Cultivating a wellbeing culture

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Teresa Clark, Founder & Alchemist at The Wellness Revolution, explains how we can cultivate a wellbeing culture in the workplace, and how top performing organisations are winning the war on talent.

Want to know the real secrets of top performing organisations and how they’re winning the war on talent and reaping the rewards in every area from creativity and innovation to performance and profitability?

Wellbeing + Happiness = Success

Employee wellbeing is not just a tick box exercise or a nice thing to have these days it’s the backbone of a happy, high performing workforce.

Study after study is proving that when organisations shift their focus to putting their people’s wellbeing first the positive impact can be felt and seen everywhere.

Now more than ever, it is crucial for organisations to recognise their responsibility in fostering positive, compassionate cultures that support and enhance the wellbeing of their people on every level or face the far-reaching consequences.

Culture Crafting

So, the big question that should be at top of the business agenda right now…

How do we cultivate a wellbeing culture that provides the foundations for our people to flourish?

Firstly, we need to understand all the factors that contribute to both individual and collective wellbeing in the workplace and how your organisations culture and working environments are promoting, supporting, and enhancing these.

Wellbeing is so much more than just physical or mental health it’s a multidimensional pursuit which encompasses all of our psychological needs.

Cultivating a wellbeing culture

So, if you’re fully committed to crafting a culture of wellbeing it’s fundamental that you take a fully holistic approach to all aspects of employee health and wellbeing to support your people to live and perform at their best.

Where to Start?

The truth is workplace cultures are complex and can’t be changed overnight. There are no short cuts when it comes to getting it right, but by committing to putting your people first, you're headed in the right direction.

Evaluating where you are is the first step

Regularly evaluating your culture and employee experience lets you know where to focus your energy so you can make the changes that matter the most for real impact.

Looking at your culture through a wellbeing lens start by answering these questions:

  • How has your organisation changed in the last 2 years?
  • What are your values and how do these align with wellbeing?
  • Where have there been shifts in behaviours for better or worse?
  • Where do you excel in supporting your people and where do you struggle?
  • What are the multi-generational wellbeing needs of your workforce?
  • How will you adapt and redesign your systems and practices to cater for everyone?
  • Which working model are you adopting moving forwards?

Remember that remote/blended and office-based cultures will all require different ways of thinking when it comes to embedding wellbeing into your organisation.

Meaning & purpose

The great resignation is a forewarning of the need to rethink our meaning and purpose as organisations. To start asking important questions that really matter.

  • How do you create meaningful work and what does that look like for your people?
  • What difference is your organisation making in the world?
  • How are you impacting society and how are you giving back?

Infusing your organisation with a greater sense of purpose plays a fundamental role in creating a sustainable culture of happiness and wellbeing.

Culture Definers

What’s your organisation’s story?

What language are you using to talk about wellbeing in your workplace? What’s the narrative of your organisation and how does storytelling tie into your values?

Co-creating a shared common language around wellbeing, will enter the consciousness of your culture. Enabling your people to speak freely and have open and authentic conversations that will positively impact their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours around caring for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of their teammates.

Sharing stories of how we struggle and how we thrive individually and collectively are at the core of true culture change and the most powerful way to cultivate a wellbeing culture.

Conscious conversations

How does your organisation normalise conversations around mental health, wellbeing, and inclusion?

How do you celebrate people that show their vulnerability and courage to be open about the challenges they face, how they manage and the support that they need to succeed?

Leaders of the future

To really foster true change and embed wellbeing throughout your organisation it’s imperative that all efforts whether big or small are backed and supported at board level and by senior leadership.

Getting your leadership team involved at all levels will determine the success or failure of any initiatives, demonstrating to your people whether your organisation really does care or if the messaging and behaviours from the top are inauthentic.

Your people will know the difference between just ticking boxes and true authenticity

Leaders must also learn to role model wellbeing behaviours to show their teams that they value and prioritise their own wellbeing and set an example for their teams to follow. Humanising their own experiences of managing stress and struggle to lead with empathy and compassion.

Research shows that leaders profoundly impact the wellbeing of their employees for better or worse

Upskilling your leaders and people managers with the right mindset, skills, and training that they need to lead well and impact their people positively are key factors in cultivating healthy, inclusive working environments and wellbeing cultures.

Crafting your Strategy

Culture change is an inside job and must be approached with a clear, well thought out strategy which both defines and details the vision of your organisation providing a robust framework on which to build from.

