Fit4business Tips Book Edit


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Three steps towards a more productive, resilient workforce

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Fit4business Tips Book Edit

  1. 1. Fit for BusinessT hree steps to improve your company’ s competitive advantageMartin Crisp
  2. 2. Fit for Business T hree steps toimprove your company’s competitive advantage E dited version Martin Crisp
  3. 3. © 2011 Martin CrispThe right of Martin Crisp to be identified as the author of this work isasserted world-wide. All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe produced, stored or transmitted in any form by any means, electrical,mechanical or otherwise without the prior written consent of the author.Edited by Marie-Louise Cook.Printed and bound in Great Britain byPrint SmarterBristol and West HousePost Office RoadBournemouth BH1 1BLMember of APCTo join visit:
  4. 4. ContentsIntroduction 5Are your premises lowering your employees’ resilience? 7Step No.1: Gaining full buy-in from the senior 9management teamStep No. 2: Initiate and then continuously reinforce the 12value of individual health and well-being to everyonewithin the organisationStep No. 3: Nurture a healthy eating culture 15 3
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  6. 6. IntroductionWith all companies constantly competing to gain marketshare and position, it’s becoming increasingly difficult toprovide a product or service that is genuinely unique. Whenunique products do arrive to market they are quickly copiedor improved by your competition. In such a market, oneof the most effective ways to establish your competitiveadvantage is by out-behaving the competition. Out-behavingleads to out-performing; however, delivering this level ofcompetitive edge can be highly stressful for your seniormanagement and their teams.Such is the rate of change that day to day demands will, if leftunchecked, impact on an individual’s resilience and personaleffectiveness, which in turn undermines your competitiveadvantage.Absenteeism as a result of long-term health issues (suchas stress, cancers and chronic diseases) is on the increase.The CBI reports that absence through sickness costs theeconomy £13.4 billion per annum. Companies now have toconsider the many senior managers who face the prospectof having to work additional years before they considerretirement. Losing this resource for even a relatively shortperiod of time leaves employers potentially depleted of bothexperience and wisdom. 5
  7. 7. Worse still, it is likely that ‘presenteeism’ (attending work but underperforming due to illness, stress or depression) is going to become an increasing problem as colleagues struggle to keep pace with the demands of the workplace. There are other health concerns too. The rise of obesity within the UK is alarming with one in six people over the age of 40 developing diabetes. The average man now weighs a stone more than in the mid-1980s. Economists are truly concerned about how the UK will afford to support and treat the predicted levels of obesity and associated conditions.The Government is beginning to form policies to try and reverse this trend and will be looking to legislate to ensure employers adopt a level of corporate responsibility to support their employees improve their health and well-being. In fact, the Government’s recent public health white paper, ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’ talks of “working with employers to unleash their potential as champions of public health” whilst suggesting that employers “should look to support the health and well-being of their staff”. This booklet is aimed at providing you with cost-effective, easy ways to ensure your work environment is not only supportive but also boosts your people’s physical and mental well-being which is essential when building a resilient workforce.Martin Crisp Martin Crisp Executive Coach 6
  8. 8. Are your premises lowering your employees’ resilience?H ow many times have you entered an organisation and felt there was something lacking? Did the environmentaffect your behaviour? This effect, termed the ‘Power ofContext’, helps explain why we whisper in hospitals, feelanxious in police stations and sad in cemeteries. Physically,many workplace environments are drab and uninspiringand they can dampen the enthusiasm and energy of thoseworking within them, which results in bland thinking.Working environments are often not conducive to improvingthe resilience of people who work within them. This isespecially important when you consider how many workersare office-based and how much time they spend sitting infront of computer monitors. One of the biggest challengesfaced by senior managers today is the need to keep abreastof new ways of working and technological developments.This fast pace can bring additional challenges and place morepressure on employees. This can have a negative impact onemployees – whereas they might once have felt exhilaratedby their work, they begin to feel stressed. 7
