Four critical components of creating a culture of wellness
Companies today have come a long way from slowly waking up to the need for robust employee well-being programs. Many have created their unique wellness programs, while others have adopted industry-wide best practices in improving employee health and well-being. These sweeping changes have catapulted employee well-being to becoming an important organisational priority.
While creating robust wellness initiatives and rising wellness investments indicate growing importance, interventions and investments can only do so much. Cultural shifts that support wellness and healthcare are essential to creating a sustainable improvement in employee well-being. Albeit a slow process of creation, a culture of wellness leads to necessary structural support to improve employee well-being and raises awareness and engagement of employees towards wellness programs.
Engagement and leadership priorities
The first aspect of building a culture of wellness begins with the people—the living, breathing component of the company that shapes its culture. A workplace is an important opportunity for people to come together, connect, build relationships and nurture networks. Engaging employees, managers, and senior leaders in normalising wellness conversations and creating internal networks where employees can share and find solutions to their wellness challenges play a significant role in moving towards a culture of wellness.
Companies can train senior leaders and managers to make wellness a key business priority and show their commitment to a healthy workforce. Using rewards and recognition to create further engagement and a culture where healthy practices get rewarded proves essential. By exemplifying healthy lifestyle behaviours, endorsing organisational programs, and respecting employees' time away from work, leaders can demonstrate that work-life balance and well-being are priorities.
Holistic approach and personalisation
Employee wellness today has transcended the realm of purely physical wellness interventions. Today other dimensions of wellness have grown in importance, and a culture of wellness requires companies to focus on all of them. The broad dimensions of wellness include emotional, social, and financial wellness. Creating robust interventions that address employee needs across these dimensions helps companies strengthen their culture and build a holistic approach to tackling employee wellness issues. It also ensures companies can diversify their well-being options and personalise care depending on the individual.
Catering for a hybrid world
The recent Microsoft Work Trend Index stated flexibility and remote work as two key pillars shaping employee preferences. While remote work was a must during the pandemic, companies today are slowly transitioning back into a more hybrid—one that includes both elements of physically being present at the workplace and remote—working conditions. This poses a challenge for those aiming to create a strong culture of wellness in the workplace.
To cater for a hybrid workforce is to ensure accessibility and inclusivity. By leveraging digital healthcare and wellness tools and ensuring wellness initiatives are accessible to both remote and physically present workforce, companies can forge a more inclusive workplace culture of wellness. Wellness can even be plugged into other aspects of talent management like performance management and spread across multiple employee touch points—physical or virtual—to institute a further impetus into prioritising well-being and healthcare across the hybrid company.
It is important to remember most employees want to genuinely improve their quality of life and develop a healthier lifestyle but often face barriers like time and money. HR leaders and wellness professionals can eliminate these barriers by giving employees more time to improve their well-being, allowing them more flexibility in their work hours to enable better opportunities for personal care, and providing easier access to resources all tuned for a hybrid world.
Digital wellness tools and technologies
Digital tools and technologies today are the bedrock of change. Within wellness, digital healthcare tools provide a wide range of services that have become essential for employee well-being—today, companies across the board leverage digital healthcare apps and tools in some form. For example, companies offer 24/7 accessible apps to help employees with meditation, sleep, education, OPD services, doctor consultations, or online therapy. Companies also use these tools for education and coaching to support financial well-being and tackle social isolation.
The strategic use of digital tools, from healthcare to communication, can today be a great enabler for a culture of wellness. Its use is pivotal, and today is poised to play an essential role in ensuring the health and well-being of the workforce.
To truly create a successful wellness and healthcare system within the company, HR leaders and wellness professionals must address the bigger picture of culture, a mix of attitudes, beliefs, values, and norms. Creating a wellness culture ensures companies can guide their short-term interventions and initiatives toward the right end. In addition, it helps ensure authenticity remains a vital aspect of wellness efforts and makes them more effective.