My first real ‘career’ job was working for a life insurance company in Hartford Connecticut. Given that it was my first job, I didn’t have any base for comparison. I had only worked for very small companies not a large company such as this one, which had 1,800 employees in the home office. There were many amenities in the home office, including a cafeteria, on-site clinic offering free dental screenings, a bowling alley, showers, squash and volleyball courts. Given that I was so young, I figured all big businesses must offer these amenities. I ended up staying at this company for nine years. Had I not relocated to a different state, I might still be working there. It was a “great place to work”, long before this became a standard recognition in the workplace.
This company worked hard at taking care of their employees, and fostering a sense of support and caring in the workplace. They were doing this for decades before this was an accepted business practice.
The company succeeded at creating a “culture of well-being” in the workplace. Every organization has a culture. I recently asked a CEO with whom I was meeting to describe the culture in his workplace. He asked, “What do you mean by culture?” My response was “Tell me what it means to you”. He proceeded to show me a presentation on the values of the organization.
The culture of a workplace can best be defined as the values, beliefs and assumptions that exist within the organization. Culture emanates from the shared experiences of the individuals within the organization and becomes the identity of the organization.
A culture of well-being refers to the ways an organization values and supports the well-being of the employees. This begins with recognizing that the whole person shows up at work and that the whole person needs to be supported. In a previous blog posting, we define well-being as having five dimensions (energy, money, purpose, social, community).
A culture of well-being in the workplace supports each of these dimensions so that employees can bring their best selves to work, be focused on and committed to the goals of the organization, and feel a sense of belonging. When employees bring their best selves to work, they are more productive, engaged, and less likely to leave. Ultimately that results in a healthier business and higher profit margins.
Mari Ryan, MBA, MHP, CWWPC, CWP