Updated: Mar 16
A positive organizational wellness culture supports every aspect of well-being. A 2018 Deloitte Insights article recognized that "well-being is becoming a core responsibility of good corporate citizenship and a critical performance strategy to drive employee engagement, organizational energy, and productivity. They go on to identify that having a culture of well-being is "no longer an optional or narrowly focused element of the rewards menu. Well-being is now front and center as a business imperative for leading, high-performance companies."
The goal of a wellness culture is to create a healthy and enthusiastic employee or volunteer who embraces workplace environments, values, and programs. There are eight keys to help your organization unlock a culture of well-being to lead the way as a wellness-centered, high-performance business, or non-profit in your industry.
Keys to Creating a Well-being Culture Change
Key 1 - Lead by Example
When it comes to creating a workplace culture of wellness, the leaders must lead from behind AND by example. This allows them to take care of themselves and demonstrate what it means to live in lifestyle health and well-being.
Key 2 - Show You Care
Is well-being at the core of who you are as an organization? Is it part of your mission, vision, values, and goals? One of the best ways to drive well-being engagement is having employees that believe and their leaders care. Trust is built when actions match words. Nothing shows you care more than having well-bing integrated into the DNA of your organization.
Key 3 - Invest in Well-being
Seeing benefits in your team's health, wellness, and productivity requires an investment in workplace well-being. When individuals are happy, healthy, and whole they also tend to be more productive and engaged. However, wellness programs that aren't supported by a wellness culture don't provide the return on investment many times. When you invest in the foundation of wellness with the programs, you will see increased productivity and engagement which leads to increased return on investment (ROI) as well as greater value on investment (VOI).
Key 4 - Understand the Barriers
When barriers to well-being are not removed, the barriers can have a big impact. A whole employee or volunteer is much more likely to be fully and mindfully present to provide their very best. The two biggest barriers that keep your team from improving their quality of life through healthier lifestyles are time and money. If you can help them remove these barriers, you demonstrate your commitment to them as positive contributors to your team which fuels organizational loyalty.
Key 5 - Focus on the Facets
Physical, mental, and emotional health are intertwined with day-to-day employee performance. Since health and wellness are multifaceted, they require a focus on a variety of components as you build a culture of wellness. Physical well-being is important but so are career, financial, social, and community well-being. To create a culture that thrives, you need to offer tools and resources in all areas of wellness and not just those that impact physical and mental health.
Key 6 - Talk It Out
A positive wellness culture includes openness and communication that is comfortable and authentic. This encourages an environment where your team can share concerns about work-life balance, well-being, and stress. A two-way dialogue where leaders feel comfortable and empowered to seek understanding, offer support in an individualized approach, to help their team members improve their lives.
Key 7 - Hire Well
People who take care of themselves, lead balanced lives and are engaged in wellness help lead the lifestyle wellness charge within your organization. They help create the culture but also help get the rest of the team interested in wellness too. When you have a lot of these informal social interactions that authentically take place, it organically fuels a culture of wellness. Including lifestyle wellness questions as you seek new members of your team provides another layer of information as you assess which candidate will best fit your organization and the wellness culture, you are creating.
Key 8 - Stress In a Manageable Way
Stress is a leading issue in the workplace and can provide a barrier to success as you try to build a culture that enhances well-being. Stress management is an essential skill for everyone. When you build management and coping strategies into your culture, you increase the coping capacity mindfully by providing tools for everyone.
Wellness programs can't compete with the culture that exists in your organization. Although a culture of wellness doesn't just happen, luckily, it CAN be intentionally created. Is it time to look beyond wellness programs to establish an organizational culture that will make them successful?