  9. 9. Research suggests that companies engaging in programmesthat improve workforce resilience achieve better resultsthrough improved productivity, better employee engagementand lower absenteeism. It should come as no surprisetherefore that many of the ‘Times Top 100 Companies towork for’ have invested in this area.Initiating a focus to improve workforce resilience needn’tinvolve a massive investment as the key is often one ofraising awareness, effectively signposting services locally andsupporting colleagues to consider the benefits of makingsome small yet fundamental changes to their everydayroutines that together produce considerable benefits.The ideas aren’t complex but like anything, they only workwhen they’re actually used regularly… creating a culture thatmakes them stick is what makes the difference. How manyprogrammes and courses have you been on where you’veleft feeling highly motivated with a hastily written actionplan that promises to change the world only to find it threemonths later stuffed into the bottom of your briefcase?People take action and remain motivated when they seeimprovements and to do this, some clear measureabletargets need to be firstly set and then regularly reviewed.With that in mind, I’ve chosen seven steps that are easyto implement with over 40 actions for you to considerwhich will help you to dramatically improve your company’sproductivity, talent retention and employee engagement. 8
  10. 10. Step No.1: Gaining full buy-in from thesenior management teamIt’s not always easy for senior managers to fully appreciatethe return they will receive from a programme to improveworkforce resilience. In 2008, David MacLeod and NitaClarke were commissioned by the Department for Business(BIS) to take an in-depth look at employee engagement andto report on its potential benefits for organisations andemployees. In their report, ‘Engaging for success: enhancingperformance through employee engagement’, theydemonstrated a clear link between improving employeeengagement and productivity.So what benefits can a health and well being initiative toimprove resilience provide employers with? Well, those whohave invested report the following effects on their workforce: • increased productivity • reduced stress and anxiety • lower rates of absenteeism and quicker return to work after illness • fewer injuries in the workplace • improvement in communications, morale and working atmosphere • a positive corporate image which attracts higher calibre employees.Here are some actions to consider when building a businesscase for a well-being initiative: 9
  11. 11. Action 1. Calculate how much absence is costing yourbusiness. No. of employees x average days absence/employee per annum = Total days absence Your company’s average daily salary rate x total days absence = Cost of absence Actual cost of absence = Cost of absence x 3*MacLeod confirmed that engaged employees took anaverage of 2.69 days of absence per year compared with6.19 days per year for those who felt disengaged.*average contribution to the business lost from eachemployee absence dayAction 2. Consider staff turnover by determining thenumber of employees who have left the company in thepast year and multiply by £7,500 (which is the averagecost to replace an employee based upon a CIPD study).Remember, this doesn’t take into account the potential timeit takes to bring that person up to a similar level as theprevious jobholder. It is also worth considering the likely riskof members of the senior management team being absentfrom the business either from ill-health or because they havemoved to pastures new. MacLeod established that engagedemployees are 87% less likely to leave the company whencompared with those who felt disengaged. 10
  12. 12. Action 3. Another area to consider depending on yourbusiness is the impact a healthier, more resilient seniormanagement team could have on your sales line.It has been proven that there is a clear link betweenleadership and motivation of colleagues. John Adair, one ofthe world’s leading authorities on leadership and leadershipdevelopment, suggests that 50% of motivation comes froman individual’s environment, especially from the leadershipencountered there. Harvard Business School in turnidentified a clear link between motivation and engagementwhilst MacLeod linked improved engagement to improvedproductivity and measurable output.How many additional sales and customers are being lostthrough ‘presenteeism’ in your business? 11
  13. 13. Step No. 2: Initiate and thencontinuously reinforce the value ofindividual health and well-being toeveryone within the organisationMany companies have a clear purpose, vision and mission witha set of company values to help guide them towards successand prosperity. There is often considerable investment tohelp employees appreciate and understand these businessgoals; however they are often lost as short-term prioritiestake over.All of us have our own set of personal values and beliefs,although we often don’t bring them to the surface. It is wellknown that frustration and discontentment can often arisewhen individuals feel their values are being compromisedby the company they work for. When completing a ‘valuesexercise’ with many professionals, I’ve found that ‘health’ isoften identified as one of their core values. More often thannot, this value doesn’t emerge until very close to the end ofthe discussion. Furthermore, when asked to prioritise theircore values, ‘health’ usually comes in the top three. This isborne out by a study done by the Really Rich Project whereover 1000 people were asked to value the things that wereimportant to them and ‘Having good health’ came out ontop being valued at over £180,000.You may be thinking, ‘So what?’Well I believe that generally people don’t really valuetheir health until something goes wrong. They wait untila ‘significant emotional event’ happens. It’s a bit like not 12
