6 Important Steps in Creating a Culture of Health
July 30, 2020 | Lynn Kooker MS, CHES®
Employee wellbeing programs are gaining popularity year over year for good reason—engaged employees are more productive, have higher commitment to the company and are less likely to leave. Creating a “culture of health” to elevate employee wellbeing does not happen overnight, but there are some things you can do now to get started in the right direction.
- Get feedback from employees. Happy employees are productive employees. But what makes them happy? Sure, good pay and benefits are the obvious answer, but do you really know what else your employees want? Don’t try and guess, just ask them. Using a simple survey via SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo you can gain valuable information about how your employees feel about the current culture and what is important to them.
- Conduct a workspace audit. A person’s workspace is a critical component of the workplace culture. Let’s face it, this is where employees spend 40 or more hours a week (often more time than with family!). If the lighting is poor, the workspace is too small, there is too much noise, etc., this could lead to distractions, frustrations and even physical ailments. Taking the time to understand what space works best for employees can have big payoffs in culture and productivity.
- Policies review. Adding policies that encourage employee wellbeing can make a big impact on creating a culture of health. For example, adding a flexible schedule policy allows for employees to manage family responsibilities without sacrificing work time. Or allowing employees to conduct walking meetings rather than staying inside the office can make meetings more enjoyable and allow for some physical activity during the day. Even small changes in policies can be extremely important to employees.
- Create mission and vision statements. This may sound fluffy, but it is a critical component in creating a health worksite culture. Employees like to know that they are working for a cause, a mission. Having a clearly stated company mission gives employees a feeling of purpose and a part of the company success. Partner that with a statement of company values that employees can use to guide their work, and change starts to happen quickly.
- Leadership buy-in. All these things sound great on paper, but if leadership is not on board, the culture building stalls. Leadership must not only embrace the culture initiatives, but also live them, speak of them often and praise employees for being a part of building the culture.
- Create a strategy. Building a healthy culture is not like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Do your homework, determine what the employee and business needs are, and create a thoughtful strategy to reach your culture goals. Be sure not to collapse culture building efforts. Then, implement the strategy and dedicate a team to lead the efforts.
Even if you implement step one for now and focus on making changes based on the survey outcomes, your company will reap big benefits simply by understanding more about your employee population. Simple steps, big rewards.
Lynn Kooker MS, CHES® is vice president, human resources & wellness at Focus OneSource. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.