I hate running. It’s, to put it simply, horrible. When I was younger, I used to run cross country. I was ecstatic to knock a workout off my to-do list, but I dreaded running. It didn’t come as a surprise to my family that I quit cross country about a year and a half after I started. Unfortunately, my relationship with running had long-lasting effects; it made it difficult for me to establish a consistent workout plan over the last couple years. Luckily, I kept in shape through classes at my local dance studio, but it took a serious change in heart: my 2021 New Year’s Resolution, for me to commit to working out consistently. Surprisingly enough, I stuck with my commitment.
Why was my pledge to work out so much easier than running? It came with a purpose: to keep myself healthy and my body in good shape. When I ran, I did so as an obligation. When I work out now, I do so to improve my style of living. There’s a distinct difference between doing something as an obligation or with a sense of mission. If you’re doing an activity with a purpose, you will have a much stronger sense of commitment to your task. A mission transforms a task into more than just a responsibility.
Like individuals, companies are challenged to develop a mission statement to give employees a sense of purpose. While it is important that a mission statement serves clients and customers, companies often forget that their mission statement pertains to employees as well. Chapter 7 of Jim Baker’s The Adventure Begins When the Plan Falls Apart underscores the importance of creating a mission statement to establish unity and rapport within a company. Baker then goes on to introduce the concept of the wellness mission statement, which guides the core beliefs of a company’s employee wellness program. While most companies have a general mission statement, a wellness mission statement can help ensure that the wellbeing of employees is prioritized.
For instance, the healthcare field is a prime example of the importance of implementing a wellness statement within an organization. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many doctors and nurses feel incredibly stressed and burnt out. A recent survey from the American Nurses Foundation found that the pandemic has caused 92% of nurses to consider leaving the profession. Frontline healthcare workers confront a great risk of COVID-19 exposure while at work, and they also worry about having access to appropriate equipment to protect themselves from the pandemic. Additionally, many critical care teams are understaffed, pushing healthcare providers to work longer hours in the midst of a crisis. As healthcare workers spend nearly all their time working and managing COVID-19 concerns, they have barely any time left for themselves. Their own health and wellness habits are neglected. Ironically enough, in an industry where healthy habits are promoted so strongly, healthcare organizations aren’t supporting the health of their own workers.
How can healthcare managers prioritize the health of their providers as the pandemic continues? The first step is implementing, or even reevaluating a company wellness mission statement. Organizations must thoroughly evaluate their current culture, surveying employees to better understand their needs in the workplace. According to a survey by Virgin Pulse, 85% of companies say that a wellness mission statement increases employment engagement, so understanding employee needs for a wellness mission statement is a worthwhile practice. After conducting surveys, companies can host focus groups to discuss wellness initiatives and the creation or modification of a wellness mission statement. This statement must meet the needs of employees and ensure that they are provided with an environment that helps them perform the best they possibly can.
Healthcare workers, like employees in any other organization, perform their best when they eat healthily, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Wellness programs help support and maintain these habits within the workforce, as well as limiting stress and burnout among employees. As employees’ mental and physical health improves, so will workplace morale and performance. In order to achieve these outcomes, however, employers must intentionally invest in the wellness of their organizations. Investment, particularly with a sense of purpose, has the potential to yield high profit.