With so many companies offering some kind of programs to help employees address and resolve their work/life balance, why do so few employees choose to participate?
“Fifty percent of companies have some kind of [program], but only 12 percent of those employees are taking advantage [of them],” said Laura Putnam, chief executive officer and founder of Motion Infusion, a well-being training and consulting firm in San Francisco. “It comes down to the manager; there’s evidence to suggest that the manager is the ‘missing link.’ ”
Motion Infusion and South Kingstown’s Pro-Change Behavior Systems Inc., which develops behavior change programs, are collaborating for the first time to “find a real solution for a real problem” – that of managerial engagement, said Putnam. By joining forces, the two companies have collaborated to offer – in beta form – Motion Infusion’s ‘Manager on the Move” workshop and Pro-Change Behavior System’s “Manager on the Move” assessment. This assessment, said Sara Johnson, co-president and chief executive officer of Pro-Change Behavior Systems, and Putnam, is an evaluative tool that they believe is the first of its kind in the nation. This joint initiative is designed to engage managers better in their own well-being and to encourage them to model well-being, communicate its importance and create systems that support well-being, said Putnam, who wrote “Workplace Wellness That Works” (published by Wiley in 2015). The pair anticipate going live with the workshops and assessments during the first quarter of 2017.
Putnam’s commitment “to implementing best practices in learning and organizational development and her unparalleled ability to engage audiences” drove Pro-Change Behavior Systems to collaborate with Motion Infusion, said Johnson. “We share her passion for improving managers’ capacity to enhance the well-being of themselves, their teams and their organizations because managers account for as much as 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement.”
In conjunction with other wellness measurement scales, the “Manager on the Move” assessment evaluates whether managers help or hinder their employees’ efforts to improve their well-being. Are they “multipliers,” who lead by example and communicate the importance of well-being and create a supportive infrastructure? Or, are they “gatekeepers,” who don’t talk the talk, don’t walk the walk and neither create new wellness opportunities nor encourage employees to access existing initiatives?
The beta form of the online assessment has approximately 100 items, and requires an average of 17 minutes to complete, said Johnson. The assessment will be offered before a workshop and again three to six months later, to evaluate the workshop’s impact. Ideally, the assessment will also capture data from employees who work for participating managers.
As of press time, no business entities or companies in Rhode Island or Massachusetts have enrolled in the workshops or the assessment. Although Motion Infusion and Pro-Change Behavior Systems are targeting geographic areas outside of southeastern New England, area businesses entities and state and local governments are eligible to participate in the beta testing process. During beta testing, they are offering clients a rate that is discounted from the normal prices, which vary depending on a number of factors.