Purpose and Health Promotion in the Workplace

By Shelly Beal

4 min read

Finding purpose in the workplace...

What if the most valuable members of your workforce are those with greater purpose in life? A growing body of research is reinforcing the strong relationship between purpose, employee engagement and well-being at all levels of the organization. A 2015 Purpose Index study by Imperative found that employees who were purpose-driven were 64% more satisfied in their work, 50% more likely to be in leadership positions, and 47% more likely to promote their employers.

Are you leading your company with purpose? Do you encourage your team to focus on their personal purpose? 
If you are looking to build a healthier company and workforce, this may be a key element you are overseeing. Perhaps, just as important, you may need to ask yourself this question- what is the purpose of your employee wellness program?  

Many wellness initiatives in companies today are driven by economic factors or issues that will have some kind of financial impact, such as employee healthcare costs and prevention of specific chronic diseases that drive these costs. 

In 2018, the Integrated Benefits Institute estimated the costs of poor health to US employers based on health benefit coverage, sick leave absenteeism, worker’s compensation, disability insurance, presenteeism, and related costs to be more than $350 billion. This is an outstanding economic drain on work organizations, and it makes sense that employers are looking to wellness programs for solutions. However, many employers and their employees don’t want to feel that the sole purpose of their employee wellness program is strictly economically driven.

Why Purpose?  
There are two leading components at the core of nearly all health issues companies struggle with- behavior change and organizational support and culture. Placing a greater emphasis on purpose is a key component in developing healthier workplaces. Living with purpose is extremely important to the drive and motivation a person has to practice good self-care. Greater purpose in the foundation of a company will also support positive organizational change and culture over time.  

Giving people the room and the tools to explore the ‘why’ or the purpose of their lives is as important as the actual adoption of healthy practices. When it comes to healthy living and preventing disease, the path is very different for each person. Let’s take hypertension and heart disease for example. To lower risks and prevent heart attack, one employee may need more exercise and less fried foods in their diet while another may need to gain better control over their daily stress and lack of emotional balance. Regardless of the behavior change at hand, the person who has purpose in life is more likely to value health outcomes and to stay focused on the goal.  

The benefits associated with having purpose in life span nearly all aspects of physical and mental well-being. Employees who live with purpose are more likely to:  
  • Be resilient through difficult times 
  • See obstacles as challenges rather than setbacks 
  • Have greater motivation to add more value to their work and their personal life 
  • More likely to practice good self-care 
  • Have more passion about the goals they set 
  • Have more clarity and feel more gratified 
  • Have better overall health  

How can you achieve and effectively incorporate more purpose driven initiatives into your workplace?  

  1. Help individuals reconnect with their driving motivators to live a healthier lifestyle. This can be through 1:1 wellness coaching, executive coaching or team development. This can help individuals focus on strengthening their character and tap into their purpose in life. This foundation of greater self-awareness and purpose is what will motivate and drive lasting behavior change.  
  2. Campaigns and initiatives that will bring awareness and practice for greater self-awareness. Consider onsite events or messaging that will encourage a work environment that supports the concept. Our ‘Live with Passion, Plan With Purpose’ presentation has been a great way for us to inspire groups and introduce this concept of thinking. This 1-hour workshop guides employees through steps they can take to reconnect with their life purpose and how to tie this process into their work and well-being goals.
  3. Create opportunities for employees to pause or slow down. Meditation and mindfulness practices can help individuals tap into greater clarity, enlightenment and creativity. Finding ways to disconnect, even for very short periods of time, can lead to increased productivity, better focus and improved creativity. This is a simple, inexpensive practice for almost any workplace to adopt. Begin to build this into your workplace culture and keep it supported from the top down. 
  4. Allow for individual growth. Your approach for inspiring greater purpose for your team and your company should be built into the core of your culture. It should be foundational. If you work with this approach, you will naturally allow each person to find what works best for them. Every individual will be on a different path and will likely have very different goals to work on. 
As a leader in business, you must strive to continue bettering yourself and your team. By putting more work into improving yourself, you become a positive instrument for healthy teams, businesses and societies. There is great reward in this process. The more you improve teams and individuals, the more you will learn about yourself. "The purpose in life is to live a life of purpose." 

Get in touch with SB Wellness Group to find out more about our Wellness Coaching and Purpose Driven services.

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