Defining Wellness to Support the Whole Employee

August 07, 2019
Inside HR
Health & Wellness
Read time: 3 mins

In recent years, the wellness industry has been seeing a shift of creating programs focused on “health” to crafting “wellbeing” strategies in a more inclusive and holistic approach. But what does it really mean to support the “whole” employee?

A good place to start is to define what “wellness” and/or “wellbeing” means to your organization. You will find these terms defined in a multitude of ways, but the common theme is that wellness is a layered and multi-dimensional concept that taps into people’s potential to thrive in all aspects of life. The key questions to ask: How does your organization define it? What pillars or categories are most important to your leaders? Is wellness embedded in your company’s vision, mission, and values? Does it connect with the overall business strategy?

Some definitions to consider:

  • Definition of Wellness (WELCOA)
    • The active pursuit to understand and fulfill your individual human needs--which allows you to reach a state where you are flourishing and able to realize your full potential in all aspects of life.
    • Health, Meaning, Safety, Connection, Achievement, Growth, Resiliency
  • 5 Elements of Well-Being (Gallup)
    • Career, Social, Financial, Physical, Community
  • 6 Dimensions of Wellness (National Wellness Institute)
    • Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.
    • Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, Emotional, Occupational

With guidance from your organization’s definition of wellness, how are the initiatives, resources, and policies within your organization supporting its employees’ wellbeing?  A few examples are provided below:

  • In collaboration with the scheduling department and floor managers, production employees get an extra break each week to utilize the on-site clinic to visit with the physical therapist.
  • Employees are encouraged to participate in a mentorship program to provide skills and foster autonomy to move up in their role, or expand their skillset in other areas of the company.  
  • Company-wide volunteering opportunities can not only strengthen relationships among colleagues, but also provide connections with the local community.
  • An organization valuing mental wellness and resiliency may fund employees to receive peer support training so they can be facilitators to talk with colleagues about high-stress experiences, struggles, and challenges.
  • A company that values compassion and empathy might provide paid family leave and bereavement leave policies to support employees during time of loss.
In what ways can your organization support employees in multiple aspects of their life?

As employee wellness continues to evolve into an organizational culture movement, there is a remarkable opportunity to think more expansively about what wellness is and how you can support your people to flourish. 

Find out more by attending WCWI’s 29th Annual Employee Wellbeing Conference: Designing Places Where People Flourish on September 12, 2019! This year’s conference agenda will explore topics such as: engaging committed leadership, social connectedness, organizational resilience, mental wellness, financial insecurity, and inclusive opportunities to support wellness for the whole person. Sign up today! Registration ends August 16, 2019.

Source: Angeline Day, MPH, CHES, Program Manager, Wellness Council of Wisconsin