Well-being culture has become something of a hot topic recently. Exactly how to nurture “good culture” can vary, depending on whom you talk to and the unique circumstances within an organization. But one thing we all can agree on is that a positive culture in the workplace creates happy employees, and happy employees are more productive.
Last week, WebMD Health Services hosted a 30-minute webinar on the culture of well-being (which is different than company culture, by the way). We want to emphasize four of the points we discussed that we believe are critically important and worth repeating here.
1. Employees may not seem engaged, but they want well-being help from their employer.
Our industry aspires for engaged employees who are energetic, willing to work hard and able to solve complex problems with creative solutions. But Gallup estimates that more than half of workers are not engaged, and another 18% are actively disengaged in their work; these actively disengaged employees cost our economy more than $450 billion annually in lost productivity.1
Interestingly, despite this seeming lack of interest, Mercer found that 50% of employees want more focus on health and well-being from their employer.2 It sounds obvious but it’s worth saying: Everyone wants to enjoy going to work every day. We all want to feel like the company we work for cares about us and our well-being.
2. Leaders and managers can’t just pay lip service. They have to walk the talk.
Leadership support (from all levels, not just those in the corner offices) plays a crucial role in culture. If your CEO or boss is an advocate for your well-being, then congratulations. But you’re in the minority.
Unfortunately, less than half of companies have visible senior leadership support3, according to the National Business Group on Health. And even fewer are holding managers accountable for their role in promoting employee health.
One way to ensure that culture gets the attention it deserves is to tie performance goals for managers to employee well-being. Only 17% of companies do this, the NBGH says.
Middle management isn’t the only untapped source of support for a well-being culture. Consider implementing a Well-Being Champion Network at local worksites or key locations. Champions should be knowledgeable about all of your company’s well-being offerings and have regular access to key program stakeholders within the company as well as vendor partners.
We’ve found that it also helps if these individuals represent specific divisions, departments, or regions for your organization. Learn more about how you can build your well-being champion network with our e-book.
3. A culture of well-being should encompass more than healthy eating and physical activity.
Organizations have the most success creating cultures of well-being when they take a
holistic approach that offers tools and resources to help employees in many different areas of their lives. Two of the more popular subject areas are managing stress and improving financial health.
Mental health issues are widespread around the world, the 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey by Towers Watson found. Around three in 10 employees report they have suffered from severe stress, anxiety or depression in the last two years.4
The same study also found that many employees are struggling financially under the weight of low pay increases and rising household debt. There’s considerable—and growing—interest in employees’ financial well-being.
4. Create social connections like volunteering.
Company-sponsored volunteer efforts benefit not just the organization receiving your acts of charity, but they also build an esprit de corps among your employees who participate.
A large number of empirical studies confirm that positive social connections at work produce highly desirable results. For example, people get sick less often, experience less depression, learn faster and remember longer, tolerate pain and discomfort better, display more mental acuity and perform better on the job.
Three-quarters of U.S. adults who volunteer say that the experience has made them feel physically healthier, and 78% report that volunteering lowers stress levels, leading to feeling better than adults who do not volunteer, according to a study by UnitedHealth Group in 2013.5
Here at WebMD Health Services, we offer opportunities to volunteer throughout the year. Recently, dozens of our colleagues have pitched in at the Oregon Food Bank, refurbished donated children’s bikes at a local charity and tended to trails in Forest Park, one of Portland’s gems.
Everyone leaves these experiences feeling good—and not just about themselves, either. We’re grateful that WebMD allows us to volunteer on company time and we appreciate that a few of our co-workers take on the extra responsibility to organize and plan volunteer events. Without them, none of it would happen.
It goes to show you that everyone is responsible for a well-being culture to succeed. Managers need to be vocal. And employees need to contribute as well. Creating a winning culture, no matter how you may choose to define it or nurture it, isn’t an exact science. It takes time and commitment. But it is possible and incredibly powerful once things start to click.
Are you looking to take your well-being culture seriously? Download our e-book, 4 Steps to Culture Strategy and Implementation to help you get started.