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Corporate America: Relationship Wellness Programs Facilitate Profits and Productivity

What is the impact on the corporate bottom line when employee’s have negative relationships at home and in the workplace. “I-TO-WE” Relationship Coaching presents a compelling case for why corporate America should make employee relationship wellness their business.

Charleston, SC, April 29, 2007 --( Relationship Wellness Programs get right to the bottom line – Happy employees are more efficient, energetic, and focused on the job.

There is an enormous negative impact employee distress -- brought about by marital conflict, separation, and divorce -- has on the long-term health of a company. Making business leaders understand this situation and act on it is imperative. Relationship experts must effectively convince Corporate America to consider the efficacy of marriage education in the workplace as a facilitator of increased employee morale, productivity, and reliability.

Relationship difficulties negatively impact overall worker productivity more frequently than death in the family, serious illness, parenting difficulties, substance abuse, and mood disorders (see the previous article, “Successful Relationships Improve the Bottom Line”). In addition, inefficient and unprofitable work environments result from many factors experienced by employees in failing relationships, including increased absenteeism and presenteeism (being physically present but mentally absent), health problems, and mood disturbances.

According to a recent article, “Presenteeism in the form of distractibility, handling personal affairs during the workday (e.g., phone calls and emails), frequent smoke or bathroom breaks, running personal errands, falling asleep on the job, etc., has a long-term cumulative effect on businesses leading to 50% as many problems for employers (e.g., decreased productivity and profits) as does actual absenteeism. The Harvard Business Review estimates that presenteeism costs American business $150 billion annually in direct and indirect costs” (Dixon).

It is clearly in the best interest of corporations to introduce marriage enrichment courses and relationship success training programs to employees as part of their overall wellness programs, as a supplement to more common types of incentives, such as health club memberships, team-building challenges, company outings, and employee appreciation days. Research indicates that it is worth the time and money to invest in such programs.

Companies typically invest large sums of money in training programs for entry-level employees to ensure they master the skills and techniques needed to be proficient on the job. New employees often spend weeks or even months in a classroom setting, and entire positions are created for the individuals who lead such training programs. However, there are virtually no dollars invested in marriage enrichment programs in corporate America, while the majority of our nation’s adults are struggling with some type of marital dysfunction and taking time off from work to cope with the physical, emotional, and financial ramifications of their crumbling home lives. Employees with high rates of absenteeism and presenteeism are frequently let go, requiring the company to invest new money in training the replacement.

Most CEOs, managers, and training directors fail to recognize the many areas of overlap between relationship skill building and corporate success. Principles of effective communication, conflict resolution skills, techniques for compromise and negotiation, and a team-oriented win-win mentality benefit employees on multiple levels, personally and professionally. Relationship Wellness programs in corporate settings have enormous potential as a preventative, proactive approach to ensuring employee health and corporate success. The results should become evident as rates of absenteeism and presenteeism begin to decline and employers enjoy increased productivity and less frequent turnover, and subsequently less money spent on training programs for incoming employees.

Most relationship difficulties result from emotional wounds or present-day fears. Fears are often pervasive, as they tend to permeate one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors across personal and professional realms. Fears lead to distorted perspectives and unrealistic expectations, and cloud the lens through which people view the world. When people carry their fear into the workplace, the result is usually evident in their interactions with co-workers, dealings with customers, and ability to handle everyday challenges, manage stress, complete projects, and meet deadlines.

Marriage and other intimate relationships provide the greatest opportunity for people to empower themselves to grow beyond their fears. Personal relationships are breeding grounds for fear and self-doubt, but they also provide perfect conditions for self-examination, reflection, and deepened insight. Work-sponsored relationship wellness programs offer employees the opportunity to break through denials, conquer fear and doubt, and enjoy new levels of awareness and personal growth. The benefits of such programs in areas of employee relations, motivation, efficiency, and productivity transcend far beyond the scope of this article and cannot be emphasized strongly enough.

Finally, Relationship Wellness programs deliver an important message about loyalty, a concept that is mostly overlooked. Companies are often faced with increased turnover because workers do not develop a sense of loyalty. Committed and loyal employees come from committed and loyal employers. If companies send a message to their employees that they are more than just a number and they are cared about on a personal level, the result is likely to be a more dedicated and committed employee.

Source: Dixon. “Weighing the Costs of Presenteeism, The Chief Executive,” Workers in Happy Marriages. June, 2005.

Contact Information
"I-TO-WE" Relationship Coaching
Glenn Cohen
Christine Helms, Director of Communications

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