Why assessing organizational wellness?
A lot has been said about the impact of the pandemic on the world of work and the need, within every organization, to find wellness. What is meant by wellness? Why should organizations be healthy? What is the role of assessment?
By Mariela Rodríguez Ponte, Director of Operations in ABCOM, for the Association of Communications Consultants and Agencies (Acacia) [Asociación de Consultoras y Agencias de Comunicación]
Despite the company’s industry, size or business objectives, the health emergency has evidenced the need to incorporate wellness into the productivity equation. When we refer to wellness, we mean wellness to be found personally, but more importantly institutionally.
In the book Personas saludables, organizaciones saludables: gestión de salud y bienestar (2020) [Healthy people, healthy organizations: health and wellness management], Guadalupe Benavídez who holds a degree in Nutrition and is a Health Coach, explains “organizational wellness is much more than the sum of individual behaviors and health. It assumes a conscious and responsible commitment of the organization’s members and leaders”. In this sense, she points out that improving workspace wellness is treating professionals not strictly as employees but as people in the broadest sense of the word.
The author states the need to create appropriate physical and social environments, with shared cultural values and common objectives, and with communication and interchange channels that foster the creation of healthy bonds. How to do so?
From the communications standpoint, it is key to assess an organization if we want to promote a wellness culture with creative strategies. Actions won’t have an impact in the medium and long term if we don’t find out the real status of the organization, its collaborators, and leaders and if we don’t plan based on that.
When we assess an organization, we query and analyze. It demands time, commitment and a group of experts to handle it. What are the aspects every expert should take into account? Even though they vary depending on the organization’s needs, they usually include the following four: business, culture, leadership, and communications.
The first aspect, business, is related to knowing key topics, and the alignment – or not – of the various sectors with the strategy. The second one, the culture, addresses the ways of being and doing that are specific to that organization and how collaborators identify with them. The third aspect is leadership and includes the analysis of the organization’s leadership model – if any -, leaders’ perceptions, how they feel about their role, and whether they have the tools they need. Last, is the communications aspect, which addresses fluency, channels, and the degree of formalization of spaces, among others.
Another important piece for the assessment is the collaborators’ voice, their perception of the company, and the bonds created. To avoid prejudgments, it is necessary to let them know about the process step by step and to make them part of its advancements. Their contribution is vital to guarantee a certain assessment and a successful strategy to implement.
In conclusion, when an organization is assessed by experts, leaders and collaborators start thinking of what is being done within the company and why. Having an expert view in charge of the process is key to reach an objective perspective.