Business Management
4 min read

Fostering a culture of well-being for workplace mental health

EHL Insights
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  • Employee well-being initiatives are increasingly popular, with well-proven positive impacts for reducing absenteeism, turn-over, low productivity; thereby reducing associated costs.
  • Holistic approach, work-life flexibility, empowerment, purpose, open communication and inclusion are the cornerstones of a successful wellbeing program.
  • Leaders play a key role in setting the example and creating a sense of purpose to support workplace well-being initiatives.


The culture of well-being is on the rise, like an inspiring rumor spreading through corporate hallways and entering the conversations of passionate leaders.

According to a Deloitte report, 80% of organizations consider employee well-being a crucial part of their business strategy, and 61% plan to increase their investments in related programs in the coming years

It's not just a matter of humanism but also of profitability: the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that for every dollar invested in wellbeing programs, companies can expect a return on investment (ROI) of approximately 4 to 6 dollars due to improved productivity and reduced costs.

These significant benefits are a direct result of improved mental health at work. Happy, emotionally stable employees who manage stress form the foundation of growth, innovation, and better outcomes.

Does your company already embrace the culture of well-being? Have you seen its strategic results? We invite you to read this guide to gain a deeper understanding of how the culture of well-being promotes mental health and high levels of engagement.


Culture of well-being: What does it really mean?

It can be defined as a transformative paradigm relentlessly pursuing a very clear goal: prioritizing employees' holistic well-being. To achieve this, it fosters a work environment where everyone feels satisfied and valued.

Within this methodology, you can focus on building the characteristics in your company that validate a culture of well-being:

  • Holistic focus: Well-being culture goes beyond physical health. It's a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
  • Open communication: Open and transparent communication channels are a hallmark of a well-being culture. Companies with this culture encourage dialogue about well-being concerns, creating a safe space for employees to express their needs.
  • Flexible employment agreements: By recognizing the importance of work-life balance, a company with a well-being culture offers flexible agreements, such as remote work options and flexible schedules, allowing employees to manage their personal and professional lives effectively.
  • Wellness programs: These encompass resources and activities that address various aspects of well-being. These may include fitness classes, mindfulness sessions, mental health support, and nutritional guidance.
  • Inclusive environment: It values diversity and respects individual differences. It's essential to acknowledge that a diverse workforce brings unique perspectives and promotes a sense of belonging.

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The direct impact of well-being culture on mental health

Mental health in the workplace is a growing global challenge. According to the WHO, depression and anxiety cost the global economy one trillion dollars annually in productivity losses.

Just a couple of years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the situation, with a significant increase in work-related mental health issues due to stress, uncertainty, and social isolation.

The lack of support and resources for mental health in the workplace is a persistent problem.

Greater awareness, workplace policies promoting mental wellbeing, and access to mental health services are needed to address this challenge. And that's where wellbeing culture comes into play as it benefits workers' mental health in various ways:

Mental relief

First and foremost, it fosters an environment that values work-life balance, reducing stress and burnout. Data, as we've already shared in this text, demonstrates that, on the whole, this flexibility does not decrease productivity; on the contrary, it enhances it, as human hours become of higher quality.

Destigmatizing mental health

Furthermore, wellbeing culture promotes open communication about mental health, eliminating stigma and encouraging seeking support when needed.

This is crucial considering that stigma surrounding mental health remains a problem in many companies. According to the WHO's Global Survey on the Stigma of Depression and Schizophrenia conducted in 21 countries, about 35% of respondents considered people with mental disorders dangerous, and approximately 28% believed they were "incompatible" with teamwork.

Personal and professional growth

Well-being culture offers programs and resources to help employees develop coping skills and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Moreover, a well-being culture can improve morale and job satisfaction, which, in turn, reduces turnover and increases productivity, creating a healthier and more sustainable work environment.

The role of leaders in wellbeing culture and how to leverage hospitality to their advantage

Leadership plays an essential role in creating and sustaining a well-being culture in companies. Leaders who promote a proactive approach to employee well-being not only cultivate a healthy environment but also influence team productivity and morale.

But what can a leader do to foster wellbeing culture? Yes, promoting programs, eliminating stigma on this topic, and individually reviewing each employee's profile to create career plans are excellent practical actions.

But we also need to consider the human attitudes a leader should have to create a well-being environment. And this leads us to the topic of hospitality.

Hospitality as an ally for well-being culture

Hospitality is not just an industry, it’s a virtue that goes beyond mere customer service and it offers many key for successfully implementing well-being culture. Notably, hospitality’s service mindset isn't limited to providing friendly service to customers; it also applies to how leaders and employees treat each other.

When leaders adopt a hospitable attitude, as seen in servant leadership, they show empathy, respect, and consideration toward their team, fostering a climate of trust and collaboration.

This approach strengthens bonds among team members and promotes a sense of belonging.

According to a recent Gallup study, 70% of employee engagement is attributed to leadership influence. When leaders exemplify hospitality, job satisfaction and employee retention increase.

Furthermore, hospitable attitudes help reduce stress and burnout, which in turn positively impacts employees' mental and emotional health.


Bonus: Purpose as the new key to mental health and well-being

We've already discussed flexibility and how a healthy work-life balance is essential for fostering a well-being culture in companies.

We've also addressed communication as a pillar, specifically open communication, as it plays a crucial role in fostering a well-being culture in companies by creating an environment where employees feel valued, heard, and understood.

But we're missing a third element: purpose.

It’s perhaps a more recent concept, but equally impactful for well-being culture. Linking organizational purpose to employees’ roles and objectives fosters well-being culture in companies by providing them with a deeper sense of meaning and contribution in their work.

When employees understand how their work contributes to the company's larger purpose, they feel more motivated and engaged, which has a positive impact on their overall well-being and job satisfaction.

A study by Imperative and New York University found that employees who feel a strong sense of purpose in their work are 64% more likely to have a high level of well-being compared to those who don't.

Furthermore, a Deloitte report reveals that purpose-focused companies have higher levels of employee engagement and retention, directly related to improved well-being at work.

In summary, when there's a purpose involved, work becomes meaningful beyond just a paycheck.

Is your team connected to your company's purpose? How is your progress with well-being culture?

Let’s continue the conversation on LinkedIn and explore more about what it takes to make employee well-being initiatives successful.

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