3 Steps for Creating a Culture of Employee Well-Being

What steps can you take to create a culture of employee well-being in your organisation? With these three expert-recommended actions, you can bring greater emotional health to your employees – and your organisation.

1. Practise and strengthen your emotional fitness skills.

“Emotional fitness is the skill of cultivating a more supportive relationship with yourself, your thoughts, your emotions and other people,” noted Nataly Kogan, founder and CEO at Happier, Inc. “It’s about learning how to embrace the challenges and the uncertainty that come our way and support ourselves to help us move through them with less struggle.”

According to Nataly, there are five core skills that can help humans build and strengthen their emotional health during times of challenge and uncertainty: Acceptance, gratitude, self-care, intentional kindness and a sense of purpose. By practising these skills, you can become emotionally heathier for yourself, your team and your organisation.

2. Train your brain to improve psychological well-being and performance success.

“One very common reason people would like to train their minds is to combat stress,” observed Dr. Amishi Jha, neuroscientist and professor at the University of Miami. “When we think about stress, we must keep in mind that it has many terrible effects on the body.” But, she adds, “it’s not just the body that gets compromised and degraded as a function of stress. It’s actually the mind, and in particular, the brain’s attention system.”

Why is that important? “We use attention for almost every single thing we do,” she noted. “Attention is not just for our cognitive functioning. We need our attention to feel well.” Not only does attention help with thinking and feeling, it also helps with connecting: “Our direct interpersonal connection with each other, our ability to communicate with one another, and – probably most important in the context of the professional or workplace setting – our ability to lead requires our attention.” Dr. Jha identifies three subsystems of attention:

  • Focus – Directing attention toward certain things to get more stimulation from the input in our environment. “We can direct it to our thoughts, our feelings, our interpretations of the behaviours and intentions of other people.”
  • Caution – Ensuring your attention is primed and ready to engage, so that in the moment it’s needed, you can instantly deploy it and use it to keep you healthy and others around you safe.
  • Juggling – Also called the “executive system attention” or “central executive,” juggling ensures that “leadership is guiding and overseeing all of the different processes that must go on to make sure that the behaviour of the people that will engage in those goals will do it appropriately.”

By practicing these skills, employees can optimise their performance, functioning and psychological well-being.

3. Build relationships.

According to Jen Fisher, chief well-being officer at Deloitte, and her colleague, global CEO research director Anh Phillips, relationships have the biggest impact on health and wellbeing. “More than money, more than fame. [Relationships] are critical to our mental and physical health, happiness and longevity,” noted Jen.

So what does this have to do with the workplace? According to Jen, because we spend so much of our waking hours at work, “the workplace is a critical place for developing the meaningful connections we all need to thrive.” However, many workplace cultures are lacking an emphasis on relationship-building.

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The ideal workplace is a “trusted team” that values both strong relationships and individual well-being explains Anh. “It means diverse types of people working together without forcing conformity and genuinely caring about each other. People in these teams give and receive respect from their colleagues at all levels of the organisation.”

Want to learn more ways to build a culture of employee well-being at your organisation? Download this free guide now