Employees are the heart and engine of organizations. When they feel good, they do good work. “Feeling good” is another way to say having positive well-being. Individual well-being refers to a holistic whole-of-life experience that includes multiple dimensions, including our motivations and sense of purpose; our resource levels in terms of time, finances, and energy; our mind; our body; and our human connections or social well-being. These dimensions are both transient, changing regularly as we live our lives, and interconnected with each other. They collectively determine how good we feel, which means focusing on one facet in isolation will not necessarily result in overall positive well-being. For instance, when we have a sense of purpose, it gives us energy to invest in building a strong mind, body, and relationships to take care of ourselves and live life to the fullest. Alternatively, if we are struggling with one facet of our well-being, such as managing our financial stability, it often causes us to “pull back” from other investments like our physical health and personal relationships.
While employees have personal well-being as individuals, organizations have a kind of well-being too. Organizational well-being culture refers to how well a company creates an environment that enables employees to thrive. It is about making well-being a true cultural value. This starts with integrating employee well-being into the company’s purpose and business strategy. Well-being should not be treated as a separate “benefit” or “initiative.” It should be a core part of how the company functions and be given the same level of importance as other cultural values that reflect more traditional business topics such as customer service, profitability, or achieving results.
Companies with positive well-being cultures implement programs, practices, and support mechanisms that take well-being into consideration as a core part of business operations, not as an afterthought or activity to do if they have extra time. This includes ensuring that company leaders role model investing in their own personal well-being and convey that taking care of oneself is not only permitted but also endorsed as part of what it means to be successful.