By Alyssa Protsman, MS, CWP

If you really want to create a wave of change in your organization, align your culture and wellness initiatives by pursuing people-centric organizational wellness strategies. We need to address our human capital concerns through a humanistic approach that communicates mutual respect and common purpose while taking the focus off programs and portals that make our employees jump through hoops. We must first focus on relationships and HOW we go about creating a culture of wellness in the workplace. Where wellness and culture collide is where we can see real, lasting change.

Strengthen Your Mission

A strong mission statement is the foundation of your company’s culture – it helps everyone get on the same page and be clear on how they are purposefully contributing to something greater than themselves. 

Your mission, vision, and values statement should, at minimum, answer these 3 questions:

 1) How is your organization committed to serving the well-being of all it’s stakeholders?  

2) What is the ideal state that your organization wants to achieve?  

3) What beliefs and values drive your business practices and culture?

Invest in Your Leaders

Once we create a strong mission and values statement including your company’s stance on taking care of their people, your employees need visible, steadfast leaders that champion the organizations pursuit of health. All leadership in the organization need to be well-versed in the organization’s mission, values, and wellness resources to make wellness accessible to everyone. Additionally, team leaders need to be clear on each team member’s contributions and scope of responsibilities and, equally important, how they tie into the company’s mission. 

Business leaders need to take the time to better understand the social dynamics in the work environment and prioritize the performance of their managers and lead team by hosting focus groups and offering executive coaching and leadership training. Focusing all your wellness efforts on benefit design and wellness incentives will not solve a bad management problem. 

Treat your Team with Respect

One of the greatest contributors to your employee’s well-being and work performance is how they are managed when they show up for work. Employers that honor their employees and their families and understand the privilege and duty associated with each employee’s health and well-being will see their investment pay off. As an employer, you might be one of the greatest influences on your employee’s well-being. Full time employees are dedicating the majority of the hours of their day to bring your organization to life. By developing your leaders, your practices, and your environment you can make an impact on your team’s health and safety, exposure to stress, poor ergonomics, financial insecurity, social well-being and more.

Often it will take time for a business to build trust with their employees. In employee focus groups we would hear from employees who serve on the manufacturing floor refer to company leadership as “the people who work up there in the office” or “they want me to change this but they…” I quickly realized what needed to take place was NOT more education and incentives to get their team healthier. In this case, management needed to lay the ground work for their team to be willing to be open about their health or personal concerns.

A comprehensive program is not about having the best programs and portals with all the bells and whistles (although those things are nice). Rather, a comprehensive program is one that addresses the whole-person and offers opportunities for them to feel supported in their job as well as maintaining a sense of synergy between her professional and personal goals. Train and support your team to regularly discuss your company’s mission and values in relation to your wellness program. Make caring for your body and your mind commonplace in the workplace and take the time to lay down a foundation of clear communication and encourage opportunities for team members to learn about program benefits and testimonies.

The operation and social dynamics of your team is a mirror of the quality of your leadership. Leadership needs to create an environment where all team members feel respected in their roles and connected and supported by the people and places around them. The brunt of the company’s success should never be put on the lowest level positions and I have seen and heard this so often when consulting with HR and business leaders. To start seeing real results, we need to look in the mirror and start addressing issues from the top down, not the other way around.