Asking the right questions

How can we create a culture and working environment where people can bring their true selves to work and be open?

What are the needs of your people vs the needs of your organisation and how do you harmonise and work together to create the best outcomes for everyone?

Looking at both your employee’s and leaders’ perspectives - what are the systemic issues within your culture that are impacting wellbeing?

What are the main challenges around work/life balance, mental health, stress & burnout, diversity and inclusion, connection and collaboration, communication, and management?

  • Where are the knowledge gaps?
  • Where can you make the biggest impact?
  • What frameworks will you base your wellbeing pillars on?
  • Where will you focus investments first?

Co-creating Success

No company or leader has all the answers when it comes to making work a better fit for every employee. Truly embodying a wellbeing culture means involving your people at all levels of the planning, design and implementation of your program and culture change efforts.

Before you get started on your strategy or wellbeing program it’s essential that you check the pulse of your organisation and ask for feedback from your people.

By gaining clear insight and perspectives into the realities of your employee’s experience, you can create the foundations for flourishing by truly understanding what it is that your people need and want.

Give your people a voice and empower them to share their views openly. Make the process inclusive and accessible to everyone who wants to be involved. Gather your insights through a variety of channels; surveys, 1 to 1s, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), focus groups, forums, and team meetings.

Remember, one size doesn’t fit all - Understanding your people’s needs, emotions and drivers of behaviour are the foundations of a human-centred workplace.

Winning by Design

Designing a winning program that is tailored to meet the needs of your people means involving them in the selection of your wellbeing pillars and the initiatives and offerings that you will be running.

Engaging your people in the decision-making process and identifying the topics to focus on first and how best to deliver them will ensure maximum engagement and creates a sense of shared ownership and a failsafe pathway to cultivating a wellbeing culture.

Your people’s insights will give you the power to design meaningful, and effective wellbeing solutions that will meet the needs of the whole organisation and lay the foundations for your people and your business to excel.

Implementing Change

Transforming your wellbeing strategy into a successful programme requires a clear plan of action and a structured and consistent approach to embed wellbeing into your culture.

Make sure that you have clear deliverables and that you’re planning ahead of time, we recommend using frameworks of either 3/6/9/12 month blocks. It’s crucial that you work to achievable timelines and that the roll out is backed at all levels of your organisation particularly by your leadership teams to ensure success.

Once you roll out, make sure to keep your finger on the pulse of your organisation with regular check-ins to monitor progress and identify any challenges so that solutions can be found quickly to keep engagement and motivation up.

Communication is key

Getting your people engaged and motivated by your program and initiatives are the keys to achieving success. Be clear about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, be creative about how you communicate and make sure that you are aligning your messaging with your culture and values.

Let your people know what’s available and when things are happening in good time, how they can access offerings and where they can get involved.

Remember, there’s a delicate balance to how and when to communicate; be mindful of the downfalls of over and under communication. The last thing you want to do is sabotage your efforts and overwhelm or disengage your people.

Galvanising Changemakers

Create your own wellbeing champions community from the top-down to the bottom up and generate an authentic buzz that will breathe wellbeing into your culture and keep the conversation alive through day to day interactions across your organisation.

Leverage the power of your people who have a passion for wellbeing, and empower them to spread the message, promote your offerings, share knowledge, and engage their teams and peers to get involved.

Bring your program to life by getting your people directly involved, give them ownership, and empower them to help create the kind of culture that they have always wanted to be a part of.

Keeping up Momentum

Let’s be honest; cultivating your wellbeing culture won’t happen overnight or after one wellness month. Just like any desired change you will need to nurture and nourish all of your wellbeing efforts across the board from strategy to program delivery and how you celebrate successes to ensure that it flourishes.

Be structured and disciplined to keep momentum going and the energy increasing; if you don’t invest time, energy, and budget into nurturing your culture your efforts will soon fail fast. You’ll lose your people’s trust and motivation - ultimately leading to higher staff turnover.

Measuring Success

Forward thinking approaches to sustainable culture change mean identifying what success will look like and how you will measure it!

It’s vital that you measure the success of your initiatives so that you can benchmark progress and understand what’s working and what’s not so you can truly cultivate a culture that supports your people to flourish.

Assessing the impact and effectiveness of your offerings will not only demonstrate return on investment (ROI) but will guarantee the ultimate success of your program providing the insights you need to refine, develop, and keep on track.

Find out more about The Wellness Revolution by clicking here.


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