How to Build a Culture of Well-Being

How to Build a Culture of Well-Being

Well-being goes beyond movement and it’s bigger than your benefits or total rewards package, though having philosophies and tactics in both of those areas may likely help to elevate your organization. Well-being is – and must be – about every facet of your life. The adage of, “If it’s everything, it’s nothing” doesn’t apply here. And there’s no room for resistance to the idea of bringing one’s “whole self” to work. The whole self approach is critical and clear, particularly after a year of disruption; wellness touches all aspects of one’s life – at work, at home, at play. Now’s the time to build a culture of well-being.

A Culture of Well-Being is Built on Four Pillars

Wellness is about choices, opportunities, growing and learning, and it’s held up by four pillars: Purpose, Balance, Nutrition and Movement.

These pillars aren’t mutually exclusive; Rather, all four must work together to cultivate well-being. Each of the four pillars must also present opportunities that reach every employee. Recognize well-being journeys are different for each individual so be intentional about offerings and ensure variety in initiatives. Reach people where they are, not where you want them to be. Consider how policies, systems or benefits you have in place can support or amplify your well-being efforts – both at an individual and an organizational level.

Well-being initiatives in each of the four pillars should inspire belonging and feel like a useful tool, not a to-do task or a plug-and-play transaction. It’s important to remember that your employees won’t grab every tool in the toolbox and that tools can work differently when in different hands, and that’s okay.

Whether you are a people leader or a well-being strategist, consider these questions and ideas as you put focus on Purpose, Balance, Nutrition and Movement in your organization’s well-being efforts of today and the future. 


Every day, week and month should start with Purpose.

Purpose encompasses both personal and business elements, including values, goals and dreams. Purpose inspires clarity and confidence, and empowers your people to breathe into their instinctive strengths and unique abilities.

To understand where your team is around Purpose, ask them: What are you passionate about? How do you do it? Why do you do it? Here’s my “why” – What do you think yours is?

Start putting a focus on Purpose by implementing gratitude practices, activating Kolbe Wisdom™, defining unique abilities or evaluating organizational give back initiatives.  


A time for each and every thing that is important to you.

Like yoga, Balance is a practice. It’s not easy to achieve balance, but acknowledgement and implementation of resources –educational materials, access to professionals, programs or workshops – can go a long way for employees. Balance encompasses mindfulness, financial well-being, family, personal safety, sleep, stress management and more. While we often think of wellness as the following two pillars – Nutrition and Movement – consider how components of Balance such as mental health, financial stress or personal safety can serve as a barrier of entry to these areas.

To understand where your team is around Balance, ask them: What challenges are you trying to overcome? What is standing in the way of you being at your best? What is important to you? Here’s an obstacle I have in my life right now – What stands in your way or what distracts you?

Start putting a focus on Balance by planning efforts to remove stigmas around mental health, involving family in well-being initiatives, introducing financial wellness resources or surveying your caregivers.


Healthy eating as a natural habit.

Nutrition is about fueling our bodies well, but how do we help our employees on a larger scale when our bodies are all so different? Every individual has a unique Nutrition journey with different goals, needs and preferences. Consider weight loss goals, disease management and prevention, age, gender and lifestyle. Nutrition is heavily impacted by psychology too, so education, triggers and group behavior will factor into an individual’s choices and journey.

To understand where your team is around Nutrition, ask them:What are your favorite recipes? What’s the best snack for us to have at the office? Do you use/recommend any nutrition apps? Here’s a goal I have around my own nutrition – Can I help support any of yours?

Nutrition can be a sensitive topic. It’s personal, can highlight health concerns and can often be a challenge. Start putting a focus on Nutrition by switching up happy hour, encouraging team lunches, involving others in decisions about office snacks or meals and bringing in educators on various topics that touch nutrition.  


Exercise and activity as part of your daily life.

Everyone moves in different ways and has different passions, abilities and access to equipment. To successfully implement a culture of movement, it’s critical to keep these at the forefront and offer up several opportunities of various sorts to reach every body.

To understand where your team is around Movement, ask them: What’s your favorite way to move before, during or after work? What resources do you leverage for physical activity? Here’s what reminds me to move between meetings – What’s something that works for you?

Start putting a focus on Movement by encouraging ergonomically-friendly workstations (in the office, on the road or at home), scheduling time on the team or company calendar to stretch, modeling walking 1:1 meetings (maybe when it’s warmer!) or negotiating gym or class trials for employees.

Know – Own – Act in a Culture of Well-Being

Leaders and wellness strategists should consider how to educate and empower employees. The Know – Own – Act approach sets the foundation for action and accountability.

Know: Listen to your body. Strive for your numbers. Get smarter and utilize resources available.

Own: Be accountable for your choices. Be part of your family’s choices. Ask. Share your experiences and success.

Act: Make the right choices. Eat clean and move daily. Rest, recover and recharge. Seek balance with work, family and community.

Build a Culture of Well-Being with The Well-Being Roadmap

Help your employees on their well-being journey by using The Well-Being Roadmap tool by humanworks. Through establishing personal core values and approaching well-being milestones through a lens of the four pillars, participants will define strategies and accountability practices to move them forward in their wellness.