Ready, Set, Go! Grab That Roadmap to Move Well-being from Talk to Walk

New white paper maps out power tools employers can use to act now
Mar 29, 2022 4:45 PM ET
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By Yan Tai

Leaders who believe in the power of well-being of their workforce are positioning their organizations for success because sustainable well-being underpins sustainable business performance. But the time to theorize on this imperative is over. It’s time for action. The good news is - actionable roadmaps are now available to move well-being from efforts to effect.

These are some of the insights drawn from a new white paper published by Deloitte - Well-being: Moving from Effort to Effect, part two of a collaborative series with the International WELL Building Institute on the power of well-being across work, workforce and workplace. Part one of the series, published in January 2022, focuses on how well-being has become a new cornerstone for ESG strategies and reporting.

Subject matter experts at the International WELL Building Institute contributed to the whitepaper including works by Dr. Whitney Austin Gray, Senior Vice President, Research; Minjia Yang, Vice President, Investing for Health; and Dr. Matthew Trowbridge, Chief Medical Officer.

An important takeaway from the latest white paper is a set of digestible, step-by-step action tools laid out for organizational leaders. The wisdom boils down to four fundamental must-haves for businesses to build sustainable performance: leadership buy-in, an integrated but cross-department well-being team, commitment to invest, and yes, tracking success.

According to Lisa MacVicar, principal author of the white paper and a senior manager of the Real Estate Advisory at Deloitte Canada, commitment from top leadership is critical to creating an authentic culture of well-being. Cited research findings in the paper indicate leaders need to act with purpose for well-being and building trust among their workforce in order to enable high performance.

But it takes more than leadership buy-in. Establishing a well-being team that collaborates across functional areas is equally important to ensure it actually works and is implemented. The white paper offers a C-level org chart that requires leaders across the executive, operations, branding, financial, human resources and investor relations to work together as a well-rounded well-being team. Noteworthily, the org chart recommends two new C-level positions: chief well-being office and chief sustainability officer. The paper details reasons why.

How about investment in well-being? The necessity to invest in well-being is widely believed among employers today, but how to invest smartly takes well thought through strategies. For example, traditional workplace well-being programs have an average of 15% low participation rate due to factors such as low awareness or difficulty to access. More holistic and comprehensive approaches including strategies for a healthier indoor environment allow all employees to automatically have access to better well-being just by walking through the front door.

A strikingly important point the paper addresses is how to track and measure well-being, a pain point that has so far limited employers to lagging indicators such as absenteeism, sick leaves and disability tallies. According to MacVicar, a lack of well-being metrics decreases the ability of senior leaders to monitor and act on determinants of corporate well-being with the necessary agility. It’s time to shift from a reactive approach to one that empowers cultural change, cutting through across work, workforce and workplace, and moving from the individual level all the way to a global scale.

The white paper discusses the recently debuted 12 Competencies for Measuring Health and Well-being for Human and Social Capital Management. Launched by the International WELL Building Institute in late February 2022, the 12 Competencies is a framework on which organizations can begin building and measuring their well-being capabilities. It offers a holistic approach that balances specific categories of measurement across five levels: individual, organizational, environmental, community and global.

The 12 Competencies can be operationalized at the five scales moving attention beyond employees, incorporating other critical well-being attributes including building performance and the impact on communities in which the organization operates, local or global.

The paper offers a clear checklist organizations can use to gauge their well-being competitiveness. Take a look at the list. If you tick all the boxes, then your organization is likely moving toward a culture of well-being in which employees, employers and your surrounding communities can thrive!

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