Organizational support for well-being is the extent to which an organization provides the resources, communication, reinforcement and encouragement to enable employees to improve well-being. In the workplace, the organizational “ecosystem” has to provide the policies and practices, visible leadership and manager support, role modeling, nudges and defaults to fully support well-being improvement. If it doesn’t, change either won’t happen or will be less likely to be sustainable.
The HERO Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© (HERO Scorecard) offers valuable data to better understand the role of organizational support in well-being programs. In an analysis of responses from more than 800 organizations, just over half (53%) reported that their leaders actively participate in health and well-being programs, and just over a fourth (28%) said leaders publicly recognize employees who participate. Somewhat fewer -- 23% -- say leaders are role models for health and well-being.
You might not think that would have much to do with how well the well-being program serves the rest of the workforce – but it may. The HERO Scorecard also ask employers to report both the percent of employees who say they are satisfied with the employee health and well-being program and percent of employees who are in agreement that the employer supports their health and well-being – the “perceived organizational support, ” or POS.
- Organizations whose leaders actively participate in health and well-being programs reported much higher median satisfaction rates (83%) and POS (85%) compared to organizations whose leaders did not actively participate (66% and 67%, respectively).
- Organizations whose leaders publicly recognize employees for healthy actions and outcomes reported higher median satisfaction rates (85%) and POS (85%), compared to organizations whose leaders did not recognize employee healthy actions (74% and 70%, respectively).
- Organizations whose leaders are role models for prioritizing health and work-life balance reported higher median satisfaction rates (85%) and POS (85%), compared to organizations whose leaders were not role models (75% and 73%, respectively).
These findings suggest that a true culture of health doesn’t come from offering a set of “plug and play” programs that check the well-being box, and that the attitudes and action of senior management matter. In any review of how well the culture and practices of an organization support people as people, it’s important to start at the top.
This post was adapted from a commentary written by Laura Hamill, PhD, Chief People Officer & Managing Director, Limeade Institute. You can read her full commentary and other analyses of HERO Scorecard results on the HERO website.