Earlier this year, we assembled a team to tackle wellbeing at Culture Amp. When we met, ideas started flying around - should we have wellbeing workshops in each office? A wellbeing ambassador program? Company-wide step challenges?
It struck us that we were jumping to solutions without understanding what we were trying to solve. So, we started over with one question: How do we want Campers to feel? We wanted people to feel heard, supported, safe, recognized, balanced, and comfortable bringing their full selves to work.
The next question we asked was, ‘Where are our current gaps when it comes to wellbeing at work?’ To us, the biggest gap was around communication.
We created the Wellbeing Guide to address this gap. The goal of the guide is to provide answers to often unspoken questions and encourage people to manage their own wellbeing knowing that Culture Amp supports them. We also wanted to create a community in which wellbeing could be openly talked about, which is one reason why we presented the guide as a version one.
Here are the five steps we took to create a workplace wellbeing guide. We hope that they help on your journey as well.
1. Define what wellbeing means at your company
There are a variety of ways to approach how you want to conceptualize wellbeing at your company. At Culture Amp, we chose a holistic model that sees wellbeing as made up of four interrelated aspects: physical, mental, emotional and social. This is a definition that is reflective of our mission, vision, and values.
You may decide, based on your company’s culture, product or brand, that you would like to define it in a different way or that there are certain aspects of wellbeing you want to emphasize. As an example, if you are a company focused on retirement planning, you may decide to add financial wellbeing as a larger part of your definition.
2. Get your leadership involved
One of the things I am frequently asked is how to get buy-in and support from leadership in developing people initiatives. There is no one size fits all answer, but here are some things to consider:
- Does what you want to do tie into your mission, values, brand, or employee value proposition? If so, you can begin to create a business case by highlighting how it fits into those pieces and could be a valuable tool to attract and retain talent or appeal to new customers.
- Do you know what kind of information is impactful to your leadership? Do they want to see data or do they need stories with personal impact? If they need data, what kind of data will work? You might need to gather benchmarking data and examples of what similar companies are doing. Or, you might need to gather data internally to validate the gap your program will address (think surveys, focus groups, etc). If personal stories will be more impactful, find stories of people within your organization that you could present. For a really solid pitch, have all of the above!
- Can you frame it in terms of impact to Employee Lifetime Value? Will what you want to do help people onboard, acclimate or ramp up faster? Make them more effective leaders? Influence them to stay longer? These are all valuable in terms of reducing the costs of turnover.
3. Conduct research and create an outline
It can be incredibly helpful to review other guides when you are thinking about what you would like to include in your own. When we started off, we were inspired by Bench’s Mental Health Guide, and were able to use that, along with our definition of wellbeing, as a starting point to brainstorm what we wanted to have in our guide. We began piecing together an outline and shared it with some of our internal experts.
We are fortunate that we were also able to call upon the experience and expertise of a number of people within Culture Amp who have backgrounds in counseling psychology, I/O psychology, general wellbeing, nutrition, meditation, and yoga instruction. The wellbeing team walked through the outline with our internal experts and were able to evolve it into an outline meaty enough to divvy up amongst the team to write up into the guide.
While you may not think you have these kinds of internal resources, your colleagues may surprise you. Maybe they’ve worked in different industries or had varying careers or hobbies that can help you as a sounding board for your outline. You may also be able to consult with people in your larger personal or professional network to get some ideas.
4. Bring your people on the journey
I believe an initiative works best when you communicate as much as you can along the way, build up excitement, and include people in what you are creating.
While creating our workplace wellbeing guide, we did this in a number of ways:
- Communicated why we were working on the guide including our own personal motivations for creating it
- Asked people for quotes about wellbeing to be included in the guide
- Created and released short videos about specific wellbeing topics in lead up to the guide’s launch
- Designed special swag for the launch
- Enlisted our brand and content team to ensure the guide was beautiful to read
5. Plan your next step
We had always framed the release of the wellbeing guide as a version one. After we released the guide, we set up forums where people could give feedback, opened up a Slack channel where people could discuss the guide along with other wellbeing topics, and posted it on our internal wiki for comment.
The feedback we received from the guide was positive and it sparked a number of conversations. Of course, people also wanted to know - what’s next?!
To keep the conversation going, we have included the guide as part of our onboarding journey and encourage all of our new Campers to give feedback on it. We also kicked off our Q4 wellbeing focus of Physical Health. We’re assembling a committee of Wellbeing Champs to help organize and champion events both regionally and globally.
Being clear on what you want to address in your guide, getting feedback and participation along the way, and viewing your guide as a conversation starter within your company will put you in the position to successfully launch your wellbeing guide. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to address everything straight out of the gate. Think of it as a living document that will evolve as your company and its people evolve.
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