Once again, WorldatWork is partnering with Virgin Pulse as a proud sponsor of Employee Wellbeing Month. In its ninth year, the annual initiative aims to place a spotlight on the workplace’s role in establishing a company culture that helps create and support the overall health and wellbeing of employees, while at the same time driving employee productivity, satisfaction and engagement.
As wellness has morphed into the broader concept of wellbeing in the past several years, supporting employee wellbeing has become an organizational priority. Total wellbeing, or an individual’s optimal state of contentment in most areas of life, has evolved from a focus on physical health to include several areas. There is a realization that a person’s entire self is comprised of more than the physical, and these other elements greatly affect an individual’s performance and level of productivity on the job.
Individuals with a greater sense of wellbeing typically experience optimal physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual health. Establishing a healthy workplace culture improves employee health, lowers health-care costs, reduces turnover and drives employee engagement according to a WorldatWork survey, “Total Rewards and Employee Wellbeing Practices“.
Although there is no uniform definition on wellbeing, many agree that the following components make up wellbeing. Regardless of how individuals and organizations define them, it is critically important to recognize and call out the interdependencies between all of these pillars. Wellbeing programs aim to address all the potential stressors in an employee’s life.
Mental/Emotional – includes the ability to recognize, accept and express one’s emotions appropriately and comfortably in a variety of situations, to be aware of and respond to others’ emotions, as well as to show affection and respect to others.
Financial – the ability to manage one’s finances in a sound fashion, both in the short and long term. Financial wellbeing programs offer an array of financial planning tools that help individuals better manage their money, offering individuals access to resources on budgeting, managing debt and cash flow, savings and investments, and a variety of other topics to assist individuals with their financial goals and needs.
- Spiritual– the ability to search for, articulate and act on one’s basic purpose, direction and meaning in life. This includes establishing one’s beliefs, values, principles and moral and ethical judgment.
Physical – the ability to behave in ways that enhance one’s physical fitness. This includes eating properly, being free from chemical dependency and other harmful behavior, getting adequate exercise, balancing rest and work, choosing nutritious foods, maintaining a normal weight and developing a positive lifestyle and habits.
Wellbeing elements are the currency of a life that matters. They do not include every nuance of what’s important in life, but they do represent five broad categories that are essential to most people.
Workplace wellness programs are broadening their scope and focusing on “the whole person.” By taking a broader, more holistic and integrated approach, organizations support employees in their efforts to manage both their work and their personal responsibilities and goals. When this occurs, employees feel like their employers really care about them. And when that occurs, company loyalty and business results are often generated.
The journey from wellbeing’s position as initiatives that focus on lowering health-care costs toward creating a workplace environment and culture that is health conscious, begins by acknowledging that a healthy workforce has business value. Establishing and embracing a culture of wellbeing is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also very good for business.
Where is your company on the wellbeing continuum? Just because Employee Wellbeing Month is celebrated once per year, it doesn’t mean that organizations should end their efforts to address employees’ overall wellbeing, and promote a great place to work. Let’s celebrate employee wellbeing all year long!
Join WorldatWork on June 28 for a Facebook Live event. We will discuss wellbeing and its many components.
Lenny Sanicola, CCP, CBP, GRP, CEBS. SPHR. SHRM-SCP, Senior Practice Leader