Wellbeing For Organizations

Wellbeing for organizations

The Center’s Wellbeing Model identifies six distinct elements of wellbeing. 

wellbeing model

The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing defines wellbeing as a state of balance or alignment in body, mind, and spirit. In this state, we feel content. We are connected to purpose, people, nature and community. We feel peaceful and energized; resilient and safe. This state of wellbeing reflects an inherent understanding and respect for our interconnectedness as human beings with the natural world. We experience wellbeing as individuals, families, workplaces and larger communities.

Organizations that successfully incorporate a culture of wellbeing don’t look at the concept as a program or an initiative, or a thinly-veiled attempt to gain productivity or reduce costs. Wellbeing must be viewed as a strategy to achieve an organization’s long-term goals, and part of the fabric of the organization. It must be embraced and incorporated into everything the organization does, in meaningful ways that resonate with employees.  

Increasingly, organizations such as the University of Minnesota are recognizing that one of the greatest gifts they can offer their employees is recognizing the importance of whole-person wellbeing, and actively supporting organizational cultures that enhance wellbeing across these dimensions.  

Besides being the right thing to do for employees, why should organizations make a commitment to wellbeing? 

  • Engagement research suggests that commitment to excellence and wellbeing distinguishes great organizations. According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace report, the majority of employees say that greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing is “very important” to them. And, 91% of employees say the last time they changed jobs, they left their company to achieve increased work-life balance and wellbeing.

  • According to the 11th annual Health and Well-Being Survey from Fidelity Investments® and Business Group on Health, as the global pandemic and resulting financial crisis continue to impact how and where many employees work, 95% of international employers surveyed now include emotional and mental health programs in their corporate well-being platform.  Ellen Kelsay, President and CEO of the Business Group on Health reported that, “Now more than ever, employers are highly focused on employee mental health and well-being as they adjust to the pandemic, economic disruption, and heightened focus on the impact of racial and societal issues."

  • Through its engagement survey, the University of Minnesota has found that departments’ commitment to individual wellbeing results in high engagement scores. Employee engagement is also critical to key organizational metrics, including employee retention. 

  • Companies with higher levels of wellbeing achieve levels of employee engagement that are two times higher than those of other companies. In addition, according to a Willis Towers Watson 2018 Survey Report, they also report higher revenue per employee, lower health care costs, fewer days lost and 70% fewer stressed employees.  

  • In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation's largest living adult generation. This group of employees and Gen Z are often described as purpose driven, socially conscious and placing a high value on wellbeing.  According to a recent study reported in Harvard Business Review, these two groups not only represent the largest demographic in today’s workforce, they also have the highest job turnover rates attributed to mental health. Over half of Millennials and 75% of Gen Zers reported having left roles in the past for mental health reasons, compared with 34% of respondents overall.  In a 2018 American Psychological Association Study, Generation Zers were also reported as the most likely of all generations to report poor mental health issues and only half reported they felt they did enough to manage their stress.

The Bakken Center has been supporting individuals, organizations and communities in wellbeing since 1995. While the dimensions of wellbeing apply to all, each industry and organization has its own culture, goals, challenges and opportunities. The Bakken Center works with organizations in Minnesota, nationally and globally, and across a variety of industries including education, healthcare, manufacturing, services, senior living, consumer goods, government, nonprofit, and more. 

Explore our available programming for organizations, or engage us as you work to develop your organization’s wellbeing strategy. 

To learn more about the Center’s organizational wellbeing programming, contact Sue Nankivell, Director of Business Development & Community Relations, at sue@umn.edu or 612.626.2395.