VIP Focus: Connecting Culture and Employee Well-Being for Organizational Success

DashBoard, Nov. 25, 2015

Submitted by Ali Payne, M.S., Area Vice President, North Central Region Wellness Practice Leader Kathleen Schulz, M.S., CHES, Area Vice President, Eastern Region Wellness Practice Leader

When it comes to effectively containing long- term costs and developing meaningful employee engagement, aligning well-being strategy and culture is paramount. Knowing that every organization is different, and employees want and value different things throughout their lives and careers, determining the right path forward can be tricky. There are many facets to consider, ranging from employers’ current culture to their organizational vision and mission, employee demographics, employee communications and overall goals, such as the attraction, retention and engagement of talent, retirement and, of course, cost-containment strategies. With this in mind, many high-performing organizations are taking a look at their approach to culture and engagement through the lens of holistic well-being.

What’s Trending in Wellness?

Beyond the well-being evolution, wellness hot topics include:

  • Becoming an employer of choice
  • Employee engagement
  • Financial wellness
  • On-site health care
  • Telehealth
  • Corporate social responsibility/community involvement

In the past, many wellness programs focused primarily on physical health. However, well-being strategies take into account the overall organizational goals in alignment with employees’ emotional, financial, career, community and physical health. This broader approach is meaningful to designing impactful behavior-change strategies. Ultimately, an organization can have the best possible programs, but if the culture doesn’t support success, it will be very difficult to impact behavior change.

Behavior is highly influenced by culture, environment and social norms; therefore, one of the biggest opportunities to improve employee well-being is to first assess an organization’s current culture—noting the reality as well as aspirational goals. Based on the findings, a strategy can then be developed that meets both the employer and employees where they are now versus pushing an approach that either organizational leadership or employees are not ready to embrace. While strategic well-being consulting is still catching on, those organizations that have engaged in this methodology find success by:

  • Transforming culture to inspire and empower employees to make personal, internal changes for themselves rather than feeling “forced” or externally motivated. Imposed change can actually derail development of the intrinsic motivation needed for long-term positive behavior change.
  • Assessing and integrating all total reward aspects when developing a strategy—this means looking at health care data analytics, human resources and compensation information, retirement strategy, professional development opportunities, and anything related to attracting and retaining talent.


While developing a well-being strategy is exciting, it is not easy. Implementing an effective well-being approach is hard work and requires a heightened level of customization. This is not an “off-the-shelf ” concept, but rather, a very tailored process. Gaining both leadership and employee input throughout the strategy development and implementation process is integral, and wrapping that strategy in the right communication bundle is just as important. The best way for employees to receive information varies, and building knowledge of those differences into a successful well-being approach is just one level of customization. This is not a turn-key solution.

When it comes to being valued as an employer of choice, a defined well-being strategy can make a significant difference in elevating productivity and employee satisfaction as well as enhancing culture.

If you have any questions, please contact Marketing Coordinator Katie Fidelholtz at or 248.430.2791.

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

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