The Road to Wellness Begins on the Weekend

Excerpt from our latest NSFW Column:

We know the reasons they (corporate wellness programs)  fall short: rewards lead to temporary gains; people don’t have the time or incentive; and poor program design fails to get at foundational behaviors. The cool apps and trackers soon lose their novelty and appeal, and in the “can’t blame them” category, some chuck rather than be hounded by their numbers all day long. In light of all this, I have a modest suggestion:  Companies would be wise to get out of the wellness business during business hours and move the focus to the weekend, a time when they have the least control, but wellness programs may actually do the most good.

Click here for more.

corporate wellness

Shades of Grey: the Problem with White Papers

How do you define a white paper


More than two-thirds of all marketers—71% (Content Marketing Institute) —use white papers as a part of their toolkit. But how do you define a white paper? What exactly is it? 

Ask three people and you’re likely to get five different responses. This is because there is no such thing as a definitive white paper. The definition varies from industry to industry, even company to company; it can be just about any length, take a variety of forms, and cover a range of topics. 

That said, most of us know one when we see it: a 4-12 page pdf (sometimes shorter, sometimes longer) that you can access once you prove that you are not a robot. It will say “white paper” on the cover page and advance a business case or proposition with recourse to visuals illustrating salient data points and trends. Beyond this, white papers can – and do – vary widely.

The term “white paper” was coined by the British to describe a type of official government report. Today, they have become popular marketing tools for companies to advance a specific position or solution to a problem. The goal is to inform and persuade as they lead readers toward an inexorable conclusion…and a complementary set of practical recommendations.

While  there is no such thing as the definitive white paper, there are general principles that we can apply based on what works and what doesn’t in making them maximally effective.  See the White Paper on White Papers for more. 

NSFW: Dealing with the Fake News Freak-Out


(Excerpted from NSFW, Charles Epstein’s monthly humor column in Workspan) 

“Nobody knows anything,” said William Goldman, writer of a handful of the most memorable films ever made. The quote has become almost biblical in its concise authority. Now, more than 30 years since its writing, the number of people not knowing anything has increased exponentially. Opinions are paraded as facts, anything inconvenient is labeled as fake and an armchair army of like-minded people are backing you.

What happens when this starts seeping into everyday life and your elderly parent shrieks “fake news” when you gently try persuading him to use his walker? Or your toddler blurts “fake news” when you try making a fact-based case for eating the steamed broccoli? All of which brings us to HR.

You’re responsible for communicating with your workforce regularly. For years you’ve sent emails and newsletters on all the standard topics, all of which were met with the usual degrees of what we’ll politely describe as casual interest. But that’s about to change.

“Fake news!” thunders Richard Wald, responding to a critical performance review.

Click here for the full column.