What Type of Workforce Are You Looking to Attract?

The hiring process can be tricky. And many managers live in fear of "buyer's remorse."

It is not uncommon to end the interview process for an open position with dozens of qualified candidates, each one with the prerequisite education and experience for the job. So how does a manager differentiate between all these seemingly ready and able individuals? What are some intangibles to keep in mind before pulling the trigger and making the hire?

A Culture of Health: Who Will Lead?

In a 2014 Free Enterprise (published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) article, the editorial staff highlights the importance of incentivizing wellness programs, but goes on to add that "mixed messages can also have an impact. For example, a company can spend a lot of time talking about healthy behavior, but the effect will be blunted if leadership shows no interest in the initiatives or if vending machines are still full of junk food." As someone who designs and oversees employee wellness programs for a living, I believe this statement makes an excellent point. And please do not think of leadership at a company as only The Boss. Your CEO, general manager, or founding partner can be a fitness enthusiast who hardly ever misses the noon yoga class, but if no one in middle management is buying in, it still won't make much of a difference, if any. Imagine one's direct supervisor in a typical office setting, slouching over his desk (where he has been seated for hours), confidently winking and gesturing with glazed donut in hand while boasting, "Yeah, The Boss is a big fitness nut but don't worry: Everybody knows you can't make people workout."

True. You cannot make people exercise on the job, or otherwise participate in workplace wellness programs. But you can use positive peer pressure to create a healthier (and more productive) office culture by getting all the right people in place. 

The Chicken or the Egg?

If you are one of the chief decision makers at your company, and you care about creating a culture of health, please consider adding the following questions to your job-interview template going forward:

  • How valuable is creating a healthy workplace culture to you and what would you be willing to do personally to make this happen?
  • If given the opportunity to participate in exercise and/or other wellness programs onsite, would you be interested? Why or why not?
  • What does it mean to you to be a leader in a culture of health?

Changing the perception of doing things like taking an exercise class at work takes time. And it is not a matter of either getting your current workforce to buy in or bringing in people who value such programs, but both. And although it takes time, it can become socially desirable to participate in exercise and other wellness programs. Have you visited a college campus lately and checked out the student activity center? Most everybody works out. It's just what you do. Why can't this mindset continue on into the adult, working world?

Think of how many people over the decades have taken up golf, simply because that is just what one does within their workplace culture. Now, imagine if instead of carting after a little ball with a stick for four hours (not that there's anything wrong with that), and ending the day feeling frustrated, as hilariously depicted in this current BMW add, one instead felt compelled to do something that left him or her feeling relaxed and reinvigorated. What if one felt peer pressured into doing something that controls weight gain, blood pressure, and reduces one's risk for chronic disease? (Not that one couldn't skip the golf cart and save the beers until after the round and also receive some health benefit, but you get my point.)

Let's start a revolution, people. Let's hire to motivate as we try to motivate the workforce we already have.