Smart Investing In Corporate Wellness Pays Off

smart investing


“Coaching at all levels is a key predictor of success. Coaching is empowering, encouraging and effective.”

Organizations spend enormous amounts of money on HR and people-focused programs. While
many programs are intended to develop and support employees, these initiatives often miss the
mark. They are too bureaucratic and cumbersome, and lack alignment with the organization’s
vision and mission. The unintended consequences are employee discouragement and apathy,
and limited dollars for ‘better value’ programs.

HR departments and CEO’s need only make some key changes in their choice of initiatives to
build more trust and engagement, and to better lift employees up rather than sap their energy.

Check out these innovative programs that are trending in progressive organizations:


Let’s face it no one likes evaluations. This includes many HR folks. Even the best systems are time-consuming and cumbersome, and they don’t offer employees the kind of real-time feedback needed for continuous improvement. Effective management teams are already providing regular feedback to employees, and this practice should remain as such, so that employees can feel encouraged, and have clear roles and responsibilities. Annual and semi-annual reviews systems don’t effectively augment well-constructed feedback.

We need to refocus time, effort and money to develop people programs.

In the September, 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review, David Rock and Beth Jones dug into performance reviews, citing how many organizations are making big changes to their performance review programs. Companies like Deloitte, Accenture, Cigna and GE are reconsidering how employees are evaluated. They further note that research conducted by Bersin/Deloitte shows that approximately 70% of companies are now reconsidering their performance management strategy.

New programs should foster real-time feedback from managers and peers. To develop such programs, organizations need to invest in managers’ communication and relationships skills, enabling them to effectively motivate their teams.


We’ve become accustomed to seeing country’s and company’s staggering health-care cost statistics, and the rise of many diseases, including metabolic syndrome.

Medcan’s Addressing Metabolic Syndrome in the Workplace publication from October 2015 reminds us that organizations bear “the cost of lost days, lost morale, absenteeism, and presenteeism.” It further cites that one expert believes that absenteeism and presenteeism are a $6-billion annual problem in Canada alone.

Frightening. Discouraging. Unaffordable.

The good news is that there is evidence to suggest that workplace wellness programs work. Once viewed as a ‘nice to have’, these programs are demonstrating clear and measurable ROI.

What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs? (HBR, December 2010) shares some very encouraging numbers.

A small sample is noted below:

… Johnson and Johnson have embraced wellness, and believe that their wellness programs have saved them $250 million on health care costs over the last decade.

… Towers Watson and the National Business Group found that organizations with wellness programs ‘that worked’ reported “significantly lower voluntary attrition than do those whose programs have low effectiveness.”

There are many attributes to an effective wellness program. They need to be well-communicated, fun, accessible, evidence-based, and have high standards.


Coaching at all levels is a key predictor of success. Coaching is empowering, encouraging and effective.

It’s time for more employers to provide coaching across all levels and career streams. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as, “an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses, and organizations. Through this process, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance and enhance their quality of life.”

How can coaching benefit employees? The Harvard Business Review’s Answer Exchange outlines some key areas, all of which we have observed as outcomes of coaching:

… Improves performance issues

… Strengthens employee skills

… Boosts productivity

… Improves retention

Effective coaching lifts employees up and can allow them to better flourish in the workplace. It’s time to pivot, spend better, and lift up our organizations’ amazing employees who come to work to make a difference every single day.


1. Progressive and positive employee-focused programs are the future of HR.

2. There is tremendous opportunity for organizations to pivot their people-focused programs.

3. Every organization should offer coaching to employees at all levels. 



Gary LeBlanc (B.Eng, MBA) – CEO of Ikkuma and positivity grenade – spent over a dozen years managing strategic operations for tier 1 companies. He’s now following his passion… to engineer a solution for our generation’s wellness.

Beth Corcoran (MA, CHRL) – Managing Director at Corcoran Consulting and shoe enthusiast – is a business consultant and coach, based out of Toronto, Canada. Beth has worked with thousands of employees as a coach, advisor, trainer, teacher and clinician.

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