PH and HR: Public Health and Human Resources, a Holistic Approach.
Counterintuitive Programs?When it comes to HR, it sometimes amazes me how much we do hurt ourselves without realizing it.
- (1) Why is it that we (companies, HR or local HR partners doing the execution) choose all kinds of indulging food as engagement initiatives? Think a little bit: we provide sometimes or often (some organizations on a weekly basis) free lunches and/or free breakfasts. We even market it and use it as a recruiting tool. Perfect! Employees love it: it helps on busy days. But if Tech companies' cafetarias are ahead of times and have joined the rank of those in Europe, we still have to wonder why so many others offer super sugary donuts for breakfast. Why super salty and fatty food for lunches? Why candies galore as recognition? Maybe because it is what is easily accessible and not too pricey, within the most common HR budget. Well, we (again, companies via HR) cannot afford organic, and most of us are not creative enough to go around the issue...Worse: we just don't think of it as an issue. Certainly not! We are doing the best we can. We provide free breakfasts and lunches, and we recognize any work effort! We work on engagement and recognition, and we think it also helps in retention and morale. So what's the fuss about? Ah! Flip the coin: it is a Public Health issue! I bet it never occurred to you that organizations could fall into that "food accessibility and affordability" trap, let alone "health education."
- (2) And I repeat, let alone Health Education and Promotion because on the other hand, we (companies via HR: EAP, Health Benefits, Wellness) do offer a wide-, and ever increasing range of health incentives in Health Prevention programs: smoking cessation, weight loss, diabetes and High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol prevention to name a few. We (companies) are also firmly convinced - and within reason- that those Heath-related programs will help in Healthcare cost reduction, productivity, morale, and retention. Don't our Engagement, Retention, and Recruitment initiatives need to fall in-line with other programs that ,after all, have in target business success? And, if we, as a company, can go green we also ought to be able to bring Bio and green food to the table.
Bringing It to a Full Circle
To me, and I know this is finally getting to be the norm (HR as a business partner and leader), we (companies) would be more successful if HR (we again) could have a more holistic approach to projects and programs, and analyze or approach those HR-related programs as inherent to business success. On the one hand, Senior leadership need to understand that HR has a role in bringing together the elements that impact Healthcare, Marketing Communication, and HR issues such as retention, morale, performance and productivity. One the other hand, it IS the business case that HR needs to uphold.
So, we design the big picture, but we all have to put the pieces of the puzzle together to bring the elements of that big picture alive and well, in full circle. Certainly, we would have a better company performance for our human resources feeling better at work. We would also contribute to a better society, a healthier one, a more successful one, one organization at a time, one HR at a time. As agent of change, leader, and business partner, should we transmit that message - in simple terms - up to the lowest level of HR execution for best practices? Why not? We are all part of a chain and contributing to the same goal, aren't we?
Human Resources for Health
On Improved Health and Organizational Performance
On Food for Employees and Corporate Productivity