Movement is Life

Help staff be happier and healthier in 2014.

February 4, 2014

January brings with it a plethora of resolutions. Many of us decide after a holiday season of binging to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

Movement is Life,” according to an article in To Your Health. “Without movement, there truly is no life, and it’s understandable on a purely biological level,” notes the author. “The inherent connection between movement and life is also understandable if you reflect for a moment on what happens when you engage in healthy behaviors.”

This article focuses on the importance of exercise and nutrition for good health. But other aspects of our existence also contribute to good health: stress management, social interactions, and financial well-being.

Employment is a critical component to good financial health for most. Job issues connect to other aspects of a healthy lifestyle: work-life balance, career advancement, and employment opportunities.

On-the-job considerations, too, are important for employers who aspire to maintain healthy companies and a contented workforce.

As you explore these research findings on employment trends and issues, consider that physical movement is only one part of the “movement is life” mantra.

What moves your members? How might you, as an employer, keep things moving in the right direction for a healthy credit union and happy staff?

‘If life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving.’—Jerry Seinfeld

Evidently, many workers concur with Mr. Seinfeld as “One in Five Workers Plan to Change Jobs in 2014,” says Chief Learning Officer. Survey findings show several factors create a desire to move on:

  • 39% are unhappy with work-life balance;
  • 39% feel underemployed;
  • 45% are unhappy with advancement opportunities; and
  • 39% are highly stressed.

Further, 59% of workers are satisfied with their jobs, down from 66% in 2013, Chief Learning Officer reports. “Those who are dissatisfied cite concerns over salary (66%) and not feeling valued (65%).”

Job changers are not the only job seekers in 2014. “Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?” asks the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This in-depth issue brief looks at the quantity and quality of jobs found by recent grads.

The determination is that “unemployment rates for recent college graduates have indeed been quite high since the onset of the Great Recession. Moreover, underemployment… is also on the rise… We find that recent graduates are increasingly working in low-wage jobs or working part-time.”

Students choosing a major in a technical field or those directed “toward growing parts of the economy, such as education and health, have tended to do relatively well.” The brief suggests that partnerships between schools and businesses could link curriculum and employer needs, resulting in better employment outcomes.

Here’s a frightening statistic: One-third of job seekers failed to land an interview in 2013, according to a survey from BenefitsPro. “Although almost 80% of respondents had applied to jobs multiple times a week in 2013, fewer than 15% of them were able to secure more than five interviews for the year and a ‘shocking’ amount of respondents (33%) said they had none at all.”

Still, 89% of job seekers “are confident they will find a job in 2014 and 36% are confident they will find the right job.”

‘All change is not growth, and all movement is not forward.’—Ellen Glasgow, American novelist

Those who do find jobs, as well as those who are hiring, should take note of America’s workplace trends.

Among the more worrisome: “The proportion of full-time jobs to overall jobs has fallen off the deck,” according to Business Insider.

“While we are just 1.3 million payrolls below pre-recession levels, we remain five million full-time jobs below the pre-recession peak. Through the first 11 months of 2013, full-time monthly job growth has averaged just 96,000 payrolls a month. At that rate, it will be more than four years before we return to pre-recession levels of full-time employment.”

What is the impact of this momentum? “New staffing trends are expected to emerge,” says The Street.

Here is a glimpse at “What America’s Workforce Will Look Like in 2014:” 

  • Increased flexibility for remote work and varying scheduling.
  • More contracting positions, but with increased scrutiny in expenditures as “increased discipline” will surround hiring.
  • Greater commitment to full-timers, as these workers “are more likely to focus on the strategic elements of the business.”
  • An improved labor market.
  • More options for staff to work part-time or to freelance should that be their preference.

‘Nothing is more revealing than movement.’—Martha Graham, American dancer

Content employees make for healthy workplaces. Do you know how to propel your human resources department in the right direction?

Consider “Five Foolproof Steps to Happier Employees” from Inc. Employers shouldn’t assume what works at other companies will be effective at their own. Rather, avoid such belief by asking employees via an anonymous survey what makes them happy.

Employers should ask two sets of questions: “How much do you agree that this is important?” and “How good are we at this?” Management can make improvements based on such feedback, and action plans should be based upon two or three things employees care about the most.

Finally, conduct “stay interviews” to hold on to your best employees for less, advises Small Business Trends.

During “stay interviews,” employers ask employees what they love about their jobs and what they don’t; whether they think they’re treated fairly; and whether they believe their work makes a difference to the company. Such interviews “can be a great way to check in with your top employees and make them feel valued.”

The interview should be informal and limited to only the most essential staffers. Such conversations will provide “actionable insights on how to make your company a better place for your employees.”

In accord with previous research findings, the article suggests that being flexible—such as allowing staff to work from home or part-time—is greatly appreciated. Also, employees need to be encouraged to take lunch, as “about 30% of employees feel pressured to work through their lunch break.”

Good health in the New Year doesn’t end at the gym or with well-balanced meals. The world of work, too, is a key component of healthy living. Knowing about these related issues will help you help your members and staff be happier and healthier in 2014.

Per philosopher Allan Bloom, “Education is the movement from darkness to light.”






  Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.