Your culture needs to support well-being improvement
By: Mady Peterson
Culture tells employees what’s acceptable — so it needs to visibly (and authentically) demonstrate support for employee well-being improvement through policies and programs.
When most people think about culture, they focus on tangible, surface-level perks and policies: like dress code, the framed mission statement in the lobby and the presence or absence of ping-pong tables in the office. But while these may be extensions of culture, they don’t define it — and they certainly don’t create it.
Instead, culture is the collective values, norms and beliefs of the organization — also known as “how things are done around here.” It’s the backdrop for everything that happens at a company and the day-to-day experiences. But it’s unseen — it’s not written down.
Since culture shapes employee behavior, it dictates whether participation in and commitment to well-being improvement is important and valued. Cultural alignment is critical to well-being improvement.
6 ways your culture can support well-being improvement:
1. Foster trust
Creating trust is complex — you don’t want to force it. Encourage employees to prioritize well-being by setting a great example. Connect the dots to show them it’s okay, even expected, to work on their well-being.
2. Build well-being measures into corporate policies
When you consider the whole employee — their health, well-being and performance — you’re acknowledging that what happens in one part of a person’s life affects every other part of their life. Allow employees to have flexibility in their schedules. Remember that employees’ work and personal lives are intertwined and leverage this through encouraging stress relief breaks or time off to recharge.
Leaders help highlight and define the value of well-being improvement with their personal examples and reinforcement. HR can do a lot to operationalize that by encouraging leaders to model positive behavior through everyday actions, creating team challenges with division leaders as captains or sharing personal well-being stories from executives.
6. Conduct an audit
An audit can help you understand how ready your organization is to support well-being. You need to recognize your cultural strengths and obstacles. Cultural attributes — like trust, flexibility and learning orientation — can inhibit or solidify an employee’s ability to truly feel support from the organization.
People need organizational support to improve their personal well-being. Is your organization ready to show your employees you care?