Nurse Retention: Improve Employee Health and Productivity

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 21st, 2015

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERACompanies are instituting various health programs aimed at enhancing the quality of life and productivity of their employees, and reducing costs. Such programs are also tied to increased nurse retention and nurse recruitment.

Although these kinds of programs encourage employee fitness and health, Cornell University marketing professor Brian Wansink says that too often “wellness programs are like New Year’s resolutions: They’re enthusiastic and bold, but they never seem to deliver.” Wansink’s solution is to make healthy choices the default choices for employees.

He prefers commonsense and easily implementable ideas such as putting free fruit in break rooms instead of donuts; signs that give the number of calories on vending machine choices and loading the least-healthy options in the lowest slots of the machines; and making salad the standard side dish and offering half-size dessert portions in cafeterias.

Wansink has conducted research over the past quarter-century, most recently at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, where he serves as director.

In one study, Wansink discovered that moviegoers not only ate less when snacks were packaged in smaller bags, but that more than half of the subjects said they would willingly pay 20% more for the smaller packages!One idea in his book Slim by Design is to improve the health of employees by making 10% percent of manager’s pay contingent on improving the health of the employees he or she supervises. He reminds us that healthy employees are good for business. “Fewer sick days, fewer medications, and fewer heart attacks,” says Wansink.

What can you do to improve the health of your employees and retain your nurses? To learn the best strategy to increase nurse engagement, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss this plan with minimal implementation for nurse leadership.

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