Workplace Well-Being in 2024
We have come a long way in the world of workplace well-being. Years ago, â€ścorporate wellness programsâ€ť were established as a way to minimize costs for health insurance claims, and smart business leaders, along with their engaged workforces and passionate well-being professionals, played a role in the evolution to workplace well-being. While some organizations are still in the infancy stages of strategic well-being business practices, all organizations have an opportunity to champion people through nurturing cultures of well-being.
The Scope of Workplace Well-Being
At humanworks8, one component of our philosophy is â€śEveryone Thrives.â€ť How can we establish balanced, energizing environments in which everyone can live their best life? In talking about well-being in the workplace, itâ€™s important to be intentional and consistent with your language â€“ We call it well-being, others might call it wellness. We say itâ€™s a component of organizational culture and strategy, others may say itâ€™s a plan, initiative or program. No matter the language, consider this: Well-being actions are a part of any cultural initiative because â€“ bottom line â€“ a business culture must support the well-being of its employees. Â
The Foundation of Workplace Well-Being
Whether your organization feels behind or stuck on well-being or celebrates an award-winning well-being culture, the strategy for well-being must begin with core values.
What if your organization had a core value clearly linked to well-being?
Be Well, Work Well, Live Well
Be Your Best Self
When we work with companies to elevate their core values and make them more unique, gutsy, and actionable â€“ we always focus on what we call The Indispensables:
- THE LIFE: Who are the unique individuals who bring your company to life?
- THE TOUCH: Who are you trying to impact in the world?
- THE BREATH: How are you focusing on the well-being of every life? How do you keep the pulse strong across your humanscape of people?
The core values of your organization dictate actions you take and decisions you make. If well-being isnâ€™t foundational to your company, it certainly isnâ€™t set up to be successful as a standalone initiative.
What else does a culture of well-being require?
What does an organization need as part of a well-being strategy? What are the non-negotiables? A philosophy of well-being and what you â€“ at an organizational level â€“ believe it is and are committed to â€“ will help to summarize and communicate what well-being is at a strategic level. We support that philosophy with four pillars: Purpose, Balance, Nutrition and Movement. There are plenty of other models and frameworks for workplace well-being, but weâ€™ve found that these four keep it simple and clear, and guide intentional action.
We also believe well-being strategies must incorporate activations that teach and empower, a facilitated group of well-being champions or ambassadors, moments of celebration and support outside of the workplace through considering family life. Well-being also must be personalized, and hereâ€™s where you might be tempted to stop reading. Personalization sounds like itâ€™s a lot of work and more expensive too, but thatâ€™s not what we mean. Well-being is not one size fits all, but how can one initiative, effort or offering support individuals at various points in their well-being journeys? How could a benefit provide an entry point for individuals with different interests, conditions or goals? Consider an option such as 1:1 coaching. We like to use The Well-Being Roadmap to get these conversations started and understand how employees want to be supported. Keep in mind that many individuals have their own exercise preferences, see health professionals and learn through alternative avenues outside of your organizationâ€™s well-being program too. If you donâ€™t have 100% participation, it doesnâ€™t mean your workplace isnâ€™t well. Â
Another way to meet employees where they are: Involve your leadership team in sharing their own experiences. Leaders have well-being interests, routines and goals too. And, as models of your organizational culture, they own well-being and engagement. Their actions define the strategy and success of well-being -not the HR team or the wellness committee. From executive to manager-level, individuals in leadership (especially people leadership) roles can make or break your well-being efforts. Itâ€™s not about incentives or points or walking challengesâ€¦itâ€™s about people and connection. Get your leadership team involved in sharing their experiences and leading workshops or discussions. The expertise you have in-house might surprise you, as will the changes in relationships and perceptions.
Lastly, we can no longer talk about well-being efforts without considering how our strategies work for people with varying physical abilities, with mental illness, pregnant women or nursing moms, caregivers â€“ for children, spouses or aging parents? How are they different across race or ethnicity, age, gender, etc.?
Weaving Well-Being with People Touchpoints
Programming and offerings are important components of a well-being strategy, but there are micro-opportunities in all components of your people practices.
Have you reviewed your employee handbook through a well-being lens? Think about your time off, bereavement, or business travel policies.
Does your recognition program champion people who are modeling healthy choices or perhaps those who stay up late sending e-mails and never take a lunch? And do the rewards promote healthy choices and experiences?
How is your organizationâ€™s well-being philosophy reflected in the recruiting and hiring process? Is the candidate experience congruent with the new hire experience and beyond?
These questions are examples of how you can continue to make well-being part of your organizationâ€™s culture, weaving well-being into the people touchpoints of your business. Use The Well-Being Foundation Builder tool we created as part of our relationship with the Wellness Council of Wisconsin to evaluate the twelve touchpoints within your own organization and guide you through elevating your culture of well-being through new strategies tied back to them.
For more workplace well-being stories and insights, listen to this blog post in its original podcast form in Episode 8 of Culture(&): The Future of Workplace Culture.