About Cris

Have you heard about those guest speakers and facilitators who go on and on about how wonderful they are? And then tell you how they ‘discovered’ the answer and now you can have it too (at a huge cost)?

Well, that’s not Cris. He believes that kind of talk disempowers people. And we’re here to excite and incentivise your people. He also has a healthy respect that everyone’s path is unique. As such, you should “walk your own walk”.

What does Cris mean by this? He’s had struggles (and still does). And he’s made a few mistakes. In fact, he believes in making mistakes every day, to learn and grow. But Cris also believes in learning from others. His journey has taught him some valuable shortcuts. Shortcuts that can help you (and others) avoid some of the pitfalls he’s experienced.

Cris has shared a stage with the likes of the Dalai Lama, Brené Brown and others. Their inspiration shaped the successful wellbeing practises that Cris now brings to workplaces.

Want to stop staff burnout in its tracks?

Find out what one organisation did to relight their fire in three short months.

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    There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.


    6 Essential Questions To Ask Your Wellbeing Provider

    Not necessarily in any order, but these are the big questions you’ve got to be asking your Workplace Wellbeing provider.

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    How Do I Get My Program Funded?

    One of the big problems that people have with the workplace wellbeing programs is “How do we get it funded?” 

    In order to get it funded, you need to convince your organisation of the benefit of having such a program and there are four (4) big benefits of having such a program.

    1. It is easier to attract staff. We know now that employers of choice have a really good programs for their staff.  One of the programs they often have is around a Wellbeing program.  So attraction improves.
    2. Once you have got your staff, the question becomes “How do you keep them?”, ie: retention. We also know that wellbeing programs help with retention and that organisations with a wellbeing program have better retention. 
    3. Once you’ve attracted the staff and are keeping them there, the next thing is getting them to turn up to work, ie: reduce absenteeism. Again we know that staff that are in wellbeing programs that feel well, are healthy and have less sick days are also more motivated to turn up at work. 
    4. Once you’ve attracted them, kept them, have got them turning up the last question is “how do you get them doing great work when they are turn up?” There is a term called presenteism (a HR management term).  This is where your staff turn up to work but they are not actually delivering, not engaging the work.  Again, we know that wellbeing programs are a way of encouraging engagement and motivation in the work place and people who do have good presenteism actually do good work when they turn up.
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    The four (4) key messages you need to get across to get the funding from your CEO is that a wellbeing program will increase attraction, increase retention, reduce absenteeism and increase presenteeism

    You will find it easier to attract staff, keep them and get them turning up (especially in this post-pandemic era) and doing good work when they do turn up.  What you should look as an overall benefit is that for every $1.00 that is spent on the wellbeing program there should be a $4.00 return (4:1 return).

    If you would like any help to make the case to your executive, let us know, we have some templates that you can use to help win them over. 

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    How To Convince Your CEO Or Board To Support A Wellbeing Program

    One of the major issues that people have once they decide to have a wellbeing program in the organisation is to upsell and get it approved either by the CEO, the board or the executive team.

    “Cris you’ve had some experience at this, can you give us some examples of issues about people creating a business case to sell to these people?”

    The big thing here is to not make the case generic, that is make your business case specific to your organisation. 

    What are the issues that are going on in your organisation that a Wellbeing program will resolve?

    One organisation that I have worked with had a very high standard of quality, they were making health care products.  The issue that their wellbeing program helped resolve was better quality work. 

    In another organisation it was sick days.  People were taking a lot of sick days.  The issue we were solving there was around less sick days. 

    At yet another there were a lot of complaints about the culture of the place.  That wellbeing program was aimed at creating a positive workplace – that was how they made their business case. 

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    The four (4) generic elements of your business case as we have said elsewhere are: traction, retention, low absenteeism and people being more present and doing the work.  These are the big ones. 

    In your organisation, make it specific, show what it will return your organisation and remember you should be getting about 4:1 return for your company. 

    Whatever the generic reasons for introducing a wellbeing program – make sure you find specific examples of your workplace.  And in the end, it has got to be about performance and about productivity.   Get in touch if you need a hand.

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    Mental Health Week

    The second week of October is Mental Health Week. Mental health is defined in many ways, and mental illnesses are on the increase in our modern society. Scientists are continually looking for cures. But the time, money, and effort spent proportionally on prevention is miniscule in comparison.

    Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious illness. It is one of the most common of all mental health problems; and one in five people experience depression at some stage of their lives.

    While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time, and often without reason. People with depression find it hard to function every day and may be reluctant to participate in activities they once enjoyed.

    Here are 5 tips to help you improve your Mental Health:

    1.  Exercise physically regularly. Ensure that your heart rate works at 70 to 80%, for thirty minutes, at least three times a week. You can buy a heart rate monitor for less than $100

    2.  Play mind games that give your brain mental challenges such as Scrabble, Sudoku, and crosswords. Quizzes are also good.

    3.  Keep your blood pressure levels in check. Ensure most importantly that they don’t go too high for too long. A blood pressure monitor is reasonably priced and available.

    4.  Take regular breaks. Stop working your mind too hard for too long. It enjoys a rest. This can come in the way of meditation sessions, brisk walks, and of course a good night’s sleep.