  14. 14. getting your car serviced and wondering why it decides tobreakdown on a frosty December morning. So the secondstep is all about how helping your employees truly value theirhealth will inspire them to take action before a significantemotional event occurs.Here are some practical actions for you to consider:Action 4. Review awareness of the company purpose,vision, mission and values, considering whether there is anopportunity to re-communicate or re-invigorate them. Ifyou don’t have these, engage your employees to help identifyand appreciate what your company stands for.Action 5. Help colleagues to consider their own personalgoals and core values and what’s truly important to them.Even though ‘health’ might not come up specifically I wouldbe very surprised if it didn’t underpin at least some of thepersonal goals identified. It could be a simple as ‘wanting tokick a football around the park with my future grandson’.Action 6. Consider carrying out an audit of the offices,workstations, facilities, rest areas, bulletin boards, foodfacilities and overall ambience to understand the simplesteps that could be taken to create a more energisingworking environment. From the findings, create a clearaction plan with measurable goals and review dates. 13
  15. 15. Action 7. Build on the understanding that health andwell-being helps people to take a more holistic approachto their lives, whether at work or at home. Working on thedifferent elements that contribute to better health actuallycompounds the benefits. This can be demonstrated simplyusing a model such as the Health Millionaire framework. Aninitial ‘health awareness day’ offering to calculate Body MassIndex (BMI), and assess physical activity levels and currenteating habits is a great starting point.Action 8. Lead by example. Global professional servicescompany Towers Watson found that only 29% of UKemployees felt that senior management were seriouslyinterested in their employees’ wellbeing. It may seem like acliché but when members of the senior management teamare seen to place a high value on their own health and well-being it inspires other to follow their example. A Harvardstudy identified that great leadership from a motivatedsenior management also improves employee engagementand has a positive impact on the P & L. Consider thereforethe potential benefits of investing in a coach who could alignthe resilience initiative with the delivery of company KPI’s.Action 9. Identify ‘health champions’ within your companywho have a particular passion for supporting others toimprove health. They can lead initiatives such as an on-siteweight management programme or a walking group. 14
  16. 16. Step No. 3: Nurture a healthy eatingcultureThe modern day workplace is a very different environmentto the one our parents worked in. One element howeverhas remained completely unchanged. … the inner workingsof the human body. In fact, not a lot has changed in the humanbody since prehistoric times. This can help us understandwhy today’s lifestyle can be so damaging to our generalhealth and well-being.Rewind to our cavemen ancestors and their bodies, in afight or flight response to perceived danger from ferociouspredators, released adrenaline. We release adrenaline whenwe deal with the ferocious pace of corporate life. The stresscan lead to potential burnout. Cavemen had to hunt forfood. When they ate their body released insulin to controltheir sugar levels and store any excess as fat because theirbodies didn’t know when the next meal would come.Fast forward to our modern day diet and our bodies arebombarded by refined sugars that send blood sugars soaring.Our bodies literally have to defend themselves by releasinglarge amounts of insulin to ‘mop up’ the sugars which thenget converted into fat. If this process continues it resultsin undesirable weight gain. More concerning, our bodieseffectively give up trying to defend themselves against theonslaught of sugary snacks and insulin-resistance developswhich can then lead to diabetes.So what actions are required to encourage employees to eata healthy balanced diet? 15
  17. 17. Action 10. Break down the myths of dieting. Let peopleknow that healthy eating is a habit that needs to bemaintained for a lifetime, not a sacrificial discipline to achieveshort-term weight loss. It’s also important for people tounderstand that their body shapes differ depending upontheir inherited genes. There are three basic body types(ectomorphs, endomorphs and mesomorphs) and theseshould be considered when setting weight loss goals anddeciding on appropriate activity for exercising. For example,Muhammad Ali would probably not have excelled in the 60metres hurdles.Typical traits of an endomorph: • Soft and round body • Gains muscle and fat very easily • Is generally short and stocky • Round physique • Finds it hard to lose fat • Slow metabolism.Typical traits of a mesomorph: • Athletic • Hard body with well-defined muscles • Rectangular-shaped body • Strong • Gains muscle easily • Gains fat more easily than ectomorphs.Typical traits of an ectomorph: • Small delicate frame and bone structure • Lean muscle mass • Finds it hard to gain weight • Fast metabolism. 16
