Employees Love to be Loved

We all know that a big red heart is the symbol of Valentine’s Day, and for this reason February is also American Heart Month.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men AND women, and ultimately, your employees.  Do you care about your employees? Yes, you do.  That’s why February is a great time to show your concern for your employees’ health by generating awareness about the risk of heart disease and also by helping your staff do a “little something about it.” But, why make the effort?

Numerous studies conclude that there is a significant relationship between Organizational Commitment to Employees (OCE) and company performance (eg. Muse, Rutherford, Oswald, and Raymond; Small Business Economics, Vol. 24, No. 2, Mar. 2005).  OCE is defined by an organization’s actions toward and treatment of its employees including caring for their well-being.  Not to get too technical, but briefly there is a positive correlation between return on assets, return on sales, and return on cashflow and OCE.

I recently had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Dr. Martha Grogan of the Mayo Clinic which recently published Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart for Life!.  This book promotes an innovative yet very simple plan that could help your employees understand where to focus and how to make it easy for them to succeed in reducing their risk of heart disease by well over 50%.

First a couple of questions (answers below):

  1. Which increases a person’s risk of heart disease more?

a) smoking a pack of cigarettes a day          b) sitting around all day, every day

2. How many hours per week does one need to walk briskly to reduce the risk of heart disease by at least 50%?

a) 1 hour/week          b) 3 hours/week          c) 5 hours/week

Here’s the “little something about it” part.  The Mayo Clinic proposes this simple regimen: “Eat 5, Move 10, Sleep 8″.  Per day, that’s: eat 5 fruits/vegetables, move for 10 minutes, and sleep 8 hours.  Pretty easy, right.  How can employers reinforce this program?

  1. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit and vegetables near the coffee or common area.
  2. Allow employees an extra 10-minute “walking” break.
  3. Schedule “walk-and-talk” meetings.
  4. Limit in-office e-mail; promote face-to-face discussions.
  5. Obtain a company discount at a local fitness center and/or provide partial membership reimbursement for club fees based on real-time usage.

What makes Mayo Clinic’s program more acceptable is that it doesn’t tell people what NOT to do such as the obvious (no smoking, maintain a healthy weight).  Rather, this program highlights easy steps to better health that even the most sedentary of us can manage.

We at HRInsights strongly believe that employers have a wonderful opportunity to better motivate productivity and loyalty of workers by providing assistance and support for their PHYSICAL as well as FINANCIAL well-being.


1. a & b equally increase the risk of heart disease. 2. a, only 1 hour/week!

Note: 2 hours of active movement per week can reduce the risk by over 75%!


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