A worksite well-being philosophy

Create a culture that invests in each individual’s personal health journey.

The components of well-being

Well-being is a holistic approach to living an optimal life. It includes life satisfaction, engaging activities, and work. Several elements make up well-being:

  • Purpose: A feeling of fulfillment each day and motivation to achieve goals
  • Social: Nurturing supportive relationships and social connections
  • Financial: Managing economic pressures to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
  • Physical: Having good health and energy
  • Emotional: Acknowledging and sharing feelings in a productive manner
  • Environmental: Having a connectedness and understanding of the natural spaces and resources that surround us and how we interact with and impact each other
Source: Gallup/Healthways well-being assessment produces an index from these seven elements.

Why is well-being important in the workplace?

A worksite well-being program can generate a competitive advantage for your company, including employee engagement and retention, greater productivity, and higher morale. Additionally, it can strengthen your organization’s culture and build employee pride, trust, and commitment. Investing in a well-being program is a strategic investment in both your company’s present and future.

Studies have shown the importance of well-being support in the workplace:

  • "Well-being and job performance increased and presenteeism and health risk decreased significantly over the 2 years (after a well-being intervention).” In addition “there is accumulating evidence that programs can address and impact individual and population well-being, as opposed to the more limited traditional goal of improving physical health.” 1
  • “The gap in previous literature and the importance of a more holistic approach...showed that well-being is a more important determinant of employee productivity than is the presence of a chronic disease.” Furthermore, well-being “is aligned with the paradigm shift in which employees are considered ‘human capital’ and are thus of strategic importance to success in the marketplace rather than an expense to be managed.” 2
  • People who enjoy a high level of well-being experience an overwhelming amount of positive emotion, optimism, and hope as well as mutually supportive relationships, purpose, and meaning. “Ample research findings suggest well-being is a powerful driver of both health outcomes and performance, acting as risk factor when in deficit and as a protective factor when in abundance.” 3

The benefits of the “well-being model” versus the “wellness model”

The traditional wellness model often suffers from low employee engagement. By offering a more holistic approach to employee wellness, you can prompt meaningful and lasting employee engagement that gets results.

You can expand on well-being by cultivating an individual’s own idea of “healthy” and developing their life skills. For example, incorporating volunteer and community activities into your company’s well-being plan can widen the net across your employee population and perhaps attract new individuals who might otherwise not be interested in a traditional wellness program. By shifting the focus to living a purpose-driven life, you can build a more productive workforce and community as a whole.


1 Hamar B, Coberley C, Pope JE, Rula EY. Well-being improvement in a midsize employer: changes in well-being, productivity, health risk, and perceived employer support after implementation of a wellbeing improvement strategy. J Occup Environ Med. 2015; 57:367–373
2 Gandy WM, Coberley C, Pope JE, Rula EY. Well-being and employee health—how employees’ well-being scores interact with demographic factors to influence risk of hospitalization or an emergency room visit. Popul Health Manag. 2014;17:13–20.
3 Terry PE, Grossmeier J, Hudsmith N, et al. The Art of Health Promotion: The value issue. Am J Health Promot. 2015;29:TAHP-1–TAHP-12