significantly impact any of those four outcomes. However, both interventions related to a reduction in workplace absence due to illness.

The study suggests that self-guided, positive psychology interventions (particularly gratitude) hold potential for enhancing employee well-being. Because the interventions are short, simple, and self-guided, there is little in the way of costs or drawbacks for organizations. Thus, these types of interventions seem like a potentially useful component of workplace wellness initiatives.

Management QOL in the News - May 27, 2014

Social Progress Index 2014

To truly advance social progress, we must learn to measure it, comprehensively and rigorously. The Social Progress Index offers a rich framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing. The 2014 version of the Social Progress Index has improved upon the 2013 ‘beta’ version through generous feedback from many observers. We continue to welcome your use and testing of our data, and feedback to help us continue to improve.

Click here to learn more.

The Happiest Countries In The World, Julie Zeveloff, May 21, 2014

Ten of the 11 "most positive" countries in the world are in Latin America, according to a new report from Gallup.

The polling firm asked 1,000 people in 138 countries whether they had experienced various "positive" emotions the previous day.

Overall, most respondents felt some level of positivity in their lives. They were asked whether they experienced enjoyment, laughed or smiled, felt well-rested, were treated with respect, and learned or did interesting things.

Paraguay topped the list for the third year in a row, with 87% of respondents there saying they had experienced positive emotions the previous day. "That so many people are reporting positive emotions in Latin America at least partly reflects the cultural tendency in the region to focus on the positives in life," Gallup's Jon Clifton wrote.

Click here to read the entire article.

Management QOL in the News - April 17, 2014

Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile, February 2010

When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.

You can listen to what he learned by viewing his TED talk at https://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_measuring_what_makes_life_worthwhile.

Click here to view his TED talk.

Management QOL in the News - February 1, 2014

Personnel Matters: Absenteeism due to depression costs employers $23B annually, Matt Dunning, July 26, 2013

Absenteeism among employees diagnosed with depression costs U.S. employers an estimated $23 billion annually, according to a Gallup Inc. report.

More than 18 million full- and part-time employees—roughly 12 percent of the total estimated U.S. workforce—have been diagnosed with depression at least once, according to the report, which was released July 24.

Full-time employees who were diagnosed at some point in their lives with depression missed an average of 8.7 workdays annually for health-related reasons—4.3 more days than employees without a history of depression, according to Gallup's report.

For part-time workers the gap was even larger. Part-time workers diagnosed with depression missed an average 13.7 days of work annually, five days more than workers who had not been diagnosed.

Gallup's findings were based on data collected in its sweeping "Well-Being Index" study, conducted from January 2011 to December 2012. The study interviewed 303,625 working adults nationwide.

Read Full Article Online...

Four Organizations Receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, Nine Honored for Best Practices, March 6, 2013

The American Psychological Association will recognize nine organizations for their efforts to promote employee well-being and performance at its eighth annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 9.

The four employers who will receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) are Bowers + Kubota Consulting (Hawai‘i), Triple-S (Puerto Rico), Christiana Care Health System’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, (Delaware) and Tripler Army Medical Center (Hawai‘i).

These organizations reported an average turnover rate of just six percent in 2012 — significantly less than the national average of 38 percent estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor. In surveys completed by the winning organizations, on average, fewer than 1 in 5 employees (19 percent) reported experiencing chronic work stress, compared to 35 percent nationally, and 84 percent of employees said they were satisfied with their jobs, versus 67 percent across the U.S. workforce. Only 11 percent of employees at these organizations said they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to almost three times as many (31 percent) nationwide.

Read Full Article Online...

Health & workplace productivity, Fahmida Hashem, February 23, 2013

A healthy workplace complements this by supporting the health and well-being of employees. A workplace health programme refers to activities undertaken in the workplace. Public health strategies place increasing emphasis on opportunities to promote healthy behaviours within the workplace setting. The workplace directly influences the physical, mental, economic and social well-being of workers and in turn the health of their families, communities and society.

The World Health Promotion Programme (WHPP) deals with various factors affecting employee health such as poor & stressful working conditions, unclear work roles, lack of career development and conflicts between work, family and leisure. Currently nearly all public sector organisations have an ongoing (WHPP) in many countries.

Wellness programmes are linked to greater productivity, less absenteeism, and a reduction of long-term health care costs. Offer your employees healthy meal and snack options that help fuel their performance while also meeting their nutritional needs. Review the cafeteria menu in organisations to replace unhealthy food with healthier choices. Consider replacing sodas with milk, juice, and stocking snack machines with nuts, dried fruit, and other healthy options and be sure the office cafeteria has plenty of healthy meal options.

