Corporate Wellness: Why Leaders Should Commit to a Healthy Culture

A simple framework to make wellness actionable in your organization.

by Kathleen Fox

Senior Manager, Health and Wellbeing at Mars

One essential component of building and growing a workplace culture that often gets forgotten is wellness programming. A candidate-driven job market allows prospective employees to look for workplaces that they feel align with their personal priorities and passions. In such environments, the lack of wellness initiatives can be a critical misstep when looking to attract and retain top talent.

For Jason Morgan, senior manager of health and wellbeing at Mars, corporate wellness initiatives have historically fallen short, especially when it comes to developing programs that are tailored to a specific atmosphere, location, and culture. Morgan says wellness begins at the company level. organizations must prioritize health programs and integrate them into the core of the culture, environment, and leadership to see success.

Prior to his work at Mars, Morgan developed a multipronged wellness program as director of global health and wellness at GE Healthcare. His team created a four-pillar approach to wellness that included physical, spiritual, emotional, and social programming.

Physical: Add simple physical activities into the fabric of the company, such as offering yoga classes during lunch or allowing time for employees to get outside at least once per day. At GE Healthcare, the larger locations have on-site fitness centers and those with 100 or more employees have an in-house wellness champion.

Spiritual: Have managers ask their employees, “what they are passionate about” or “what energizes them” to create productive conversations around your staff’s spiritual beliefs. It’s important to foster open and honest relationships company-wide.

Emotional: Resilience and mindfulness are key elements to strong emotional health, especially in times of high stress or when faced with a difficult situation. It’s key for managers to remain aware and engaged to help identify these times and respond appropriately.

Social: Place equal importance on installing and maintaining healthy relationships both personally and professionally. Employees should know they have the full support of management both inside and outside the workplace.

Morgan advises that a one-size-fits all approach rarely works. Successful wellness program take local conditions into context to meet the needs of employees in a specific city or climate. And ultimately, wellness takes leaders who are engaged with their employees through personal meetings, employee surveys, and social activities.

For insightful wellness tips, check out American Healthcare Leader’s Idea Chain that answers the question, “Name one simple change your company can do to promote wellness in the office?” Morgan and three other executives offer quick, actionable advice to move wellness forward in your organization.