Employee Wellness and B Corps

What if today’s organizations competed not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world — a pursuit which centres on social and environmental good.

Easier said than done? Yes, but this pursuit can be supported.

To support this pursuit for all organizations, employee wellness strategies and practices can be utilized. As this article will share, social and environmental good is an aspect of robust employee wellness efforts, in terms of acceptability, accessibility, and impact. For organizations who already partake in employee wellness efforts, incorporating social and environmental good can aid in their robustness efforts, leading to the outcome of the pursuit to be the best for the world. All in all, robust employee wellness efforts as an input to the pursuit of being the best organization for the world.

Click here to read a previous article of the thought-of relationship between worker well-being and ESG — Environmental, Social, and Governance. For terms, the words employee or corporate wellness, well-being, and health are all synonymous.

Incorporating social and environmental good to aid in their robustness of employee wellness efforts is in-alignment with the employee wellness best practice of “broadening the scope.” What is meant by this is achieving organizational accountability. Traditionally, the employee wellness focus is on the individual employee themselves and their behaviour change — do this, do that, — don’t stress, eat healthier, sleep more, increase movement, build relationships, review finances, etc. Albeit holistic, not enough to sustain long-term behaviour change by employees. Balancing individual accountability with organizational accountability helps ensure employee wellness is not done to employees, but rather, for employees. Organizational accountability refers to what an organization can do to create and provide conditions of ease and opportunity for employee wellness efforts to occur — making the easy choice the healthy choice. When organizational accountability is achieved, other departments within an organization can have employee wellness integrated into them and working together — “that is just the way we do things around here!” (in regards to kindness amongst interactions, a mindful moment at the beginning of meetings, and healthy food options in the lunch room).

This article details the method of organizational accountability for integrating employee wellness efforts into social and environmental good. The three models shared next describe how robust employee wellness efforts integrate and therefore include social and environmental good.

For the first model, Josh Bersin coined the phrase Level 4 organizations in the Maturity Model of the report titled “The Corporate Wellbeing Market: Explosive Growth Continues.” The Maturity Model illustrates how which Level 4 organizations, most advanced and consequently the most rare, view employee wellness for social good. These are organizations who merge their employee wellness strategies and practices with their sustainability or responsibility efforts — including social and environmental good. The result, organizations who not only take care of their employees, and their employees families, but also the wellbeing of their communities and local stakeholders. Thus, moving from a palliative approach characteristic of Level 1 organizations, to a more proactive approach characteristic of Level 4.

In addition, for the second model, the Harvard Culture of Health (COH) model, contains four pillars for organizations striving to create a culture of health: employee health, and also consumer health, environmental health, and community health. These latter three pillars are the perspective of organizational accountability. Harvard defines a Culture of Health whereby individuals and social entities, such as households and businesses, encourage everyone to maximize good health and well-being for themselves, for others with whom they live and work, for their communities, and for the environment.

The Culture of Health (COH) Four Pillars:

Employee Health: the treatment of its workers
Consumer Health: healthfulness and safety of its products and services
Community Health: health and safety efforts in location of doing business
Environmental Health: impact of operations on the environment

Taken together, a Culture of Health can include ensuring an organizations products or services, manufacturing, facilities, volunteerism, and other initiatives are creating positive and sustainable impact. Important in this is the effectiveness of even small local changes (one-degree-shifts) within routines that can compound and make a difference.

The third model is by the World Health Organization (WHO). In their WHO Healthy Workplace Model, enterprise community involvement centre on social good, while the physical work environment touches on environmental good. Above all, this makes logical wellness-sense because social and environmental good can include the human-side of work, such as improving the air we breathe, the quality of water we drink, and the purpose aspect of giving back.

That said from the three models, organizations with robust employee wellness efforts who integrate with social and environmental good are that much more in an improved position for the pursuit of being the best for the world and looking to become a Certified B Corporation (B Corps). The B Corp certification, which blends purpose and profits, is done through an evaluation of an organizations social and environmental performance with a tool called the B Impact Assessment. The B Impact Assessment is a free online platform where there is a minimum score of 80 (of 200) across all impact areas are required for certification (recertification every 3 years). A few of these impact areas for which employee wellness, especially from a standpoint of employee mental health and psychological health and safety (mentioned again towards the end of this article), are shown below. B Lab created the B Impact Assessment is the organization who audits the applications for certification.

In addition, to mobilize business as a force for good, B Lab and the UN Global Impact teamed up to develop the SDG Action Manager to enable organizations to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as set forth by the United Nations.

It is noticeable how robust employee wellness efforts, can help contribute to SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being). In particular, Target 3.4 of SDG 3 states, “By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.” This can be done through an organization reviewing their business operations, providing healthcare and wellness initiatives to employees, and participating in collective action at the local or national level. Highlighted below are examples of the questions within the SDG Action Manager for SDG 3. This means that an organization with robust employee wellness efforts can make apparent their support of the United Nation’s SDG’s, particularly SDG 3.

Lastly, in the conscious capitalism conversation, which also strives for the goal of social and environmental good, thereby the pursuit of being the best organization for the world, opening the conversation to various stakeholders, not just shareholders, still includes employees themselves as a stakeholder. For organizations who do not partake in employee wellness efforts, a perspective for them to take is to balance their focus on the wellness or others (social) or the environment by remembering to also turn inward to their own employees. In particular, what does not come at a cost of a required budget is the novel remembrance of employee psychological health and safety. How this can be done is through addressing workplace factors affecting employee psychological health and safety within the influence of the workplace. Examples of such as are mentioned in clause 4.3.4.2 and detailed in Appendix A.4 of the Standard, the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (CAN/CSA-Z1003–13/BNQ 9700–803/2013).

For organizations who don’t do so, where poor psychological health and safety is present, employees feel a fear of consequences and failure, distrust, minimal dialogue, mindless execution, and lack of empathy. These factors turn into organizational debt, acting as resistance for business performance. An organization cannot transform and adapt while in trauma. Nobody does their best work scared. A team is not a group of people who work together, a team is a group of people who trust each other. Conscious Capitalism reflects this in the Employee Stakeholder assessment placed below.

Conclusion

For organizations who have employee wellness efforts present, incorporating social and environmental good can aid in robustness, and for organizations who already partake in social and environmental good efforts, the perspective of turning inward can benefit specific factors such as employee psychological health and safety — satisfying the employee as a stakeholder of conscious capitalism.

This is about organizations in which everybody matters and everybody wins, the pursuit of being the best for the world. The complementarities across what was taught in this article help emphasize the statement of, where each team member goes home safe, healthy and fulfilled, thereby helping to create a more caring world (Bob Chapman).

Learn more about B Corps through:

B The Change — https://bthechange.com/

B Lab and the B Impact Assessment — https://bcorporation.net/

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Nathan Kolar, www.reachworldwide.ca

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Nathan helps companies become more productive while simultaneously being humane. #employeehealth #organizationalhealth LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/nathankolar.

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Nathan Kolar

Nathan Kolar

Nathan helps companies become more productive while simultaneously being humane. #employeehealth #organizationalhealth LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/nathankolar.

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