How can we thrive at work?

What is Wellbeing Strategy?

Wellbeing strategy is far more than gym vouchers and virtual drinks on a Friday. Creating work environments where individuals can thrive is a complex equation of organisational culture multiplied by leadership behaviours plus employee ownership of their personal wellbeing. 

When designing wellbeing strategies, we want to aspire to more than just the absence of ill-health. Many wellbeing programmes primarily focus on reducing the instances of stress and anxiety and halting attrition due to burnout – but to truly create cultures when employees can flourish – we need to focus on not just improving the risk factors. 

To flourish is to find fulfilment in our lives, accomplishing meaningful and worthwhile tasks, and connecting with others at a deeper level—in essence, living the “good life.”

Martin Seligman

One of the key bodies of research around wellbeing comes from Martin Seligman in his books “Flourish” and “Authentic Happiness”. He defines wellbeing as “PERMA”: 

  • Positive emotion – happiness and life satisfaction 
  • Engagement – being able to immerse yourself in an activity and be in flow 
  • Meaning – belonging, feeling part of something bigger 
  • Accomplishment – achieving and striving for something for accomplishment’s sake
  • Positive relationships – how we feel about others and how they feel about us 

Wellbeing cannot exist just in your own head, wellbeing is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment. The way we choose our course in life is to maximise all five of these elements  

Martin Seligman – Flourish.

This approach also applies to wellbeing at work.  

Components of a wellbeing strategy

A wellbeing strategy cannot just exist as a HR policy – it comes down to the individual employee experience and the prevailing culture. We can take these components of Seligman’s wellbeing definition and apply to wellbeing strategy.

  • Positive emotion – building positive sentiment within teams by finding ways to bond teams together, celebrate successes and each support other through failure. Job satisfaction is closely correlated with how individuals feel about the cultures in which they work therefore, evolving and monitoring your culture is a key element of your employee experience. 
  • Engagement – creating working practices which allow for immersion into solo-tasks and for downtime, encouraging and giving permission for individuals to block off time for deep-work and have days where no internal meetings can occur to give people the space (inside working hours) to get into flow.  
  • Meaning and belonging – creating a sense of belonging through championing open and honest communication from the top down and welcoming diversity of thought and opinion. 
  • Accomplishment – understanding the personal motivations of your team and their definitions of success and supporting their development. Helping them strive and meet their professional and personal goals (providing flexible working opportunities or time-off to pursue personal passions). 
  • Positive relationships – agreeing a working practices charter, supporting leaders to peer coach, providing employees forums to speak openly, upskilling leaders to be open and honest. 

These principles run deeper than HR policies and practices – these individual actions will determine whether your team thrives at work, or merely survives. 

We support organisations to develop their wellbeing strategies to deeply embed thriving at the heart of their organisations. From cultural assessments, wellbeing strategic reviews and implementation of award-winning wellbeing strategies we can support you. If you would like to learn more about our workshops and coaching, please do check out our leadership, wellbeing and culture services.  

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