The Importance of creating a culture of wellness
Considering the length of time employees spend at work, the workplace is an important environment to promote health. Investing in a corporate wellness programme makes good business sense as they have been found to improve employee productivity, reduce absenteeism, increase retention and job satisfaction.
When it comes to workplace wellness programmes, unsupportive cultures are the biggest impediment to individual and organisational success. A company’s wellness values are critical when it comes to the impact, they have on employees reaching their wellbeing goals within the workplace.
Workplace wellness programmes are typically designed to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. Other programmes may only focus on discovering the source of stress within a workplace and targeting those issues to prevent stress levels increasing.
A key component that many organisations don’t focus on is implementing culture into the whole company. By introducing healthy snacks in the canteen or starting a walking club is not going to change the overall company culture. Embedding a culture of wellness throughout an organisation will have the most positive effects for the company and its employees.
How do you create a culture of wellness?
Building a culture of wellness does not happen overnight and there are many factors to be considered when creating a programme.
Through research carried out by our health coach experts it is evident that there are many components necessary to create a culture of workplace wellness; including communication, buy-in from the top down, engagement of employees and alignment of systems.
Communication is a critical component to gain understanding and commitment of employees. “Companies with successful workplace wellness initiatives recognised the value of integrating programmes designed with measurement and communication (Researchgate.net,2018) Employees need to fully understand the important role they have in achieving if the programme is effective or not. If the programme is not communicated effectively within an organisation, this is the first step in failing to create a culture of wellness.
Buy-in from the top down
It is highly important to have support from leadership when creating a culture of wellness. Many wellness programmes fail due to the lack of combined efforts from all in an organisation. Supportive managers, who may offer and promote flexible working hours, are helping to create a healthy work environment.
Engagement of employees
Depending on the size of the organisation, it can be difficult to ensure full engagement of the programme from all employees. Dedicating a network of workplace champions who are responsible for spreading the benefits of the programme across different departments, can help towards promotion, communication and more importantly, engagement. Workplace champion tasks should be allowed to be carried out during working hours as this will achieve greater buy-in and ensure that the allocated roles are being fulfilled.
Alignment of Systems and Procedures
Organisations need to ensure formal systems enable the creation of wellness within the company culture. Changing cultural norms must reflect the objectives of the wellness programme. Behaviours such as working through lunch or emailing colleagues outside working hours are not conducive to creating a culture of wellness. Systems and procedures must support and be aligned with the programme. Many employees are in a certain habit due to it being part of the cultural norms in their workplace. If an organisation’s procedures support the programme, then employees will start to break unhealthy habits and allow a culture of wellness to form.
When a company has a strong culture of wellness, it creates a sense of community among the organisation. Employee morale increases as there is a shared vision and wellness goals in the company. Healthy, happy employees are the perfect component of any company culture. When an employee feels that their employer appreciates them and has their best interests in mind, it really is the ideal company culture.