Investing in an Organizational Culture of Well-Being

January 2022
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The new year is a natural time for employees to evaluate where they’re at in life and career and to reset personal and professional goals. That also makes the new year an ideal time for organizations to focus on creating a culture rooted in well-being, with the policies, tools and support employees need to start the year strong. 

Investing in a culture of holistic well-being is especially important in 2022 to build the resiliency and support that will help manage employee burnout and minimize turnover.

Create a new culture.

Employees during the pandemic have experienced elevated levels of stress, anxiety and burnout. A 2021 Indeed survey indicates employee burnout has worsened over the last year with more than half of respondents feeling burned out and more than two-thirds feeling burnout has worsened throughout the pandemic. 

But employees aren’t just leaving their jobs because of burnout. Two other driving factors behind the Great Resignation are lack of flexibility and not feeling valued by employers, which are cited as reasons for leaving jobs, according to Limeade. The antidote to these types of challenges is a strong culture that supports employee well-being.

Creating an organizational culture that incorporates well-being isn’t a one-time investment. It requires continual attention — especially now. If your organization hasn’t built a culture centered on employee well-being, then now is the time to nurture it in a thoughtful, wholehearted and authentic way. 

This shift can help provide the resilience needed for today and the foundation required to evolve and grow into the future. Making organizational culture a priority — both during and after challenging times — is good for employees, and it’s good for business. 

Listen to employees, then take action.

Every organization can transform their culture and ensure it’s rooted in well-being. Leaders can start by proactively listening to what their employees want and need — and then take quick action on that input. 

Listening and acting build trust, strengthen connections and improve emotional well-being. Cultures rooted in high levels of trust and respect are more easily able to navigate challenges and evolve.

Regularly checking in with employees through pulse surveys is a key way to monitor engagement, identify gaps and opportunities, and keep connections and culture strong — especially when some or all employees are working remotely. 

Pulse surveys provide valuable insights into how employees are managing through waves of change and what is needed to support them. These surveys can provide feedback on how employees are feeling, identify what’s working and what’s not, and uncover ideas to support the business and people. Organizations must quickly implement this feedback into their HR policies, healthcare offerings, well-being, DEI and professional development programs, and more.

Provide mental health care, resources and support

In addition to listening to and acting on employee input and needs, doing a thorough evaluation of health care coverage, organizational policies and other practices to ensure they optimally support a culture of well-being is another key step for optimizing organizational culture.

Offering excellent mental health care coverage and providing access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are critical first steps in addressing rising employee burnout and stress.

Beyond offering mental health coverage, regularly talking about mental health and frequently sharing information, tools and resources with employees helps integrate wellness into the organization and deepens connections and trust. 

Organizations can increase mental health awareness and provide support in the workplace by: 

  • Sharing mental health and burnout information and resources on a regular basis 
  • Showcasing health care coverage benefits and resources proactively 
  • Integrating mental health into wellness programs through speakers, webinars and readings 
  • Training managers to regularly check in with employees — especially if employees are showing signs of stress or struggle
  • Encouraging employees to take PTO to reset, refresh and better proactively manage stress
  • Connecting one-on-one more frequently, whether in person or remotely, to see how employees are doing personally and professionally 
  • Addressing HR policies and staffing decisions that impact employee scheduling and flexibility, and ensuring employees are working reasonable hours on a weekly and monthly basis

Employees who are supported to invest in their overall health and well-being are physically stronger, mentally more focused and emotionally more secure. This gives them the foundation to communicate more effectively, manage conflict more easily, establish healthier relationships, and set clearer boundaries.

Realign culture to values.

New research from nonprofit Mindshare Partners’ 2021 Mental Health at Work report indicates the Great Resignation is fundamentally rooted in a broken culture of work and declining mental health should be viewed as a symptom of these broken cultures. Having strong mental health coverage, more effective HR and staffing policies, and holistic wellness programs are critical to addressing these symptoms. 

However, realigning organizational cultures with values is equally as important for addressing employee engagement, turnover and satisfaction long-term.

Values are what an organization believes and the behaviors it agrees to embody. If your organization’s values and your policies, behaviors and culture don’t align, employees will feel that disconnection. 

Consider how your organization can activate its values to meet employees’ needs, offer more flexibility and demonstrate deeper appreciation to create a more authentic and supportive culture that helps employees grow and thrive personally and professionally. 

Return to Current Issue Navigating the Year Ahead | January 2022
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