Read Full Article Online...

Management QOL in the News - August 12, 2013

Three Insights from the Frontiers of Positive Psychology, The Greater Good: Science of a Meaningful Life, Elise Proulx, August 7, 2013

Last month, the third World Congress on Positive Psychology convened leading scientists to explore the keys to a happy and meaningful life. Here are three of the most striking and practical insights from the conference.

Fifteen years after emerging as a major scientific movement, it's clear that positive psychology—the study of what brings happiness and meaning in life—is not just a fad. The field is reaching new levels of breadth and depth: Having established its core themes and principles during its first decade, it is now getting deeper and more precise in its exploration of what it takes to truly flourish in life.

The growth of positive psychology was evident last month at the International Positive Psychology Association's (IPPA) third bi-annual World Congress on Positive Psychology in downtown Los Angeles. A truly international crowd gathered for four days of workshops and symposia on everything from neuroplasticity and mindfulness to positive organizations and positive psychology in film.

"The science of positive psychology has now achieved a point where it is comparable to the other sub-disciplines of psychology," wrote IPPA president Robert Vallerand in the Congress’ welcome message. "And the scientifically informed applications of positive psychology are more popular and diversified than ever."

Read Full Article Online...

What are the Secrets to a Happy Life?, The Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, George E. Vaillant, August 6, 2013

In following 268 men for their entire lives, the Harvard Grant Study has discovered why some of them turned out happier than others.

At 19 years old, Godfrey Minot Camille was a tall redheaded boy with a charming manner who planned to enter medicine or the ministry. In 1938, Camille enrolled in a study that would follow him for the rest of his life, along with 267 other Harvard College sophomores deemed by recruiters as likely to lead "successful" lives.

Read Full Article Online...

Are Positive Emotions Good for Your Heart?, The Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Adam Hoffman, July 31, 2013

A new study is the first to find that happy people have less risk of a heart attack--even if their family history puts them at high risk.

Having a bad attitude can kill you.

That's the upshot of a large body of scientific research which suggests that negative emotions are connected to developing cardiovascular disease.

But can positive emotions actually extend your life? The answer is yes, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology. It finds that happy, cheerful individuals have significantly lower chances of heart attack and other cardiac problems.

Read Full Article Online...

Management QOL in the News - April 23, 2013

Elizabeth Weil, Happiness Inc., New York Times, April 19, 2013

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, you have a happiness set point. It's partly encoded in your genes. If something good happens, your sense of happiness rises; if something bad happens, it falls.

But either way, before too long, your mood will creep back to its set point because of a really powerful and perverse phenomenon referred to in science as "hedonic adaptation." You know, people get used to things.

With her 2007 book, "The How of Happiness," and this year's follow-up, "The Myths of Happiness,"

Dr. Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, caused ripples in her field but also drew a wider audience, cementing her place in a long chain of happiness-industry stalwarts, from M. Scott Peck with "The Road Less Traveled" to Martin E. P. Seligman and "Learned Optimism" to Daniel Gilbert and his best-selling "Stumbling on Happiness."

Dr. Lyubomirsky's findings can be provocative and, at times, counterintuitive. Renters are happier than homeowners, she says. Interrupting positive experiences makes them more enjoyable.

Acts of kindness make people feel happier, but not if you are compelled to perform the same act too frequently. (Bring your lover breakfast in bed one day, and it feels great. Bring it every day, and it feels like a chore.)

Dr. Lyubomirsky ­ 46, Russian and expecting to give birth to her fourth child this weekend ­ is an unlikely mood guru. "I really hate all the smiley faces and rainbows and kittens," she said in her office. She doesn't often count her blessings or write gratitude letters, both of which she thinks sound hokey even though her research suggests they make people happier.

Read Full Article Online...

Management QOL in the News - March 29, 2013

Susan Dominus, Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?, New York Times, March 27, 2013

Just after noon on a Wednesday in November, Adam Grant wrapped up a lecture at the Wharton School and headed toward his office, a six-minute speed walk away. Several students trailed him, as often happens; at conferences, Grant attracts something more like a swarm. Grant chatted calmly withthem but kept up the pace. He knew there would be more students waiting outside his office, and he said, more than once, "I really don’t like to keep students waiting."

