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Well-being Foundations Playbook Step 3: Foster a caring culture

A healthy workplace culture is one intentionally designed with elements that support health and well-being. Robust and consistent communication is key to promoting your organization’s health and well-being strategy. 

Establish the foundation of your workplace culture.

A workplace culture of health (CoH) addresses the following elements:

  • Supportive environment

  • Communications

  • External community connections and altruism

  • Policies and procedures

  • Executive leadership

Your corporate culture is the foundation of a successful well-being program.

  • How would you describe your culture?

  • What are your corporate values?

  • What information do you value?

  • What are your current people initiatives?

How do you want to define well-being in your organization?

  • What will be your definition of well-being?

  • What dimensions of well-being do you want to highlight?

  • What will be your mission and vision for your well-being program?


Other considerations to foster a caring culture

Based on a recent Harvard Business Review, it’s critical for business leaders to address employee’s total well-being, including their physical, mental, emotional and financial health, work-life balance, and social equity. Failing to address the intersectionality of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) and well-being does a disservice to employees.

The University of Washington defines diversity, equity, and inclusion in three parts: 

“Diversity is the presence of differences that enrich our workplace. Some examples of diversity may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis) ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective in our workplace. There are many more. 

Equity is ensuring that access, resources, and opportunities are provided for all to succeed and grow, especially for those who are underrepresented and have been historically disadvantaged. 

Inclusion is a workplace culture that is welcoming to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, identity, age, abilities, and religion, and everyone is valued, respected and able to reach their full potential.” 

The social determinants of health are the circumstances in which people are born and live. They are interconnected factors that influence our physical and emotional well-being, our ability to be productive in work and school, and our quality of life. Society expects employers to invest in comprehensive benefit strategies and external community partnerships that provide access to social resources that support overall health and well-being. 

Addressing the social determinants of health is about levelling the playing field so that all employees have an opportunity to thrive. Organizations can support the social determinants of health of their workforce by building a workplace environment and culture that addresses the conditions in which employee populations live and work that affect their well-being, not merely focusing on individual lifestyle modifications alone (diet, physical activity, and stress).