Why Having a Healthy Work Culture is a Competitive Advantage

Group of healthy happy office workers

by Fania Stoney, CEO and a Co-Founder of Healthy Place to Work® Ireland.

We all find ourselves experiencing a time where competition for talent and business is increasing between organisations, as well balancing the demands of a post-Covid professional world where expectations around different hybrid forms of work are growing. These things are combining in a new way, and organisations are being tested to stand out in a busy talent and business market.


Many organisations have chosen the path of strategic investment in Health and Wellbeing to make a sustainable impact for their people, culture, and business, regardless of the industry or environment they are in. They do this by mapping their health and wellbeing strategy to the overall business strategy. For instance, for those whose priority is customer experience, quality of hires, customer service training and performance tracking are key strategic needs. Your health and wellbeing approach then should be developed to match the needs of the business as it strives to reach its objectives. In this article we discuss the benefits of having a healthy culture, and why is it a competitive advantage for any organisation.                                                              

It impacts people’s performance

What does a healthy work culture look like? It is one where people understand the purpose of their work, and where what they want aligns with what the organisation is trying to achieve. It is one where people believe they are equipped, capable and supported to give their best work, and where that belief extends into their levels of mental resilience and ability to adapt to changes in the organisation.

Relationships across the organisation work well in a healthy culture. This includes how connected people feel to their colleagues and leaders, as well as the freedom each person feels to be their authentic selves and unlock their talent. Finally, people are energised and able to sustainably deliver for the business.

Many studies have proven there is a close connection between health and productivity at work. A healthy work culture leads to business growth, organisational resilience, customer satisfaction and adaptability. From a people perspective, it contributes to higher performance, productivity, efficiency, and innovation. When you are healthy, feeling well and part of a healthy place to work, your body and mind function at their full potential and your productivity is higher.

It aids retention

Any organisation can invest in a health and wellbeing strategy, the challenge lies in creating a sustainable, strategic and genuine wellness culture. The best organisations in this space understand the importance of leadership buy-in and participation when it comes to walking the talk in terms of creating a healthy workplace.

Given the challenges in the talent market, organisations are focusing on building their health and wellbeing approach as part of their retention capabilities. People who have a strong sense of wellbeing at work, and who know how the organisation supports that, will be less likely to migrate to a new organisation. The clearer the organisation can be on its Employee Value Proposition (EVP) when it comes to their health and wellbeing approach, the better the chance they have at retaining their people. Simply put, those organisations with best workplace wellness programs, that are clearly communicated, are less likely to lose their key talent.

The case doesn’t stop with retention. Engaged employees are more likely to refer their personal networks and advocate for your organisation, in doing so streamlining your recruitment processes. The readiness of employees to recommend their organisation to others is a good litmus test of how healthy an organisation’s culture is.

It builds a competitive Employer Brand

Recruitment and retraining costs are perhaps the most financially significant argument for investing in your current – and potential – employees. Current research estimates between 40 and 60% of people expect to change jobs, and will opt to join organisations who invest in health and wellbeing.

It is clear that expectations have shifted, and people are opting to move to organisations who have a clear and compelling approach to employee health and wellbeing. They also are increasingly savvy on who is being authentic, and who is merely paying lip service to a wellness culture. The new generation of talent is actively searching for a work-life balance and they will choose to apply in the organisations who are going to prioritise their health and wellbeing.

When it comes to creating a compelling Employer Brand, how an organisation supports a healthy work environment is giving some a competitive edge. Version 1, who have been repeatedly recognised as a Healthy Place to Work® here in Ireland, are a great example here, showcasing their Wellbeing Framework as part of their Employer Brand:

If someone was thinking about working in your organisation today, what would they be able to discover about health and wellbeing at work? What story are you currently telling the talent market about your approach to employee wellbeing? Adopting a strong and sustainable Health and Wellbeing strategy will help you build an authentic voice, as well as a strong corporate reputation that will provide you a competitive advantage in the market.

There is a clear link between a strong healthy work culture and business growth, organisational resilience, customer satisfaction and adaptability. From a people perspective, it contributes to higher performance, productivity, efficiency, and innovation. Organisations who invest in health and wellbeing are more likely to have high performing people who want to stay, and are more likely to attract the best talent to join them. Their investment carves out a clear competitive advantage, that impacts both the bottom line and their sustainable performance.

About the author

As co-founder Fania Stoney was instrumental in taking the Healthy Place to Work® model and methodology and operationalising it in an organisational setting. She lead both the pilot and population studies, working collaboratively with organisations to embed this high performance, sustainable approach into their strategic agendas.

Using both this experience and expertise in organisational planning and design, Fania has enabled multiple organisations to achieve and sustain the status of a Healthy Place to Work®. She has also worked alongside organisations to successfully activate this achievement both internally amongst employees and externally in the talent market.

Healthy Place to Work® Ireland support organisations to build and sustain healthy and high performing work environments. They have a broad view of health that encompasses levels of purpose, mental resilience, connection and physical health, and how they apply in a range of workplace settings. Working with this holistic approach, they partner with organisations to help them build their health & wellbeing strategies, develop their Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) and Employer Brands, allow them to make data-driven decisions and certify those who excel in this space.