Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Good To Be Well

Reprinted from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce's Wellness Council of Indiana.

What Does Wellness Have to do With Recruiting?
By Steve Fero, partner and owner, Career Solutions Group

Even in an economic downturn, top performers still have their choice of employers. So, how do you position your company to attract these high producing potential employees? Aligning wellness initiatives with your recruiting strategy can send the right message – that your organization embraces an environment of high performance.

Based upon my 20 years of recruiting experience, there are several organizational characteristics that high producers and high-performing managers look for in a prospective employer. First, these high achievers expect an environment that embraces challenge, innovation and creativity. Second, they look for evidence of a company commitment to employee professional growth and learning. Third, high performers must see that they are surrounded by an organization that promotes peak productivity.

Of course, they will also expect a competitive compensation and progressive benefits package. Professional motivators of high performers systematically align with the key components of a comprehensive and consistent wellness initiative that can define your company’s organizational culture and environment.

Organizational absenteeism is a big red flag to prospective high performers and managers. Not knowing who will be on their team from day to day is a serious concern and stress creator. While they may be more than willing to pick up the slack for those out of the office due to illness, a high incidence of absenteeism due to illness can drive away key employees and potential recruits. By promoting healthy habits that reduce health risks and decrease absenteeism, you will see your top performers produce at a high level and likely raise the performance of those around them too.

Great employees expect to be in top form each day. They typically stay physically active and eat better to ensure every productive minute is spent on being the best they can be. How can you create an environment to help your employees stay in top form? First, take a look at your policies. If your work environment has developed HR policies that create roadblocks rather than promote healthy habits, your employees will ultimately decrease productivity.

High-performer stress can have its roots in a business strategy that does not incorporate the basic elements of a wellness concept. When policies and the organizational environment do not support high performance, managers will become stressed and high performers will, over time, become frustrated and leave. Aligning wellness concepts with your business strategy will help prevent high performers’ energy from being sapped and stifled. Ignoring the importance of aligning a culture of wellness with recruiting, on the other hand, will result in hiring second-tier candidates and likely higher health care costs.

How can you make sure that your environment and established hiring practices are enticing to a top producer? Many employer best practices already include the basic concepts of a cost-effective wellness strategy or plan. Since Indiana continues to rank near the bottom of every national health and wellness ranking, it is extremely important to highlight or spotlight the “well things” that your organization historically does well.

Celebrate and communicate these “well cultural” attributes throughout your organization. Your employees will become your sounding board for improving and promoting your wellness culture. Working with a recruiting process expert up front to develop a recruiting strategy that aligns your wellness culture with your message to recruits will help ensure success in attaining your business goals and desired outcomes.

Focus your recruiting strategy on the characteristics that great recruits seek. Do not promote or make false claims about the wellness of your employee population, but focus on some easy-to-implement wellness strategies that fit within your company culture.

An executive recruiting firm since 1995, Career Solutions Group provides corporate recruiting strategy, national corporate recruiting, executive search, custom recruiting and talent acquisition strategy services primarily to Indiana-headquartered companies with up to 500 employees. Steve Fero can be contacted at (317) 466-9740 or