Multiple factors are responsible for enabling a positive, healthy workplace culture. Read on to learn what these organizational factors might be.

A positive, healthy workplace culture can be created. More often than not, an organization’s culture arises out of the day-to-day experiences of the organization. Therefore, an organization’s culture represents a pattern of shared experiences (problem solving, adapting to the external environment and integration with the organization itself) and learning, especially involving behavioral, emotional and cognitive elements.

Every organization has a culture, whether it is recognized and understood or not. Successful and sustainable worksite wellness programs are aligned with their organization’s culture. It is critical for you as the worksite wellness coordinator to be aware that culture always trumps strategy. A common, often heard expression is that culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Since culture can be created, it can also be changed. It is therefore important to recognize the factors that contribute to or enable a positive, healthy workplace culture. The predominant factors are environmental in nature and consist of the physical environment, the psychosocial environment and the socioeconomic environment.

Physical Environment

The physical environment is the most visible of the three environments and therefore is most often the subject of suggested culture change strategies. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the physical environment is only one of the elements that comprise an organization’s culture.

Examples of factors within the physical environment that could help to enable a positive, healthy culture would include such factors as:

• Identified safe walking routes

• Nearby walking trails

• An on-site fitness room or facility

• Ergonomically evaluated and equipped workstations

• Interior stairwells

• A worksite that is physical activity friendly

• Safe work environments

• Accessible sink, microwave and refrigerator

Psychosocial Environment

The psychosocial environment reflects the interaction between psychological elements and the social environment. The workplace psychosocial environment constitutes a large component of the workplace climate, in addition to the culture.

Examples of factors within the psychosocial environment that could help to enable a positive, healthy culture would include such factors as:

• Respect for work – life balance

• The recognition and reward of good performance

• Solicitation and encouragement of employee feedback and pre-decision input

• Low tolerance for harassment, discrimination or bullying

• Ensuring employee psychological safety and health

• Respect for the individual

• High degree of trust

• Meaningful and purposeful work

• High level of transparency

• Peer support for healthy lifestyle change

Socioeconomic Environment

The socioeconomic environment relates to how the organization’s economics impact the social structure and systems within the organization or simply the social impact of economics and economic changes. It is well-recognized that a number of socioeconomic factors may impact a person’s health.

Examples of factors within the socioeconomic environment that could help to enable a positive, healthy culture would include such factors as:

• Pay scales that are consistent with the local employment market

• Use of financially focused employee benefits such as retirement plans, deferred compensation plans, health reimbursement accounts, etc.

• Use of group or individually focused financial incentives

View culture change just as you would health and wellness – as a process or journey. If you are interested in creating a positive, healthy workplace culture, how might you enable these three environmental factors within your organization?

Culture Change

Culture change is an evolutionary process. As a nationally certified Wellness Culture Coach, I invite you to allow me to help you with your culture change journey. I can help you access numerous culture change tools, resources and materials. I can also help you create an effective, successful and sustainable wellness program. I specialize in mentoring worksite wellness program coordinators and creating Done With You worksite wellness and well-being programs. You can contact me at williammcpeck@gmail.com

Brought to you by Bill McPeck, Your Worksite Wellness Mentor. Dedicated to helping organizations create positive, healthy organizational cultures and worksite wellness coordinators create successful, sustainable worksite wellness and well-being programs, especially in small employer settings.

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