04 Mar The Behaviors and Symbols of Wellbeing Initiative Planning
Two imminent issues plaguing the working world in this day and age are the issues of the phenomenon of burnout among the youth in today’s workforce due to a combination of financial, academic, and social pressures, and from the employers’ end, the matter of the difficulty of talent retention. At the intersection of the two issues is our solution: investment in a worker’s wellbeing. An employee whose wellbeing is guaranteed, or at least improved by the efforts of their organization or employer will be more engaged and therefore more productive, and initiatives that lead to the employee having a better work-life balance and health, which will reduce the instance of burnout amongst the youngest members of the workforce, and will improve your company’s employer brand, making it easier for your organization to attract as well as retain employees, who, with the wellbeing initiatives in place, will find themselves feeling more appreciated, engaged, as well as feel that they’re in a workplace in which their employers truly value them as people, not just for their productive capacity.
Our interest in this topic is derived from our belief in the importance of developing and engaging with our people for the betterment of overall work culture, which led to our efforts in conducting research alongside academics in order to improve wellbeing in the workplace within the corporate world of Indonesia.
What we first had to do was to define what wellbeing was in its entirety. Wellbeing encompasses more than just a person’s physical health; whether they were eating a balanced diet, whether they were getting a regular amount of exercise, and in fact encapsulated the additional aspects of both psychological wellbeing, or one’s happiness, and social wellbeing, i.e the quality of one’s relationships with the people and communities around them. With a more well-rounded understanding of wellbeing in hand, a more effective workplace wellbeing program could be planned.
To change your organization’s culture into one that places its people’s wellbeing higher on its list of priorities, one would think that instilling systems that increase a person’s wellbeing would be the more obvious route, i.e. team exercise initiatives, or increase the healthy options within your office cafeteria. While team exercise programs can have the added benefit of increasing your workers’ happiness as well as improve the social atmosphere of the workplace, they mostly target improving your workers’ physical wellbeing, and those resistant to the change in culture will require a subtler approach.
This is where symbols and behaviors come into play.
As top management, the various project leaders, managers, and those that compose top management are the most visible people in the organization. Should they take in the culture of wellbeing into the core of their values, their example will spread throughout the rest of your organization. When top management promotes a culture of eating a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise, the rest of this organization will see these actions as traits to be emulated, and soon the company’s brand will begin to manifest traits of wellbeing. Managers and project leaders can do their part in improving the workplace’s wellbeing culture by being leaders who prioritize successful teamwork rather than highest achievement at the expense of the bonds of the team.
With the aspect of wellbeing alone, we can see that it requires the combination of use of behaviors and symbols, not just systems, to create a more comprehensive change of culture, and highlights the importance of displaying agility in the use of all the methods at your disposal to create the culture change that you seek in your organization.