Does Your Workplace Wellbeing Strategy Need Stepping Up?

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4 Steps To LEAD Wellbeing In Your Workplace

As many workplaces struggle to find the workers they need, never has the case for caring for wellbeing been stronger. In fact, the increased awareness of the impact worker wellbeing has on business performance, operational resiliency, and sustainability has led the World Economic Forum to establish a community of Chief Health Officers (CHOs) to help workplaces share best practices.

But why are companies suddenly appointing more Chief Health Officers?

Internationally acclaimed wellbeing researcher, Dr. Felicia Huppert explains that wellbeing is our ability to feel good and to function effectively as we navigate the natural highs and lows of work and life. The World Health Organization notes that it is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

And if you think about what you were able to achieve the last time you went to work really feeling well, it won’t surprise you to learn that studies have found workplaces with higher levels of worker wellbeing are more likely to report:

Researchers have found that for every dollar spent on improving wellbeing in workplaces there is, on average, a $2.30 positive return on their investment. However, realizing this kind of benefit requires more than one-off workplace wellbeing tactics which is why workplaces are suddenly hiring more Chief Health Officers or Wellbeing Leaders who can bring a more strategic and systems-led approach to caring for wellbeing.

So, do you have a workplace wellbeing strategy, and is it really delivering the desired results?

Because our wellbeing habits, attitudes, and actions spread through a complicated web of social connections around us, Dr. Aaron Jarden from The University of Melbourne’s Center for Wellbeing Science recommends wellbeing strategies address the “Me” (individuals), “We” (leaders and teams) and “Us” (your whole workplace) needs of your organization. In our research and work with hundreds of workplaces around the world we’ve found that your strategy can LEAD the way by prioritizing:

  • Literacy — Wellbeing researcher Professor Lindsey Oades explains that having a shared language for wellbeing enables people to have conversations that can positively impact their thoughts, feelings, and actions about caring for their wellbeing. How do you talk about wellbeing in your workplace? Does it give people permission for thriving and struggle, both of which are normal and healthy aspects of being well?
  • Evaluation — The grandfather of wellbeing research Professor Martin Seligman suggests that if there was only one investment your workplace made in caring for wellbeing, it should be to measure it and share the results. Data-driven insights give your leaders and teams the power to find local, meaningful, and effective solutions for the wellbeing challenges and opportunities they face. How do you measure wellbeing in your workplace? Do you use your data insights to spark conversations and individual and collective actions to care for wellbeing at the ‘Me’, ‘We’, and ‘Us’ levels?
  • Activation — Distinguished Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky notes that no one magic wellbeing strategy will help every person to be well. By providing workers with an evidence-based ‘Me’, ‘We’ and ‘Us’ toolkit and giving them the freedom to experiment with the wellbeing behaviors that align with their needs, values, resources, and desired outcomes workplace wellbeing investments are likely to be far more effective and sustainable. Does your workplace have evidence-based Me’, ‘We’, and ‘Us’ wellbeing toolkits? How do you encourage workers to actively experiment with these tools?
  • Determination — Caring for wellbeing is never ‘won-and-done’, rather it demands tiny, daily wellbeing behaviors that can be adapted to different contexts. Harvard Leadership Professor Amy Edmondson explains that behaviors that require this kind of determination and ongoing learning are easier to sustain when people have psychologically safe spaces to share their efforts with others. Does your workplace create safe spaces for people to share what’s working well, where they’re struggling, and what they’re learning about caring for wellbeing in your workplace at the ‘Me’, ‘We’, and ‘Us’ levels?

How is your workplace wellbeing strategy LEADing the way? What are the changes you might need to make this year to step it up and meet the changing needs and expectations of your workers when it comes to caring for wellbeing?

For more workplace wellbeing tips, come and join our conversation on LinkedIn.

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Michelle McQuaid

Michelle McQuaid

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