Corporate learning and development has come a long way, and with the increase in demand for work life balance, companies are now offering mindfulness training. Yet, many organizations are traversing this with caution to avoid religious or spiritual affiliations at work.
A 2016 study conducted by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and Fidelity Investments found that 22% of companies have mindfulness training programs already in place, and another 21% plan to add a mindfulness training component in 2017. The programs typically cost between $500 to $10,000 for large group sessions.
The theory behind mindfulness training is that it enables workers to manage stress levels, while improving memory and focus, says Bravetta Hassell, associate editor for Chief Learning Officer. However, some leadership experts, like David Brendel, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist and executive coach who contributes to the Harvard Business Journal, believe that companies must carefully decide if mindfulness training is the right approach for their business.
Hassell introduces the concept of mindfulness training in a very comprehensive way, for those who may not connect its use with the corporate learning world. Mindfulness and meditation are useful approaches to reducing stress, improving personal focus, and supporting overall wellness. These are all valid reasons why a company would want to invest in such a program.
Mindfulness training should be offered as something extra that employees at all levels are welcome to try, but it should never be mandatory. To do so would defeat the purpose entirely. Second, it can be used to augment leadership development programs, where the greatest impact may be felt. Lastly, it needs to stay completely clear of any religious or spiritual followings, with an emphasis on non-doctrine exercises.
Anyone can benefit from mindfulness training, which makes it the perfect add on to a workplace development program or wellness program. Just proceed with caution and use a qualified instructor to lead the sessions.