When most people think of what it takes to build a thriving workforce, retain and recruit top talent and be an employer of choice, the word “wellbeing” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

The reality is, with nearly 70% of the workforce reportedly disengaged at work, the time is right to do what is right – to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our employees as an essential business strategy.

The findings from the 2015 Quantum Workplace Wellbeing Survey make a strong business case for taking care of our people. When employees believe their employer cares about their health and wellbeing, they are 38% more likely to be engaged, 10 times less likely to be hostile, 17% more likely to still be working there in a year, 28% more like to recommend their organization and 18% more likely to go the extra mile. In other words, companies that focus on and commit to a culture of wellbeing benefit from a boost in engagement, morale, retention, recruitment and performance.

This isn’t just about bringing yoga mats and apples to the office and making sure everyone is getting a flu shot.

Wellbeing is about so much more. It’s about rehumanizing the workplace. It’s about focusing on the triple bottom line – people, planets and profits. When we put people first, profits tend to follow, as companies highlighted in the book Firms of Endearment have discovered.

We align with the model of wellbeing created by Gallup, which focused on the integration among the five essential elements of who we are and what matters to us – career, social, financial, physical and community.

  1. Career/Purpose wellbeing is about liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.
  2. Social wellbeing means having supportive relationships and love in your life.
  3. Financial wellbeing emphasizes managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
  4. Community wellbeing is about liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community.
  5. Physical wellbeing is defined as having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

According to Gallup, while 66% of people report doing well in at least one of these areas, only 7% of people are strong across all five. What’s more, employees who are thriving in all five areas are more likely to be adaptable, 41% less likely to miss work as a result of poor health and 81% less likely to seek out a new employer in the next year.

I encourage and invite you to take stock of your own organization and consider what you’re doing to support wellbeing across the five areas. Notice areas of strength and areas of opportunity. Consider how you might redefine “wellness” at your company in light of this broader, more comprehensive definition:

Career: mentoring programs, training and development opportunities, employee recognition, strengths-based career planning
Social: effective communication classes, paid time off, maternity and paternity leave, company-wide social events, EAP
Financial: retirement plan, financial budgeting programs and resources, company-paid disability benefits
Physical: healthy food options, standing and walking meetings, onsite fitness / yoga classes, meditation, mindfulness, and other interactive workshops and training
Community: paid time off for volunteering, company-sponsored charitable events and volunteer days

To dig deeper into the topic of culture and wellbeing, connect with and follow me on LinkedIn and check out the following books:
Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath & Jim Harter
How to Build a Thriving Culture at Work by Jon Robison & Rosie Ward
Firms of Endearment, 2nd Edition by Raj Sisodia, David Wolfe & Jag Sheth

Guest Contributor Rachel Druckenmiller, MS, CNE