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"Culture of Wellness" - Buzz Words?

Written by Toni Sperlbaum

“Culture of Wellness” could be called a Buzz Term in the world of corporate wellness, as it is used a lot.  Don’t get me wrong – culture is VERY important to the success of a wellness program an.  But what are we really talking about when we discuss “Culture of Wellness”?

The first place we tend to look is the environment.  Do you have signs/posters with health tips or motivating messages?  Do you have stairs that are well lit and easily accessible?  Do you provide healthy options in your cafeteria or provide free or low cost healthy snacks in your vending machines?  Do you provide fun and engaging activities to support employees in their quest for wellness?  All of these are important and while they DO contribute to the culture, THERE’S MORE TO THE STORY!

Culture also includes employee morale – finding meaning and purpose in their jobs.  With millennials making up 70% of the workforce in the next 10 years, this is an incredibly important focus, since millennials are demanding more and more that they are clear on their roles and how those roles provide value within the organization.  Creating a focus on self-care and consumerism is a step all successful wellness programs should take to move in this direction.

Who cares if a workplace has health food and a fitness center if employees are being worked to death?   Oftentimes, when designing a wellness program, we tend to think “how can we get employees to lose weight?  How can we get them to stop smoking?”  I encourage a focus shift to “How can we create conditions to motivate employees to __________”.  We need to be designing our programs FOR or WITH employees, rather than doing something TO them, and they need to view it that way.  People only support what they help create – I challenge you and all of us to refocus on the employee experience.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do…”  – Steve Jobs

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