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Developing a Culture of Wellbeing

Developing a Culture of Wellbeing

It’s important to set expectations for your organisational approach to wellbeing and demonstrate role model behaviours to gain respect and engagement from your staff.  Once you’re in control of your own wellbeing you can define your expectations of others, to build a positive organisational culture with appropriate challenge to those who aren’t demonstrating the behaviours you’ve defined.

Are you keeping yourself well as you work?  Or will any wellbeing ask of the team receive a “well you never do!” response?  You’ll need to demonstrate your commitment to a wellbeing culture by demonstrating role model behaviours.  You can’t just tell other people what to do, you have to make the changes too!

The wellbeing answers are often with your workforce so consult and work with them to define your culture and the expectations of how staff members will look after themselves.  A culture which is imposed on a workforce is less likely to succeed.  One which has involved its staff members in its development is much more likely to become embedded into everyday performance, language and behaviours.

Setting expectations for wellbeing in your organisation needs to be an ongoing conversation.  You might add an agenda item to team and organisational meetings, for instance.  The question ‘what are we doing to stay well?’ can be useful to tease out ideas and suggestions of how team members are already staying well and how they can work together to make that happen.

Demonstrating role model behaviours and valuing your own wellbeing as well as that of your staff is great leadership.  Challenging less positive behaviours is good but be careful how you do that.  Don’t challenge someone in an open environment for instance; “oh look everyone, Yvonne’s eating her lunch at her desk, what a hero!”.  Take the conversation away from the immediate work area to find out why Yvonne hasn’t had a break.  She’d probably really like one so find an appropriate place to ask why that’s not happening.

Short term adjustments might be made but keep checking back to ensure the correct behaviours are being embedded into day-to-day practices.  As human beings we can become very settled in our less positive behaviours and be very reluctant to change our ways, even when we’re challenged appropriately to make improvements to support our wellbeing.  If people see themselves as an exception to the norm, that will go a long way to nudging them into better behaviours.  If you’re all doing it badly, no one will feel the need to make a change, however much you reason with them.

You can read more about how to develop a culture of wellbeing in chapter 3 of Karen Warren’s book ‘Workforce Wellbeing – how to build organisational strength and resilience’.