    5.  Develop social relationships. Believe it or not this is one of the things recommended to prevent dementia. For more information on this, read the book Maintain Your Brain.

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    6 Best Practices to Launch (or Re-launch) Your Workplace Wellbeing Program

    You’ve put a lot of hard work into planning your wellbeing program – now it’s time to implement. Make the most of it by holding a launch – these can be annual. It’s a good excuse to bring everyone together, you’ll have the attention of senior management team and it’s one additional opportunity to reinforce your wellbeing message.

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    Why You Should Charge for Wellbeing Activities

    Controversial – I know.

    When I was young, I was given a life insurance policy by my father. He was a migrant to Australia and worked hard to put aside some money each month to pay for it. When I turned 18, he pulled me aside one day and handed it over to me – including the responsibility for maintaining it. I cashed it in of course – I have no recollection of what I spent the money on but it’s all gone. I don’t regret that as much as the fact I never thanked him for his efforts.

    It’s a sad but true axiom: people don’t value what they get too easily. Or to put it another way – the more people invest in something – the more highly they regard it. (see Cialdini’s “The Psychology of Influence and Persuasion”). We’ve noticed that ourselves when we’ve been approached to run events for charities for free. We’re happy to do it but we often find our service is relegated to the back of the queue and ‘paid’ services are prioritised. So we now ask for a small fee – even a donation to a good cause just to ensure that our service is scheduled and actually runs.

    In your workplace program, you might have noticed that when you book, for example, a masseur, yoga practitioner, or exercise class that initial interest is high but on the day many people drop out.  They know that if they came they would get a lot out of it but other more pressing issues take precedence.  In some cases, it’s fair enough – but it can result in empty slots, wasted money, and a devaluing of your wellbeing program.

    One solution is to charge for the session.  Charging forces people to commit and raise the importance (and value)  of your event in the minds of participants.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of money – a co-payment as small as $5 will do.  If there’s a philosophical objection to charging you can always donate the funds to a good cause or re-invest it in your organisation’s social club or wellbeing program.  Another way to increase attendance is to ensure that everyone signs onto an attendance schedule that is posted in a public place.  Both of these will help.

    Co-payments also send an unconscious message to your staff – looking after your wellbeing does have a cost associated with it – be it money or time or effort.  You might try to minimise it but like all good things – you get out of it what you put into it.  Your wellbeing is important enough to put effort into.  Just keep the co-payments small enough not to exclude anyone.   

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    What Should Be Included In A Wellbeing Program?

    If you are asking yourself this question you may have been approaching this program the hard way.

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    How to Start Creating a Wellbeing Program

    So you’ve just been appointed to develop or re-develop your organisation’s wellbeing program.  Congratulations.  Everyone likes wellbeing programs – they’re all about health and wellness –  it should be a breeze right? 

    You’ll create this program easily to the accolades of your boss and peers.  Right?  Or are you thinking – where do I start? What goes into it?  Where can I find the time among all the other tasks I have?

    We meet many, many staff who, while with good intentions, have never been given the tools or support. This is what this series is about – helping you create a great wellbeing program that will reflect well on you, improve the health of your colleagues and increase the productivity of your organisation. 

    Today we’ll tackle “Where do I start?”

    The first question is…

    Why does your organisation want to create or refresh its wellbeing program?

    The answer to this will shape the program.  For instance if the reason is that there’s a problem with bullying then a wellbeing program will only help if you tackle the bullies and teach your staff assertive communication. If it’s stress then teach the staff resilience and tackle the stressors.  What you don’t want to do is be in a position where you are being judged on issues you have no control over.

    Answering this question will also help you determine what sort of resources you can expect.  Will the program be home-grown or do you need external providers?

    Who Will Support You?

    Where did the idea come from?  Do you have top management support or will you have to get that.  Grab a pen, single sheet of paper and go down to the coffee shop.  Do a stakeholder matrix (15 minutes) then go through and identify all the blockers and drivers including the reasons people WON’T tell you about.  This is your strategic research.

    Create a Coalition

    Now go out and talk to the people you will need support from.  They don’t always need to be higher up the chain – you’ll also want the support of your end-users – the staff!  Get your supporters on board and  find out what you need to do to win over the others.  Then do it.

    Timeline and Goals

    Yep – wont’ take long. Spend 30 minutes setting some goals and a target date for launch/refresh.  You can change them later –the important thing is to have some milestones.

    Five Things NOT to do

    1. Start without knowing where you’re going. 
    2. Look for providers to “see what’s out there” before you have a plan – it’s time-consuming and confusing.
    3. Proceed without knowing the organisational drivers – this will tell you what support and resources you can expect.
    4. Do it on your own – include others.
    5. A “big-bang” plan – test your ideas early and often.

    In the next issue we’ll discuss how to decide what should go into the program – and how to get it the staff’s own.

    At Workplace Wellbeing we specialise in helping you create and implement effective wellbeing programs – programs that are engaging, cost-effective and successful.

    We have a range of templates and advice we can give you – and an initial consultation is free.  Give us a call or email today.