However, John doesn’t place theblame solely on employers. “50-60years ago everybody... right down toassembly line workers… embodied anentrepreneurial spirit. You don’t seethat any more. People have increasingly adopted an entitlement mentality. Asa result, the creativity that made thiscountry the biggest economic andindustrial power on the planet has waned. Both workers and companiesneed to rediscover those attitudes.”
Looking at the Trends
John explains the trends: “Te scorethat’s dropped the most over time is‘collaborative supervision.’ Te work environment has gotten more dog-eat-dog, unemployment is at recordhighs, and jobs are less plentiul.Supervisors can get away with beingless collaborative and more command-and control-oriented. Since employeesneed the job, they put up with morerestrictive management styles.”“Employees’ ability to work to theirstrengths actually trended up. As the workorce got thinner, businessestightened their belts. Since there isless oversight people can use theirstrengths more. Being satisfed with the job dropped slightly, probably due todeclines in collaborative management. Yet having a trusting work environment stayed almost exactly level over the 3 years.” John emphasizes that the Well-BeingIndex extends beyond the work environment, but positive scores in allareas contribute to a healthy workplace.“Te best work environments makean eﬀort to inuence all 6 domains.It starts with changing the culture.oo oten we see wellness programsbut no supportive policies such as nosmoking, a beneft plan design thatpromotes prevention, or a physicalplant that encourages movement. Yetmanagement wonders why peoplearen’t making much use o the healthpromotion program.” When it comes to liestyle, Johndiscovered ascinating correlationsamong the domains. “For instance, we’ve learned that or every 15 minuteso commute time, employees’ angergoes up, the amount o stress they experience increases, their rest perday decreases, exercise levels go down,healthy eating goes down, and obesity rates go up. Few organizations havestopped to think what they can doabout that and what it would mean totheir employees’ overall well-being.”“We also know that i people scorepoorly in the work environment, 31%o them report being angry or most o the previous day. Put into perspective,that level o anger is on par withthe 100 poorest counties in the US,as well as the troubled countries o Sierra Leone and Haiti. I employeesare already angry when they come to work, what’s the likelihood they’ll eelthe necessary trust to get any beneftrom a health promotion program? Wellness managers need to look artherupstream in employees’ lives to createan environment that osters healthy change. Use the 6 domains as areas o well-being in your ramework.” While he doesn’t see major diﬀerencesin well-being across occupations, John notes that sel-employed peopleconsistently score better than anybody else. “Tis is really about control. Eventhough owning a business is stressul,you wake up every day knowing youare in control and have the opportunity to chart your own destiny. Tere’ssomething liberating about that.” A Gallup study perormedindependently (using Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Indexdata) showed a demonstrably lowersatisaction level among union workerscompared to nonunion workers. John theorizes, “Bargaining unitsoten cultivate more o a contentious‘them versus us’ environment. O course, it’s also possible that some workplaces weren’t riendly to workersto begin with and thus needed unionrepresentation.”“Te bottom line is we know that acollaborative environment — wheremanagement and workers voluntarily partner together, employees eelchallenged, and everyone has theresources to get the job done — createsthe best possible culture with thehighest well-being.”
What the Index Meansto Wellness Professionals
John advises wellness proessionalsto avoid one-size-fts-all workplace wellness programs. “Considerdemographic age bands when makingprogramming decisions. We looked at18-29 year-olds and how they perceivetheir work environment; they routinely rate it as not so good. Tey’ve recently entered the workorce and realize a
John emphasizesthat the Well-BeingIndex extendsbeyond the work environment, butpositive scores inall areas contributeto a healthyworkplace.The bottom lineis we know thata collaborativeenvironment …creates the bestpossible culturewith the highestwell-being.