Grant, 31, is the youngest-tenuredand highest-rated professor at Wharton. He is also one of the most prolific academics in his field, organizational psychology, the study of workplace dynamics. Grant took three years to get his Ph.D., and in the seven years since, he has published more papers in his field’s top-tier journals than colleagues who have won lifetime-achievement awards. His influence extends beyond academia. He regularly advises companies about how to get the most out oftheir employees and how to help their employees get the most out of their jobs. Itis Grant whom Google calls when “we are thinking about big problems we are trying to solve,” says Prasad Setty, who heads Google’s people analytics group. Plenty of people havemade piles of money by promising the secrets to getting things done or working a four-hour week or figuring out what color your parachute is or how to be a brilliant one-minute manager. But in an academic field that is preoccupied with the study of efficiency and productivity, Grant would seem to be the most efficient and productive.

Read Full Article Online...

Management QOL in the News - February 16, 2013

Total Rewards and Employee Well-Being - WorldatWork

WorldatWork has compiled the results from an October 2011 member survey designed to gather information about current trends in well-being practices. The focus of the research was to construct a well-being researchproject that brings a unique perspective on comprehensive employee wellness programs and the benefits gained by the practitioners.

To view the full results from the survey, download the report by clicking the link below.

Download Full Report...

Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., Lessons from the Science of Well-Being for New Graduates and their Parents

For the past decade, Todd Kashdan has been teaching a course called "The Science of Well-Being," exposing students to what scientists have learned about happiness, positive emotions, love, creativity, forgiveness, mindfulness, curiosity, and meaning and purpose in life.

Read Full Article...

Management QOL in the News - October 25, 2010

Jenifer Robison, The Business Case for Wellbeing: Having high levels of wellbeing is good for people -- and their employers, Gallup Management Journal, June 09, 2010

http://gmj.gallup.com/content/139373/Business-Case-Wellbeing.aspx?gclid=COKi-5Kh7qQCFVB95QodL0JG1w

Management QOL in the News - June 19, 2010

Dana Gionta, Integrity and Employee Well-being: Compromising your integrity at work is high stakes Psychology Today, April 6, 2010

The practice of integrity is an important, although often overlooked, component of employee well-being. I say 'practice' because integrity is formed through repeated, consistent action over time. Webster's definition of integrity is "the quality or state of being complete or undivided".

Read Full Article...

Emily Ford, How to maximise employee wellbeing The Times, May 13, 2009

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Management QOL in the News - June 22, 2009

Offering a vision for the best quality of life in care homes: An innovative programme to promote and improve the quality of life of people living in care homes in Wales will be launched this week. Programme manager John Moore from Age Concern Cymru and Help the Aged in Wales, explains the concept behind My Home Life Wales; The Western Mail, June 22, 2009

More Information At...

Management QOL in the News - May 25, 2009

Angela M. Downey, Good Health Is Good Business; Wellness Culture; Why some organizations score over others, Financial Post

Organizations have employed integrated worksite health promotion (WHP) -- policies that encourage employees to choose lifestyles that may improve their health -- for years now. But more and more organizations are using specific bottom-line motivations to define their health promotion activities.

They are designing programs to reduce specific benefit costs rather than relying on direct assessments of employees' needs -- a "hard" approach as opposed to a "soft" approach to WHP.

This trend is likely driven by evidence that creating an environment that encourages employees to take more responsibility for improving their lifestyle choices can have a significant positive impact on productivity, absenteeism rates, morale and, important in today's cost climate, reduce employee benefit costs.

Reviews of WHP studies reveal that sick time can be reduced by 28%, health-care costs can be cut by 26% and workers' compensation can be lowered by 30%.

But all these benefits of WHP don't come easy. Many organizations attempt to create programs that succeed in building a culture of wellness. On the other hand, many fail to achieve the expected results.

The question remains why some build a culture where making better personal lifestyle choices is the norm for employees and some organizations try but never reach the point of institutionalizing a wellness culture.

Recent research undertaken by a team of academics in Canada is trying to address this question. Dr. Ali Dastmalchian and myself from the University of Victoria, along with Dr. Helen Kelley from the University of Lethbridge and Dr. David Sharp from the Ivey School of Business, have gathered data from 75 organizations in Canada deemed to have exemplary WHP programs.

The organizations come from government, financial, manufacturing, health and service industries and each has been recognized as an example of innovative, and in many instances, award-winning organizations.

When we looked behind the result of these organizations, this is what we found:

Exemplary Organizations Use Change Theories

All the firms in our sample embarked on a process of organizational change.

The first step an organization needs to take if it wants a change to be long-lasting is to get its organization ready for change. Once an organization's employees are ready for change, they will try the change on, leading to early adoption.

If commitment to the change is built, then the change will be institutionalized within the organization.

