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Rehumanizing the Workplace: Leading Positive Change

Contributed by: Rosie Ward, Ph.D., MPH, MCHES, BCC, CEO of Salveo Partners, LLC

As a leader in the wellness industry for over 20 years, I’ve experienced a wide-variety of approaches from forward-thinking companies investing in employee wellness as the right-thing-to-do to companies needing to prove that wellness results in a successful return on investment and could help mitigate healthcare costs. With research continuing to show that the traditional approach to worksite wellness needs a transformation, we know we must evolve.

Our world and our workplaces have become more and more dehumanized. Employees are continually asked to do more with less and feel more disengaged than ever. Bob Chapman (CEO of Barry-Wehmiller and co-author of Everybody Matters) explains that healthcare isn’t the issue in the United States. In fact, leadership has the enormous ability to profoundly impact individual employees, their families, and communities. He states that,

7 out of 8 people in the American workforce work for an organization that doesn’t care for them, contributing to broken marriages, broken families and broken lives.

So what can we do? Here are three ways you can begin to lead positive change in your workplace.

Create Positive Change.

Great momentum is building to shift this trajectory and bring humanity back to the workplace. Organizations and movements like Conscious Capitalism and Firms of Endearment are paving the way for the new workplace culture. We can learn from the increasing number of these organizations who are doing important work to put people first and make positive social contributions, and we can begin to embrace a more integrated approach that promotes the amazing interconnectedness of employee and organizational wellbeing.

  • The Conscious Capitalism movement is transitioning caring for people and the environment to a business imperative. Conscious businesses focus on their people over profits, and still remain highly profitable. They’ve found that having a deep connection to purpose actually energizes team members in organizations.
  • The highly successful Firms of Endearment (companies like FedEx, Google, Starbucks, Disney, Patagonia, TOMS, and Southwest Airlines) are widely loved by their customers, employees, suppliers, and their communities. They treat all allies equally and practice much different approaches than the traditional ways of business. They put their employees first by investing more in their personal and professional development, pay, and benefits. These companies effectively communite their purpose and are fierce in protecting it. Not to mention, people are knocking down their doors to try to work there.
  • WELCOA is leading the charge by emphasizing new ways in which to measure the intangibles of how an employee interacts with their work environment. Though harder to measure, individual human needs (that WELCOA categorizes as Health, Meaning, Safety, Connection, Achievement, Growth, and Resiliency) actually determine how healthy we are. Everything that they are creating stands to measure and achieve that definition. WELCOA’s vision is to set new standards for employee wellness initiatives and organizational cultures by quantifying the value of healthy, happy employees to recognize and celebrate the healthiest places to work.

Commit to an Outward Mindset.

As humans, our behaviors are a manifestation of how we think and we tend to put all our effort in trying to change them. When we are applying this inward mindset to our employees the result might be a temporary adjustment but might not shift to commitment or engagement. Start to reframe your thinking from employees as vehicles that complete tasks to visualizing your employees as humans with needs, objectives and challenges.

Collaborate, Create, Community.

You inspire the lives of your employees every day and have an amazing opportunity to show up a leader in your organization. While it might require embracing a new mindset and new ways of doing things – focusing on true human needs – we can effectively foster hope, build connections, and nurture environments that allow people to thrive.

That’s why we put together Fusion 2.0, a conference designed to help you learn why people-centered, purpose-driven organizations are wildly successful, connect with like-minded peers from across industries and disciplines, and develop a personal action plan to lead positive workplace change.

Fusion 2.0 brings a collaborative line-up of speakers, including:

  • Andrew Sykes: President of Habits at Work and 2018 WELCOA Summit Keynote Speaker
  • Arthur Woods:  Co-founder of Imperative and 2018 WELCOA Summit Keynote Speaker
  • Bob Chapman: CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, co-author of Everybody Matters
  • Bree Miller: Habits at Work and 2018 WELCOA Summit Speaker
  • Kristen Hadeed: Founder of Student Maid and author of Permission to Screw Up
  • Raj Sisodia: Co-founder of Conscious Capitalism and author of Firms of Endearment and Everybody Matters
  • Wendy Lynch – founder of Lynch Consulting and wellness industry pioneer
  • And many fellow WELCOA members including: Michelle Spehr, and WELCOA’s Top 100 Health Promotion Professional of the Year Winners – Lynise Anderson and Rachel Druckenmiller

Fusion 2.0 Conference

Inspiring Humanity at the Workplace
November 7-9, 2018
The Depot • Minneapolis, MN

WELCOA members can receive $200 off their registration with discount code WELCOA200 at checkout. The coupon code is good through 10/24/2018.

Planning to attend Fusion 2.0? WELCOA is hosting a fun get together just for our Members who are in attendance! To receive a formal invitation, send an email to