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Wellness vs. Training

Wellness vs. Training

Used with permission of the author
Author: Paula Barnard

Rival Wellness www.rival.co.za
30 March 2007

Back to ... Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 6, 2007

Many companies and HR departments battle to distinguish between Wellness and Training when considering budgets. Ultimately this is because Wellness requires a certain level of hands on “Training” or Education for staff but “Training” itself doesn’t necessarily contribute to Wellness.

In this article Rival Industrial’s Wellness division takes a look at how to balance your Wellness and Training requirements.

Areas of overlap

Both Wellness and Training require:


  • Skilled staff able to assist, develop and educate other members of staff.

  • Depending on the nature and size of your organisation you will may require certain investments in technology to communicate effective Training and Wellness policies e.g. Intranets, Education material, software etc.

  • Follow-up education programmes to promote Social and Professional Staff Development.



Let's consider for a moment the impact of a Financial Wellness program within a fictional organisation:

  • You currently employ 50 staff in a Manufacturing environment.

  • 70% of your workforce are on entry level wages working in your factory.

  • Your business is battling to meet legislation around Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) supplier requirements.

  • Failing to meet the BEE requirements is capping your Business to Business opportunities within your sector.

  • If you had your choice you would wish to promote from within to develop a BBBEE component rather than bring in outside parties you don’t know.

  • Poor Money Management does plague your staff and they are often finding themselves in trouble for poor credit repayments, meeting medical expenses or saving anything that down the line could be used to develop themselves with additional training.

  • Ultimately as an employer you would like to begin an education program for these staff to warn them of the dangers of Credit Cards, Debt, no savings for a “rainy day” or no retirement planning.

  • You the employer cannot justify investment in these staff to attend SAQA / NQF rated Financial courses where the staff are very likely to be out of their depth. *

Your needs

In this scenario you as the employer probably have a couple of goals:

  • Social Responsibility – you want to find a way to encourage your staff to understand some fundamentals of money management with the end goal that you would like to reduce employees approaching management for loans, school fees for children, funds for training and the emotional stress of debt.

  • You would like to establish a “baseline” from which you can assess general employee Financial understanding and eventually establish which of your staff would benefit from development of managerial / financial development.

  • Succession planning like this can lead to a smooth introduction of a BBBEE element within your organisation.

  • You cannot afford to have large chunks of your workforce involved in training exercises simultaneously as this would lead to a loss of productivity.


Training is easy – if you want somebody to reach a certain skills level you identify the person, select the course, write the cheque and send them on their way to the training institution.

Wellness strategies require a bit more planning to get the maximum value out of them.

Firstly, it’s essential to market the idea to your staff. This immediately will show your staff you have their interests at heart and when they understand the benefits of attending and getting involved they will be a motivated delegate. A motivated delegate takes in more and contributes more.

Secondly, you will need to break up staff into manageable groups to ensure no reduction in productivity. It is also a good idea to look at dividing staff up into comparable income brackets as they are more likely to speak freely and openly about their challenges if they believe others in the room will be in the same boat.

Depending on the size of your organisation you may decide to invest in a Financial Wellness week where staff are split into groups for various 1 hour workshops culminating with a feedback session on the Friday.

Staff work through the Wellness week and they are provided with a platform from which to ask questions and in this instance a general improvement in overall Financial Wellness.

Management is able to build some employee loyalty as they demonstrate a willingness to retain and look after their staff. They are also presented with an opportunity to assess a broad staff component and identify / earmark staff demonstrating potential for additional training. Hopefully you will also have taken the first steps to better educated employees around financial matters.

South Africa undeniably suffers from horrendous skills shortages in most sectors. These problems can only be addressed by accredited training courses. However a Wellness program offering staff education on issues such as Financial Wellness, Addiction, Nutrition etc. can be a fantastic way to develop a workforce from within.

It can also be hugely rewarding for management to see their investments in staff paying off.

An HR manager that can strategically balance the Training and Wellness requirements of the business may find they reap dividends of a happy, well trained workforce.

* This comment definitely does not deride from the quality of SAQA / NQF rated courses. This comment simply means that you feel your business may not feel it will see a return sending your employees on a course when they do not have a certain base-line qualification.

Paula Barnard, Occupational Therapist, heads RemSpecEDand the Wellness Division of Rival Industrial (www.rival.co.za), a Gauteng based Wellness company. Rival supplies Wellness Solutions over a broad spectrum including Financial Wellness, Nutrition, Addiction, Sensory Wellness, Flu Management etc. She also lectures for a number of postgraduate programmes and has been instrumental in co-ordinating the MSc coursework in paediatric perception treatment at the University of the Witwatersrand . She has been published in the South African Journal of Occupational Therapy and in numerous local commercial magazines and newspapers including The Sunday Times (http://www.suntimes.co.za/2004/05/09/news/news20.asp). For further information, please contact Paula on 011 673-4421 or e-mailpaula@rival.co.za

Short description
Many companies and HR departments battle to distinguish between Wellness and Training when considering budgets. Ultimately this is because Wellness requires a certain level of hands on “Training” or Education for staff but “Training” itself doesn’t necessarily contribute to Wellness.

Keywords and relevant phrases
Communication, productivity, retention, skills shortage, training, wellness.

Back to ... Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 6, 2007

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

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