Of some surprise was the amount of readiness activities the organizations in our sample undertook. They used all the change model recommendations to ensure their employees were ready to take more responsibility for their own well-being. They created awareness that there was a gap between the current state of employee well-being and where individuals could be.

With top management support, the implementation team provided the evidence that WHP could fill this gap by planning and designing a program of health promotion activities that met the needs of the employee base.

The readiness process contributed to employee self-efficacy, and provided insights into what benefits were in the program for the employees. In addition, the organization trained and supported multiple change agents to lead and foster the change.

Normally, in a change process, there is an extensive period of adoption, referred to as a "trying on for size" period. Through the adoption phase individual commitment is

built and a change can be institutionalized within an organization. The "adoption" stage in our exemplary firms was very short. Once convinced that this change was in employees' best interest (as well as organizations'), recipients of the change moved fairly rapidly from being ready for change to internalizing the change resulting in improved lifestyle choices.

Hard and Soft Wellness

Normally we expect to see WHP emanating over time out of HR departments, or the traditional health and safety departments, or in today's new environment, out of newly designed departments created specifically to plan, design and implement WHP.

The process starts with accessing the current health status of employees through questionnaires and then designing a program of activities that matches the needs of the employees based on their health status. In some organizations this includes such activities as diet clubs, walking groups, health information fairs, and monitoring processes (i. e., blood pressure, hearing etc.). Employees and their requirements for a healthier life are at the core of this process.

One unanticipated finding was a turnaround in this normal approach to developing WHP. The past few years have seen an increased call for the business justification for developing WHP.

We found firms that were doing just that. They began the process by examining their benefits costs.

They determined what was costing the organization the most and started by planning and designing WHP activities that would reduce those costs. For example, an analysis of employees' use of pharmaceuticals may reveal that the organization's employee base has a high prescription rate for stress-and depression-related drugs.

Organizations are building their WHP around this fact, designing activities to reduce this pharmaceutical use with the main goal being the reduction in the cost of benefits although meeting those goals should also benefit employees in the long run.

The change process is still used to create readiness and institutionalize change, but the motivation is considerably different than it has been in the past for most organizations developing WHP.

The traditional approach to WHP we are labelling "soft" wellness and the bottom-line approach we are labelling "hard" wellness. It remains to be seen if this new bottom-up cost-driven approach is successful at improving employees' lifestyle choices and whether it influences more organizations to consider the idea of building a wellness culture. Currently, it appears to be working for some Canadian organizations!

--- Angela Downey is an associate professor of accounting at the University of Victoria and has been researching worksite health promotion for nearly two decades. In addition Dr. Downey is a health economist examining the financial implications of changes in health treatments and service delivery models

Management QOL in the News - May 11, 2009

Generosity Bears Fruit for Staff, Liverpool Daily Echo 1ST Edition, May 11, 2009

More Information At...

Management QOL in the News - October 25, 2008

Donna Nebenzahl, Companies that make employees feel valued create great places to work. It's that simple. The Gazette (Montreal), October 25, 2008

What sort of companies offer academic scholarships, matching RSP contributions, maternity top-up payments, employee training, generous paid vacations and alternative work options?

Companies that know managing employees well is part of their business. In other words, they're serious about recruiting and keeping quality employees.

Read Full Article...

Management QOL in the News - October 15, 2008

The Power of Now to Reduce Stress and Absenteeism Business and Finance, October 15, 2008

Natural Onsite Wellbeing Ltd (NOW) was set up earlier this year. It is a stress-management company designed to deliver active stress management in the workplace. By introducing regular stress management, not only is individual stress reduced, but organizational stress is also diminished. This seeks to reduce absenteeism thus employers cut costs and gain productivity leading to employees feeling more engaged.

Read Full Article...

Management QOL in the News - February 8, 2008

Work's fun? You must be having a laugh! In association with Business Venture Daily Post (Liverpool), February 8, 2008

HAVE you heard the one about the Liverpool company teaching people to laugh to improve performance at work?

It may sound like funny business, but laughter is a serious earner for Laughology, a Hanover Street-based humour consultancy.

Estimates claim more than 6m working days are lost every year due to stress, much of it workrelated, which has led organisations to look at innovative methods to improve their employees well-being.

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Management QOL in the News - January 22, 2008

Alexander Kjerulf, Yes, you can be happy at work Christian Science Monitor, January 22, 2008

Although in many American corporations there is no concept of workroom happiness, it does not have to be that way. Alexander Kjerulf discusses the problems with the American worker mentality in an article on happiness in the workplace.

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