Sparking a Wellness-Minded Culture
A corporation's cultural climate can be an excellent indicator to the health and longevity of that organization. It affects the moods, productivity, turnover rate, and overall bottom line. Thankfully, more and more corporations are recognizing that healthier employees translate into happier and more productive employees. With this recognition, the desire to see a more wellness-oriented corporate culture is sparked.
Unfortunately, it is not always a large enough spark to set the stage for change. Thankfully, all it takes is a willing environment and one person to champion over the effort. As corporate wellness professionals, it is important that we influence and encourage a culture that lends itself to the development of positive behaviors from each individual in the organization.
If you are a wellness professional, currently employed by an organization; the placement of you within the structure of the company can lead us to assume that at minimum, the management sees the value in wellness programming and therefore you are already in a willing and open cultural environment which will be more open to change.
Keep in mind that our presence alone does not mean there is an active culture of wellness - it simply means that the first step to a healthy corporate culture has been made. If you are an employee within an organization that has no standing wellness program, do not be discouraged, you are still able to influence change and become a catalyst for creating a wellness-minded corporate culture.
Change in corporate culture can start with one person. You can become that wellness champion starting the wave of influencing others to become the best versions of themselves. Creating a wellness-oriented corporate climate will be specific to your corporate culture but should maintain the principle foundation of enabling and encouraging positive behavior of employees to develop themselves not only professionally but in all dimensions of wellness.
Your practices will vary depending on resources available and the existing culture - but early on it is important to create and maintain a set of foundational principles upon which you can build your program. With the Wellness Works program at Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD (RCL), we use an eight dimension model as the basis for our program.
The eight dimensions we focus on are: vocational, emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, global, social and financial. These dimensions are presented to the employees in a wheel format so that a visual goal of maintaining a balance is displayed. This visual model was chosen to be the most in line with our definition of wellness: an approach to life with the understanding that the greatest happiness can be achieved with balance; consistently striving to become the best version of yourself in all areas of wellness.
There are other models of the wellness wheel that show a six and even four components only. While the eight dimension model was the one which we selected for my company, there is no model that is better than another, just the one that will best suit your organization's needs. Partner with the human resources department to find the corporate values, mission and vision statements and make sure that the foundation for your wellness program is in line with those values.
By creating a partnership, and wellness goals which are in line with your corporation's existing values, you will find the transition to a more wellness-minded culture more fluid. Once you establish a foundation; keep the momentum of your plan going! In order to do this at RCL we have formed a committee where programs and events are planned with members who maintain active involvement and encourage development of all dimensions.
The process of developing a basis for programming, for our company, was a collaborative effort among our wellness staff, human resources, and some of our facilities department's staff. These departments are still actively participating in the ongoing evolution of the program in all our locations nationwide. As you cast your vision and create a foundation for your program, encourage the contributions of other employees and departments.
By having involvement in the planning process you are able to create a program that takes into consideration the values and beliefs of your colleagues. Getting the input of your colleagues after you have researched the values of the company will give you a good gauge for the current climate; which will ensure a stronger foundation. The creation and initial stages of a wellness-minded culture in the workplace can be a hard road at times.
So don't forget the buddy system, difficult trails are best travelled with a partner. Change starts with one person, and spreads to others; In the process of making change influence the people around you through consistent and positive action. Then you can educate and inspire the shift to a more wellness-minded culture.Influencing a culture to change and maintaining your initial program's vision and implementation is a never-ending growth process.
As your corporation grows, leadership and employees change, you will have to adjust your wellness programming accordingly. If you wish to maintain a long-standing program, having an openness to change and try new methods while maintaining consistent principles is important. Just as corporations have life cycles, so do the programs which influence the culture and a wellness program can become a large contributor to the culture of a corporation.
You may have to find that you need to reinvent or revisit the initial programs developed to change and improve them so that you gain greater visibility and participation. For example, we are currently utilizing the existing tools found in social media outlets to promote and engage employees of RCL with our Wellness Works program.
By doing this we are able to connect to our population in a more readily available way with 24/7 access. This is an enhancement to existing programs and already has opened a great new stream for communications and ideas. The initial communication and information sharing medium from Wellness Works started with a wellness library located in each of our buildings which is still up and available.
This enhancement of information sharing is a great growth example which shows how our program has changed over time. The truth that it is never too late to introduce and implement positive change for an individual also holds true for a corporate culture, step out and ignite the flame.