The Unique Role of Health and Wellbeing Coaches in Creating a More Inclusive Business Landscape in New Zealand

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

In today’s rapidly changing society, businesses in New Zealand are not only faced with challenges such as economic uncertainty, regulatory change, and technology disruption but also with a promising opportunity to drive significant change. By placing health, wellbeing, diversity, and inclusion at the forefront of their operations, they cannot only help address the stark disparities, such as skills, knowledge and discrimination in structural and hiring practices, as highlighted in the Ministry of Social Development’s 2020 review but also pave the way for a more inclusive and brighter future, filled with hope and optimism.

The review offers six key ways to pave the path towards a more inclusive society:

  • Fostering common values and inclusive social norms
  • Creating positive interactions between people
  • Tackling harms, such as prejudice and discrimination
  • Providing knowledge and skills for active participation
  • Ensuring all voices¬†are heard
  • Offering equal opportunities, support, and resources

These provide a roadmap for positive change.

As the primary agents of change, employers hold the power to make a significant difference. They can actively contribute to this vital work by taking tangible steps within their organisations and establishing clearly defined values for which the organisation stands. Organisational values help employees align with a common purpose and sense of belonging, which can create a culture of respect and acceptance. 

Encouraging positive interactions between employees from different backgrounds fosters understanding and empathy. Implementing training programs to address prejudice and discrimination [such as unconscious bias training, diversity and inclusion workshops, or cultural sensitivity training] equips staff with the knowledge and skills to contribute to a more inclusive environment.

It’s important to remember that every voice matters. By providing your employees a platform to voice their thoughts and concerns, you not only ensure that everyone feels valued and heard but also foster a sense of belonging and commitment.

Each employee’s perspective is crucial in addressing inequalities within the workplace. Offering support and resources to all employees can help bridge the gap and create opportunities for growth and development. 

Health and wellbeing coaches play a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and can assist in implementing positive change. Here are some examples of how they can facilitate this important goal:

1. Provide inclusive wellness programs: Health and wellbeing coaches can create wellness programs that cater to employees’ diverse needs and preferences. This may include offering a variety of fitness activities, nutrition options, mental health resources, and stress management techniques that are inclusive and accessible to everyone.

2. Offer cultural competency training: Coaches can provide training to help employees understand and respect different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. This can help create a more inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

3. Address unconscious bias: Health and wellbeing coaches can work with employees to raise awareness of it and its impact on workplace relationships and decisions. By fostering an open dialogue and providing tools to address bias, coaches can help create a more inclusive workplace culture.

4. Advocate for diversity in wellness initiatives: Coaches can advocate for diversity and inclusion in all wellness initiatives, from the materials and resources provided to the language and imagery used in communications. By ensuring that wellness programs are inclusive and accessible to all employees, coaches can help promote a culture of diversity and inclusion.

5. Support mental health and emotional wellbeing: Health and wellbeing coaches can provide support and resources for employees who may face challenges related to mental health, stress, or emotional wellbeing. By offering a safe and supportive space for employees to discuss their concerns and providing guidance on coping strategies, coaches can help create a more inclusive environment where everyone feels supported and valued.

In Sum

Health and wellbeing coaches can play a vital role in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Their expertise can lead to the creation of inclusive wellness programs, the offering of cultural competency training, the addressing of unconscious bias, the advocacy for diversity in initiatives, and the support of mental health and emotional wellbeing. Partnering with them can bring about significant positive change in your organisation, inspiring and motivating your workforce to embrace diversity and inclusion.

By prioritising health, wellbeing, diversity, and inclusion, businesses cannot only contribute to a more socially inclusive workplace but also pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future for all. Let us commit to fostering inclusion, celebrating diversity, and creating opportunities for all in New Zealand’s business landscape.

Sharon Tomkins

Sharon is a New Zealand qualified Health Coach and Personal Trainer, as well as an ICF Certified Coach and Accredited Coaching Supervisor. Sharon was awarded the 'Health & Wellness Coach of the Year' 2022, by The Health Coaches Australia & New Zealand Association.
Share This