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Employee wellness often overlooked (but important) part of people strategy

I've noticed and ongoing shift in workplaces to focus on supporting employee wellness. People can't just separate work self from actual self - the whole person comes to work.

Many organizations offer an employee assistance program, improved coverage, flexible PTO, wellness programming, etc. Having happy, supported employees is integral to having a more productive workplace.

What are other companies doing to encourage employee wellness? How does it enhance their people strategy?


  • Companies that recognize the concept of Whole Person and actively work to enable their team members to be themselves will rise to the top. Encouraging movement everyday through an actual exercise space in the office building, providing well balanced meal options, encouraging team social engagement throughout the work day are some of the day-to-day at work efforts I've seen companies make. Such a great space for improvement I look forward to seeing what companies continue to do in the future!

    Great topic to bring awareness to @Caraline Winch

  • @[email protected] I love the idea of encouraging social engagement. I think sometimes employees/teams can be siloed off from the rest of the company depending on work responsibilities/location. I think bridging those gaps with social opportunities helps people connect with one another and have an office ally. I'd love to see what companies are doing to encourage this for remote employees too.

    Other methods I've seen are more pop-up events like surprising employees by providing breakfast/lunch, bringing in meditation coaches, and sending out reminders about employee resources.

  • This is a great question! I think employee wellness might function both as a people strategy AND a business strategy. In the late 1970’s, companies were thinking of business strategies as solutions to just three problem types: entrepreneurial, engineering, and administrative problems. But beginning in the 1980’s, there became evidence of a fourth problem type: employee commitment. It can further be argued that companies who are not focusing on the other problem types are focused internally on the development of their talent assets, paving the way for future campaigns in other strategy areas.

    This argument is evidenced by an array of talent strategy literature, which focuses on developing, supporting, or rewarding employees to help build morale, loyalty, commitment, or a sense of shared values, not as a means to an end, but as an actual separate class of strategies that benefit both their people strategy and their business strategy. There is evidence to suggest that improved relationships with people may itself be a competitive posture for a company to take. For example, consider the definition of “social enterprise” proposed by Agarwal, Bersin, Lahiri, Schwartz, and Volini in 2018:

    “[An] organization whose mission combines revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network . . . It is an organization that shoulders its responsibility to be a good citizen (both inside and outside the organizations), serving as a role model for its peers and promoting a high degree of collaboration at every level of the organization.”

    To highlight the growing focus on employee well-being as a business strategy, consider this: in a 2018 study of 350 executive leaders around the globe, Deloitte found that 65% of respondents identified inclusive growth as one of their top three strategic needs. Based on these results, Agarwal et al. argued that investing in employee well-being held business value in terms of company reputation, employee retention, recruitment, engagement, and customer loyalty. In particular, they discussed the idea of employee well-being as its own strategic outcome and cited evidence that these strategies helped improve employee performance and employee commitment.

    This plays out in practice, with many large, innovative technology companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon investing in employee well-being and commitment as a form of business strategy. For example, in a 2014 paper, Bock described a study of 4,000 Google employees, which was built to determine “how to improve well-being, how to cultivate better leaders, how to keep Googlers engaged for longer periods of time, how happiness impacts work and how work impacts happiness” In a 2018 interview with Oswald, Proto, and Sgroi, Krapivin reported that Google’s investments in its people have improved employee satisfaction by 37%. In laboratory experiments with samples of university students in 2009, Oswald, Proto, and Sgroi demonstrated that higher employee happiness was associated with a 12% increase in productivity. In 2018, Fauver, McDonald, and Taboada demonstrated that this trend exists in the field too. They analyzed 3,500 companies from 43 countries over a 12-year period from 2002 to 2014, using data from the Thomson Reuter’s ASSET4 database. They showed that companies that were more employee friendly were more profitable, although they acknowledged that they cannot make the case that it is a causal relationship. Nevertheless, modern companies are clearly partaking in employee well-being initiatives as a competitive maneuver. 

  • @Caraline Winch I appreciate your interest in this topic! Wellness is a valuable part of your people strategy.

    If you've ever flown on a commercial flight, you know the safety practices - put your oxygen mask on before you assist others with theirs. Sounds simple enough; if our/your employees aren't their best selves, how can we/you expect them to do their best work?

    First and foremost, wellness practices/programming are most successful when leaders and managers "walk the talk" or "drink their own champagne" (as we like to say). If you have an unlimited, discretionary PTO policy at your organization, are your C-suite leaders taking the average 15-20 days of PTO they encourage their colleagues to take? If your executives are on-board, it's likely that your directors, managers, and individual contributors will follow-suit.

    In addition to unlimited PTO, I have seen flexible work locations (remote-ability) have success. If employees are able to work-from-home once (or a couple days) per week, while simultaneously able to run a few loads of laundry, they might find themselves more productive at their desk, and spending less time thinking about all that they need to take care of as soon as they get home at 6pm. This flexibility can also eliminate commuting stress (on occasion). According to Psychology Today "The ride to work is also associated with increased blood pressure, musculoskeletal problems, lower frustration tolerance, and higher levels of anxiety and hostility. It can cause bad moods when arriving at work and coming home, increased lateness and missed work, and impaired cognitive performance." Source:

    A formal company wellness program is also a great strategy! At the Predictive Index, the People Operations (read: Human Resources) team facilitates programs once-per-month, during which employees are encouraged to step away from their work for an hour, or so, to engage in holistic wellness programming. To inspire you to start your own company wellness program, check out our mission statement:

    To best support PI’s mission, Better Work Better World, employees must commit to a better self. 

    A commitment to a better self is:

    ·    Physical well-being: fitness & nutrition

    ·    Mental well-being: work-life balance, emotional care & support

    ·    Financial well-being: budgeting, goal-setting & saving

    ·    Office Community: fostering understanding, support, inclusiveness, and creating a safe & efficient work space

    ·    Greater Community: volunteering & environmental awareness 

    I look forward to seeing others' ideas!

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