Wellness: The Powerful Corporate Communication Channel
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”– George Bernard Shaw
As I packed my laptop bag, I did a final check. All cables, chargers, stationery, my notebook, pen drive with a backup of presentation, phone…check, check, check. Enough time to navigate traffic and reach the client site for the workshop – check.
A corporate wanted a series of workshops for their “Employee Wellness Initiative.” The ‘team’ in charge of overseeing this had been communicating vision and needs with me over emails and calls and had even narrowed it down to the topics they want to be covered. “Quite involved!” I thought to myself.
I reached the venue a little ahead of time, as I prefer to. I was lead to the big hall where tables, chairs, water, and tea/coffee stations were neatly laid out. The request for unhindered space for movement had been looked after, so that seemed a good start. Slowly, the participants started trickling in. All settled, introductions done, I broke the ice to ease them into the session. “All right, so why do you think we are all here today?” I asked smiling, to get the session rolling. The answers (which have since gone down in my anecdotal history) were perplexing at first and then increasingly amusing. While some said something about “learning about fitness,” some ventured “Corporate fitness (!)”, and some just turned to look at their managers for answers.
Beginning to get a sense of what had (or had not) happened, I asked, “How many of you know the topic of today’s session?” Their exchanged glances, sheepish looks, and whispers were a dead give-away. Many employees knew we were doing ‘something about fitness,’ but what exactly –they were foggy. As it transpired, only the management team overseeing this session knew the answer. It so happened, they had paid greater attention to detail in laying out the tea/coffee and cookie counters than they had to the communication sent out to all their employees. The ‘team’ in charge had decided what the force needs, but evidently, not made an effort to find out from them or inform them in detail about the program that management had chosen to design for them. All checks in place, except the most important ones!
This happened years ago, but it still amuses me. The day was saved by some quick thinking on the feet, extracting participants’ biggest pain points that day, and conducting the workshop addressing them. And no, this was not what had been decided for them that day; their ask was different.
What does this have to do with ‘Wellness as a corporate communication channel’?
I am going to leave you with some questions sieved from my experience above to help you garner your answers.
- What does this tell you about the level and quality of communication within the corporate?
- What does it tell you about the internal culture?
- What does it reveal about leadership behavior and attitude – about how they perceive their task force? And their roles?
- Is decision-making effective as a flippant, unilateral task or should it be an inclusive, evidence-based exercise?
- How ‘engaged’ would employees truly feel? For how long?
- What would be their level of respect and appreciation for such leadership?
- Are such Wellness initiatives an honest and meaningful enterprise or senseless afterthought?
- Is “Wellness” a true priority or lip service?
While you answer these, a reminder:
Given what the pandemic has exposed and how it has potently eroded everyone’s sense of wellbeing, “Wellness” is going to be the most powerful and on-going dialogue for the foreseeable future. It all boils down to a sense of Wellness. This awareness has become center stage.
As a leader, how ready are you to engage in the conversation of choice and convey the right message going forward?
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in