Corporate Health Management: Main Organizational Development Axes

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The Main Approaches to Promoting Corporate Health for Managers and Employees

As we have seen in the article "Introduction to Corporate Health Management", globalization, with all its consequences in terms of increased competition and acceleration of change, represents a given data with which we must learn to liveThe point, thus, is to learn how to avoid its negative impact, be it for individuals or for the organization as a whole.

Here are a few recommendations that do seem to bear results in practice. The central axis consists in identifying the manager's reference framework (illustration) at 3 different levels:

  1. At organizational level (what's the use of what I do)
  2. At the level of the workplace (what I do)
  3. At personal level (who I am)

I. ORGANIZATIONAL AXIS

At organizational level, the company may wish to foster as much as possible the integration of all employees, and of managers in particular. This development process would mainly be based on three elements: 

1. A transparent strategy: If we wish for everyone to contribute to corporate strategy, then we should make clear what orientations have been chosen. In other words: strategy is a formidable tool for stimulating employees, yet they need to know how they can contribute to it!

If the company decides to play the game of transparency regarding its strategic orientations, it will be confronted to the question of how much of it the management and staff members will be able to understand and put into application. This is a purely communicational issue. Indeed, if both managers and staff members are being steamied by some emotional preoccupations, the transmission of the strategy will not find any echo.

If, for instance, managers are angry, they will not be receptive to an economic or rational language. All they will know of is their anger and the future of the company might seem of secondary importance to them. The company's decision-makers should thus take the expectations and frustrations of their employees into account when trying to communicate their vision of the company's future. Ideally, the implementation of any strategic action should thus start with a phase of listening to the company's management and staff. Moreover, this ought to be followed by a response from the company's Board, as the vector of the organization's strategy. 

2. The development of a unified organizational culture that matches the organizational culture: any change in the company's structure will also have an impact on its culture. It is this organizational culture that represents the fertile earth which will allow employees to grow professionally. In the course of a restructuring process (business process reengineering, merger, downsizing, etc.), it is thus important to attribute all the ressources necessary to the assimilation of the new culture.

3. A tolerant vigilance: why speak of tolerant vigilance? We should show tolerance, because men, not being machines, will need some time to adjust to the new structure and may commit some mistakes in the meanwhile. We should also show vigilance, because it is important to set some limits to tolerance. It is indeed necessary for them to send the signal that some kind of improvements are taking place. Moreover, any attitude of inertia should be promptly addressed.

II. WORKPLACE MANAGEMENT

Disorganization and the lack of clarity represent significant stress factors to the company. The company should thus determine in the most precise way possible the projects and responsibilities that are attributed to the management.

  • We have seen that quantitative goals of a technical nature are generally set. The difficulties often reside either in the realism of the goal-setting, or in the resources and tools allocated to the managers.
  • In the contrary, qualitative and human-related goals are often forgotten. In such cases, people lack vision as to the role they play within the organization and the latter's impact on their partners.

Finally, note that when a project or a workplace is redesigned, this can set new job requirements in terms of technical and/or behavioral skills. It is then necessary for the management to plan the implementation of an adequate continuous learning program.

III. PERSONAL MANAGEMENT

This is an essential component of corporate health management. It consists in highlighting and strengthening each employee's personal foundations, which are the vector of the person's potential and skills. If these foundations are fragilized, the person will find it hard to express his/her competencies. They indeed provide a support to the person's professional self-fulfillment. Here we may outline a 3-steps development process:

1. A better knowledge of one's strengths and limits: Acquiring a better knowledge of oneself is a never ending learning process. In professional life, this issue may however be addressed at three levels: 

a) The person's professional potential and skills:

  1. A physical potential: physical resistance to travels,  look, presentation...
  2. A technical potential i.e. the knowledge that has been accumulated over the years
  3. A personal or behavioral potential which includes the person's communication and management skills, capacity for teamwork, etc.

b) The person's affective and relational dimension: here we deal with the "heart mind", as opposed to pure rationality

c) The person's rooting: i.e. the person's identity and values

Only by regularly expressing these three dimensions in their professional lives will managers and staff members alike be able to achieve professional fulfillment and develop their well-being.

2. A redesign of one's work-life balance: it is up to every person to find their own work-life balance, as it is a purely individual matter. This balance consists in the unique combination of 3 elements: 

  1. Professional life
  2. Private life
  3. Social life

3. A clarification of what the notion of "professional success" actually means: It is important for each employee to distance themselves from the ideal representation of professional success that is promoted within their organizational and/or private environment. They need to find their own professional orientation on the basis of the knowledge of themselves, their interests and their desires.

The notion of professional success thus mainly refers to a personal perception; the criteria by which professional successs is assessed indeed vary from one person to the other. Moreover, they evolve during one's lifetime. Finally, professional success should incorporate the notions of well-being and health, so that we may, one day, enjoy our retirement!

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