A national news report did a segment on businesses dealing with employees over health care issues such as smoking, diet and blood pressure. Some employers chose to insist that their employees actively change their life styles or fear punishment while others took the route of rewarding those who did the changing on their own and in their own time. Some companies are charging employees who smoke $ 40.00 a month more on their medical premiums while other companies are giving monetary rewards to those who lose a few pounds. How do you measure success?
Back in the 70, there was an annual Christmas dinner where Mr Simplot would come out and help serve all the employees and offer $200 to any one who would commit to stop smoking. It was a big thing with him and back then, $200 bucks was a lot of dough. It was a year long commitment with paperwork to be submitted to document a true change of heart. I remember seeing cigarette packages on tables of those brave enough to take on Mr S's challenge when they originally just came in for a turkey dinner. Food wasn't that big of a deal back then or maybe since he was one of the largest distributors of french fries in the world, it would have been a mute point.
Reward or punishment, which one do we respond to the most? It is an age old question in religious circles too. Do we find God more credible because of the threat of hell or because of the hope of heaven? Do we love Him because He loves us or do we love Him out of fear. I became a believer because someone promised me I would never have to see someone in heaven who had made my earthly life a living hell. I no longer believe that to be true, wish I did, and choose to believe anyway. Whatever I need to be in that situation Someday will be provided when I need it - my only responsibility now, is to trust.
If either of these worked well, it would be very obvious. I see no clear winner walking around own us. I think they are both short-term motivators with no real staying power. We do what works for us, regardless of what we say. If we see value, we will make a change and not until. Not long lasting change, the kind that we need to sustain us in this crazy world. Real change comes from deep down. It takes work and commitment - not swayed by what is going on around us. Corporate America, you've got your work cut out for you, best of luck...