… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

No smoking allowed

As of January 1st, the company went to a smoke free campus. To be honest, I was expecting more blow back on the decision than I ended up hearing. The company offered smoking cessation programs as well as discounts on medical insurance as incentives so maybe that helped. But to be honest, I would be surprised if that many people actually changed their behavior. Mostly because I see people sitting in their cars now on their breaks.

Thankfully, no one expects HR to be the enforcers of this policy, because I really don’t want to deal with that. I know that the best of intentions, as well as an attempt to curtail skyrocketing health care costs, are the root of wellness programs and initiatives. Quitting smoking, losing weight, living healthier, etc. are all great things to strive for. Does that mean I think they are effective? Will corporate policies and money off your medical premiums necessarily lead to change? Short answer: No. Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. At least not by themselves.

Lasting behavior change requires more than any company can provide and more than it should anyway. Wellness programs can be nice because they provide useful information but does anyone think that smoking isn’t bad for you anymore? That you shouldn’t exercise and watch your health? Frankly, I think there are better ways to spend the money that fund Wellness programs (like an on site nurse practitioner) and I’m certainly not the first HR blogger to say that (*cough* Laurie *cough*).

In the end, I think we need to trust people to manage their own health and well-being instead of being paternalistic. That way I will no longer need to let associates know that no, they can’t walk 50 feet to the company next door and smoke over there. Sigh.

4 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Zach Wentz, MBA, SPHR :

    I’ve been through this…..twice. My favorite is when they come in during open enrollment reeking of cigarette smoke and then request the non-smoker discount on medical insurance. LOL!

    Thankfully, you don’t have to play enforcer. Here in AZ, we have a new law circa 2008 where you are required to be 20 ft. from the entrance to a workplace to smoke. I can’t tell you how many calls I would get to go tell people to move 5 ft. over. Thankfully, I had the restraint not to harm anyone.

  • 2 HR Minion :

    Zach – You should be applauded for your restraint! Maybe you could have put up a sign that said” You must be this far away to smoke”. 😉

  • 3 Zach Wentz, MBA, SPHR :

    Not a bad idea. I thought having the 100 lb. stone cigarette butt cans moved to the proper distance would help, but alas, you can only lead a horse to water.

  • 4 HR Minion :

    Zach – I’ve seen people not use those things even when they were right by the door. People are lazy. 🙂