Employers everywhere are learning that a healthy workplace is good for business. As a business leader, you have an opportunity to establish well-being as a key organizational value, and to create a culture of well-being—a supportive workplace culture that promotes good health for everyone, while boosting your bottom line. But what is a culture of well-being? IBHN defines well-being as the complex web of social influences that nurture people, so that they can achieve complete emotional, physical, financial, and social health. It’s possible that your company already has what it takes to improve its current culture. This guide is designed to help you through the process of creating a culture of well-being for your organization, whether you are looking to improve your organization’s culture, or starting from scratch.
Consider a Culture of Well-Being
Employees need a supportive culture in order to be successful—at work, at home, and in their community. Workplace initiatives are a way to establish health as a key organizational value. This helps develop a culture of well-being, or a workplace culture that promotes good health for everyone. Employee well-being affects the bottom line. If an employee is healthy and happy, they tend to do better at work. If an employee is unhealthy and unhappy, there will likely be more barriers to getting daily tasks done.
The University of Michigan’s Health Research Center has tracked the cost spread between high lifestyle risk and low lifestyle risk in more than 1 million employees. Data shows that the gap between low- and high-risk employees exceeds $3,000 per year throughout adulthood. Multiply that number by each at-risk employee in your organization. By creating and implementing the best strategies, you will reach and engage employees and their families. The goal is to focus on the overall emotional, physical, financial, and social tenets of employee well-being.
What is a Culture of Well-Being?
- Are your employees healthy enough to show up for work and be productive?
- Would your employees thrive in an environment of wellness and healthy lifestyle support?
- Can your company benefit from saving money on its health care spending?
- Do you currently provide information for your employees with resources on financial literacy, management consultation, and/or organizational development?
- Do you have wellness programs, health screenings, and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place?
The vision of well-being
- Leaders explain the initiative, how to participate and why it is important. Leaders need to be able to tell these basics in a way that inspires participation and lets employees know that this effort is an organizational priority.
- Serving as effective role models, leaders develop strategies for walking the talk, including sharing personal lifestyle strengths and improvement goals. Leaders participate in core wellness activities, such as completing personal health assessments and working with a health coach.
- Aligning cultural touch points are formal and informal ways to establish and maintain behavior. Rewards, training, traditions, communication systems, and the commitment of time and space are examples. Most organizations already have policies, procedures, and programs that influence health behavior, such as smoking guidelines.
- Monitoring and celebrating healthy choices, leaders keep track of progress and acknowledge individuals’ efforts. Leaders can see progress as it happens. Healthy practices generate their own rewards associated with health, energy, and personal performance. Leaders call attention to these positive outcomes and also see to it that employees get praise, compensation, and other rewards that are available.
How can your organization foster resilience?
The first step in fostering resilience is to understand and appreciate the rationale for supporting individuals with resilience development. In doing so, you will 1) avoid the costs associated with a workforce that is ill equipped to bounce back from adversity and 2) realize the competitive opportunities a resilient workforce offers.
Stress arising from an adverse event can harm, or it can lead to growth in resilient organizations and individuals. Interventions can raise the level of functioning from “succumbing” to “surviving” and even “thriving.” Based on our many years of helping organizations and individuals address challenges and make meaningful changes, we can help you leverage and build on the resources in your workplace to foster resilience across the organization. This section will get you started.