It’s called comfort food for a reason. As humans we tend to gravitate toward foods that make us feel a certain way. If we ate these foods infrequently, on holidays and birthdays, it would not be a big deal. But in our modern world where comfort food is on every corner and in every store your employees are indulging in it daily.
While working on the national resiliency and wellness project I have been doing a lot of research into the nutritional based deficiencies contributing to poor employee wellness, resiliency and injury. Let me tell you that there are a lot of food based and inactivity based illnesses that have foundations in our diets and lifestyles.
Yet each year EMS week rolls around and to ‘thank our employees’ for their long hours and service we offer them table fulls of the exact thing that is killing them. Why…because it’s what they like and that’s our fault for not teaching them better.
Hydration: dehydration and over reliance on caffeine and sugary drinks is causing their obesity and injuries. Give them a big water bottle and filtered water to drink.
Healing foods: give them access to foods high in the trace minerals that are causing their wellness problems. Roasted nuts, green leafy vegetables etc.
Teach them strategic snacking: Your employees must learn how to eat strategically and on a schedule. It’s the only way to stop them from running for the comfort foods when their ‘hangry’. Hummus and veggies, protein bars, healthy wraps etc.
Give them the gift of fitness: Test them annually on job specific physical abilities (validated test). They will complain but it will literally save their life and your budget.
By repeating history every year all you are doing is reinforcing their bad behaviors. At one department I was at this year the ‘thank you food’ was so bad I ate a meal replacement bar and some trail mix…I would not feed that stuff to my dog let alone my employee.
Failing to train is training to fail
As a leader it’s time to engage and correct the problem.