Saturday, July 25, 2009

Uneaten Donuts: Influencing Culture Change

I was recently struck by Jan Aylsworth's blog post on the Organizational Psychology ( She said this social science can be used to "Try – notice I said 'try' to implement culture change." Culture is not an easy thing to influence; even the science of O.P. doesn't have it the bag.

After being hammered with yearly double-digit health insurance premium hikes, the agency I work for has been trying to increase the health of our employees for years now. We've put into place a wellness committee, Stategic Plan initiatives, walking challenge, health articles, healthy cooking classes, subsidized gym memberships, Weight Watchers at Work. Have these efforts been successful? Definitive ROI would come from claims data, but since these efforts are longterm, we don't expect to see an impact on claims and premiums for several years.
While we wait, my next indicator of culture change is behavior. See exhibit A: the photo of uneaten donuts. At my office we love to eat! But recently, some kind soul brought donuts on a Tuesday morning and at noon on Wednesday, I snapped this photo of these poor dejected uneaten pastries. No one wanted to waste calories or points. Culture change? I hope so.
More about our wellness efforts in future posts.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Hi, Krista:

Thanks for mentioning my Examiner column. I would be interested in hearing what happens with your culture change initiatives, including whether the donuts ever got eaten.

Jan Aylsworth