Many organizations spend a lot of time and money creating wellness programs to help improve the health of their participants. Although the efforts may be well-intentioned, they may not be well received… if you don’t first have a thriving workplace culture.
A healthy, flourishing organizational culture is critical for business and the bottom line; however, many organizations don’t focus enough attention to it, if any at all. A positive culture is also a necessary foundation for any worksite health and wellness initiatives to have a chance of succeeding. To illustrate the importance of a healthy culture, the eBook, “Six Questions that Make Creativity More Valuable Than $$$ When Planning Your Wellness Program,” poses this multiple-choice question for readers to answer:
Where would you rather work?
- A workplace with a traditional Cadillac wellness program but a bad boss in charge and all the work processes are dysfunctional.
- A workplace with a visionary boss and empowering functions and policies, but no wellness program.
So what is culture?
The term “culture” as it pertains to an organization is thrown around with the assumption that everyone knows what it means. However, most people wouldn’t be able to accurately describe the term. When most HR and wellness professionals describe “culture,” they are referring to:
- Communication practices
- Leadership behaviors
This description and the list of components is really the “climate” or according to Edgar Schein, PhD, the guru and leading researcher on corporate culture, the manifestations of the culture. Instead, Schein defines culture as “the hidden force that drives most of our behavior both inside and outside organizations.”
OK, so now that the definition of “culture” has been established, what does it mean to have a healthy one? According to Patrick Lencioni, renowned organizational consultant and author of “The Advantage,” a healthy organization is one in which there are:
- Minimal politics
- Minimal confusion
- High morale
- High productivity
- Low turnover
According to Rosie Ward and Jon Robison, authors of “How to Build a Thriving Culture at Work, Featuring the 7 Points of Transformation”,:
“From an organizational perspective, the potential benefits to the company from (wellness program) initiatives pale in comparison to the benefits of creating an environment where politics and confusion are minimal, relationships and open communication are cherished, and employees are intrinsically motivated to come to the workplace and be involved in something larger than themselves, something that contributes meaning and purpose to their lives.”
Instead of introducing a new weight-loss challenge or holding a biometric screening, you may want to first consider improving your employees’ everyday work experiences by building a thriving workplace culture focused on individual and organizational wellbeing.
Also download this FREE tip sheet: 14 Characteristics of a Thriving Workplace