Healthy Employees are Happy Employees
Teow Boon Ling is the general manager of Cargo Community Network (CCN), a market leader in the logistics industry, that believes that a company’s biggest asset is its workforce. In 2005, he initiated the Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) Program for his 60 employees. He envisioned that employees who possess a healthy mind and body will contribute to the overall growth and productivity of the organization. Strong management support and participation is pervasive throughout the implementation of the WHP program. A senior manager heads the Company Recreation Committee (CRC), comprised of representatives from different departments. CRC, with support and guidance from the WHP consultant, designs activities that address employees’ physical and mental well-being and healthy eating. Annual basic health screenings and health and activities surveys are conducted to collate information on employees’ current lifestyles, health practices, and preferred types of activities. To promote healthy eating habits and lifestyle among the staff, the company organized free distribution of fruits on “Friday Fruit Day” as well as regular nutrition talks, healthy cooking demos, and fitness classes.
Despite the initial setback of low staff participation (only 10 percent) in the organized activities, Teow persisted and remained convinced of the intended transformation of the company. He acknowledged, “It was not easy for one to change the habits of the employees and begin an active lifestyle. It’s just like training for a marathon—it might seem impossibly difficult at the beginning, but youjust need to take that first step. Set small achievable goals from the outset and once you start achieving them, you’ll find that you eventually become stronger and faster with less effort.” He leads by example by taking part in all the organized activities. He also continuously works on improving the policies to better integrate workplace health promotion withinthe organization culture. Innovatively, he has included WHP as a component in the performance appraisal that affects the employees’ bonus payout. A
points system, monetary tokens, and award recognitions were also given to motivate employees who made the effort to lead healthier lifestyles. Flexible working hours are also introduced for staff to take time off to participate in weekly jog and brisk walk sessions.
Four years down the WHP road, Teow proudly commented at the Health Promotion Silver Award ceremony, “Productivity is pretty hard to measure but I see improved team spirit, the atmosphere is more cheery, people are more happy—[they are] more open, engaging in discussions, with increased communication across departments.” Source: Health Promotion Board, SHA 2008 Silver Award.
1. Describe Teow’s personality and leadership style. How does it foster or hinder his effort to transform CCN into a healthy and productive organization?
2. Based on the description of Teow’s personality and leadership style, in your opinion, is he a charismatic leader, a transformational leader, or both? Support your answer.