A Culture-Boosting Framework for Well-Being
Making Well-Being Part of Your Culture
What is well-being and how can you make your framework for well-being or well-being strategy better â€“ more effective, engaging and successful â€“ at your organization? Workplace well-being strategies continue to evolve beyond traditional assessments and one-size-tries-to-fit-all lunch and learns. What if well-being was naturally part of your culture, woven into the fabric of your organizationâ€™s leadership practices? What if well-being was the way you did business 365 days a year?
Well-Being and Core Values
Regardless of the term you use â€“ wellness, well-being, health, whole self, best self â€“ thereâ€™s something about each individualâ€™s physical, mental and spiritual health that has become integral to workplace success. Today, well-being has taken a broader definition â€“ itâ€™s life, itâ€™s living. Not even decades ago, workplace and wellness might not have been used in the same sentence, and if they were, it was either taboo or progressive. The world of work has changed dramatically in the last several years. That means it might be time to (and itâ€™s okay to) revisit your organizationâ€™s core values. What makes your organization unique? What are your unique, gutsy, action-orientated values? Do they cover â€śThe Indispensables?â€ť
- The Life: Does your organization have a value that celebrates the unique talents of individuals and the importance of those talents for the success of the company?
- The Breath: Does your organization have a value that puts wellness and well-being front and center?
- The Touch: Does your organization have a value centered on those you are trying to impact?
Leadership and Well-Being
Well-being begins with leadership, and even the greatest leaders can find ways to better support their employeesâ€™ well-being. Your leadership team can start right now, by taking the Leader Well-Being Self-Assessment. Rate yourself, establish your well-being leadership baseline and identify areas of opportunity, asking, â€śWhatâ€™s one thing I could do to produce that change?â€ť
Hereâ€™s a thought: What if the â€śone thingâ€ť you could do is be yourself? What if part of elevating your organizationâ€™s well-being program was showing others what you do for your own wellness?
You might be thinking, â€śBut Iâ€™m not the picture of wellness, so I shouldnâ€™t be the face of it at my company.â€ť Maybe itâ€™s because you could use some better nutrition practices or because your team would agree you donâ€™t exactly represent â€śbalance.â€ť Thatâ€™s okay. What if you could start with what you do already do? Hereâ€™s what we meanâ€¦
Introducing 52/52 as a Framework for Well-Being
On the weekends, do you play board games with friends? Do you hit the gym for a Zumba class? Are you spending your spare moments coaching forensics at your childâ€™s school, or making crafts for your churchâ€™s craft fair? Maybe you are an avid gardener or youâ€™ve mastered the art of a family schedule. Thereâ€™s something that you do for your own well-being, and while it might look different from what others do, itâ€™s unique to you and drives your purpose, balance, nutrition and/or movement forward.
If each of your organizationâ€™s leaders share their well-being efforts with employees, what would it look like? A combination of unique efforts including, but not limited to leader-led workshops, third-party expert-led workshops, virtual mini-classes, video and blog series created by leaders, the list goes on. Thatâ€™s the essence of 52/52: Each week, one leader or pair of leaders model their own well-being efforts and teach others. We hear you â€“ 52 leaders, 52 weeks is a lot. Thatâ€™s no reason to nix the strategy altogether. Is 12 leaders, 12 months a more reasonable, yet still effective place to start?
Why the 52/52 or 12/12 Framework Works
- It allows leaders to do something (else) theyâ€™re passionate about while working. It also humanizes them, giving them a chance to show vulnerability, make connections with employees, support other leaders and have fun at work. The framework shows them the path to engage in well-being, setting an expectation that they look forward to meeting.
- It gives employees the opportunity to see leaders through a different lens. Employees learn, have fun and create bonds through a variety of experiences, experiencing well-being in all its forms. For employees, this finally addresses what â€śwork-life balanceâ€ť truly is â€“ It brings work to life and life to work.
- It simplifies the role of well-being strategists, minimizing the question of â€śWhatâ€™s our well-being strategy?â€ť and the accompanying logistics. It allows them to leverage the perfect-fit resources already in the â€śbuildingâ€ť and creates ambassadors out of high-visibility leaders.
- It gives organizations an advantage in employer branding, from talent attraction to engagement and retention. It also impacts performance and effectiveness, as scrapbooking informs strategy, kickboxing informs KPIs and smoothies inform spreadsheets. The frameworkâ€™s engagement and connection outcomes build a better business.
Being a leader means more. Leaders have an elevated responsibility. Deadlines, quotas and deliverables all fall second to what really makes the business tick â€“ people.
To get started, define whatâ€™s realistic for your organization. Consider your size and current well-being initiatives. Start with a 12/12 approach and work your way up to 52/52. These numbers are targets â€“ if 10 happen, thatâ€™s okay. If 14 happen, great!
Letâ€™s talk about leaders. Pull your list of leaders, starting with the very top. Owners and C-Suite executives should be the first leaders that you ask to participate. Itâ€™s important to define clear expectations, share ideas and feedback, assign deadlines and show support.
Use The 12/12 Well-Being Timeline tool to outline the yearâ€™s initiatives and check out the last page for a list of ideas that work. When youâ€™re ready to build onto your 12/12 framework, consider assigning a week or month to next-tier leaders, well-being ambassadors or teams. Allow the framework to become part of your well-being strategy indefinitely, as more employees of all levels seek to be part of the 12/12 or 52/52 plan, sharing their experiences and well-being ideas just as their leaders have done. This sustainable approach to well-being strategy will continue to engage leaders and employees, strengthen relationships and elevate culture for years to come.