  18. 18. Action 11. Help everyone appreciate the potential hazardof eating a diet full of refined sugars and carbohydrates (forexample, fizzy soft drinks, muffins, white bread, etc.). Raisetheir awareness of foods with a low ‘Glycaemic Load’ whichcontain slower releasing carbohydrates and how these canhelp stabilise blood sugar levels.Action 12. Good eating habits develop when an individualbecomes more appreciative of the food they eat and howfull it makes them feel. A poster of a ‘hunger scale’ in thecanteen area can help employees to eat only when theyneed to. (A ‘hunger scale’ encourages people to identify howhungry they really are on a scale from one to 10 with onebeing ‘feeling faint with hunger’ and 10 being ‘not hungry atall’.)Action 13. Champion breakfast. Everyone seems to buy into the notion that having breakfast is a good idea but very fewseem to find the time for it. How can your company supportyour people start their working day on the right foot? Oneway would be to provide a microwave so employees canmake porridge if they wish when they arrive in the morning.Action 14. Encourage people to bring in mid-morning andmid-afternoon snacks. Review how easy it is for employeesto access snack foods containing a healthy balance of slowreleasing carbohydrates, protein and healthier fats. Sucha snack might be a small piece of fruit and a handful ofalmonds and pumpkin seeds. Not all fruit is the same in termsof controlling blood sugars - bananas and grapes are the worstculprits; berries however contain the slower releasing xylosesugar which has a far lower glycaemic load value. 17
  19. 19. Action 15. Most people appreciate the need to drink plentyof water at regular intervals throughout the day but veryfew actually do. Sometimes the feeling of hunger can besimply due to lack of regular fluids.This can be very commonin long meetings where an opportunity for a break usuallysees people drinking cups of tea or coffee rather than thewater their bodies crave. Lack of water in the body canoften be misinterpreted as hunger so encourage colleaguesto drink a glass of water, wait seven minutes and then reviewhow hungry they really feel.Action 16. Why is it that the snack options for energymaintenance at meetings take the form of Haribos, milkchocolate snacks or muffins? There are plenty of healthieralternatives that can provide a longer, more sustained sourceof energy without sending blood sugars through the roof.Why not start regular ‘Fruity Fridays’ and encourage peopleto consider healthier snack alternatives?Action 17. Public displays of an individual’s weight can putpeople off from participating in a programme so consideran alternative measure such as a ‘total circumferencemeasurements’ figure. This is simply determined by addingthe measurements of the waist, hip, thigh and upper armcircumferences together. 18
  20. 20. Get the Full versionSo there you have it. Three steps to considerthat I believe will make a real difference to anybusiness.I hope you have found the steps and actions useful and feelinspired to share them with your colleagues.You can download the full version of this booklet which containsfour more steps..just go to for details. 19
  21. 21. About the author Martin Crisp, director of London-based Fit4Life Coaching Ltd, qualified as a pharmacist in 1987.He worked steadily through the corporate ranks at twoleading health and beauty organisations to become Head ofPharmacy responsible for over 200 practices.Along the way, he acquired a wealth of experience andknowledge in health matters, leadership, speaking andpersonal development. As a fully qualified ILM Level 7accredited Executive coach, he offers a unique blend of skillsand experience to support companies to become truly fitfor business. 20
  22. 22. Testimonials“Martin helped me take control of my life at workand hence reduce my stress levels considerably.I would recommend him to anyone trying to balancework and family life and feel that they are ‘sinking’or at best ‘floating’, when they should in fact be‘swimming’.” Caroline Hargrove Programme Director at McLaren Applied Technologies“Martin really makes you stop and think. His styleis both challenging and supportive which generatesboth clear objectives and the inspiration to takeaction.” Sean Watret Regional General Manager at Superdrug
  23. 23. Fit for Business completeSeven steps to dramatically improve yourcompany’s competitive advantageWith all companies constantly competing to gainmarket share and position, building workforceresilience is key to improving your company’scompetitive advantage.You might think that such a programme is a luxury that only the largestcompanies can afford to run. But in this booklet, Executive Business CoachMartin Crisp explains how such a programme can be introduced at a lowcost. The returns, as he explains, are well worth the small investment.He provides seven steps that will considerably impact your company’sbottom line. They are:Step No.1: Gaining full buy-in from the senior management teamStep No.2: Initiate and then continuously reinforce the value ofindividual health and well-being to everyone within the organisationStep No.3: Nurture a healthy eating cultureStep No.4: Encourage activenessStep No.5: Help your people focus and they will deliverStep No.6: Have fun giving something backStep No.7: Signpost local services and create opportunities to bringhealth and well-being into the workplaceBy the time you’ve finished reading this booklet, you’ll know howto start your own cost-effective programme to build a resilientworkforce truly fit for business. “Martin really makes you stop and think. His style is both challenging and supportive which generates both clear objectives and the inspiration to take action.” Sean Watret - Regional General Manager at Superdrug