Three ways to create positive changes within your people

Kick-starting a healthier routine is hard. ‘I’ll start my diet on Monday’ is a phrase we’ve all probably said once, twice or a million times. But what happens when you want to change not only your own behaviour, but your entire organisation’s?

Well, the good news is that we humans, however fallible, have a preference for social situations, a need to belong and a desire to seek affiliation with our peers. In other words: We’ll generally happily do it if a bunch of other people do it too.

So, how might we take advantage of this psychological quirk to make healthy habits the social norm at work?

1. Use positive testimonials to set the bar for desirable health behaviours

It only takes a few key influential members of your team to get the ball rolling. Incentivise a core group to make positive changes that if others also adopted, could have a desirable impact on the wider organisation. Maybe ask your team to blog about their experience on a company-wide social channel to get the message out there?

2. Acknowledge the efforts of other good performers

Showcasing that the business is interested in and wants to highlight healthy behaviour can be great incentive for others to follow suit. The classic ‘Hawthorne effect’ suggests that motivation increases when employees are taken notice of. Well, if positive reinforcement is what they need, why not try initiating a monthly wellbeing award that recognises individuals who have demonstrated the desired behaviours?

3. Make wellbeing results public within the organisation

Research suggests that if people know where they rank compared to their work colleagues, they are more likely to change their behaviour rather than if they are given information on how they compare to the average person. So, by making your staff’s goals and their progress known publically in a ‘leader board’ style, you could get some friendly competition going within teams. It’s important to ask your staff’s permission first though.

If you need more help in starting this process, our team of workplace health advisors are more than happy to help.  Get in touch today.


Global CMO Network/Bupa. Health: our business – Studies in behaviour change to improve the health of the world [Online] 2015 [Accessed Sep 2016] Available from:


This information has been reviewed for Bupa by health professionals and to the best of their knowledge is current and based on reputable sources of medical research. It should be used as a guide only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice. Bupa HI Pty Ltd (and its related entities) makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the recommendations or assessments and is not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of or reliance on the information, except that which cannot be excluded by law. We recommend that you consult your doctor or other qualified health professional if you have questions or concerns about your health.

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