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Going Beyond Series – Fueling the Whole Person

Welcome to the first installment of our special series “Going Beyond” where we’ll be challenging the status quo in the wellness industry with fresh thinking, new approaches and increased accountability.

Today we’re talking about the difference between wellness and wellbeing. Traditional wellness approaches have focused ONLY on physical health factors, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure.  These approaches fail to comprehensively address the four interconnected domains of wellbeing.

The results you seek only occur when individuals are excelling in every facet of their lives: physically, emotionally, socially, financially, and when an organization is experiencing higher performance, organizational trustworthiness and employee engagement. We call this the “true potential” of your organization and the individuals within it.

To reach true potential, you must go beyond the physical to a balanced approach that focuses on the whole person. This includes:

Physical Wellbeing Physical Wellbeing
Tackling specific issues that are sapping productivity and spiking healthcare costs
Emotional Wellbeing Emotional Wellbeing
From job and life satisfaction to managing stress, focusing on helping individuals with mindfulness and emotional intelligence
Social Wellbeing Social Wellbeing
Building a culture of trustworthiness, making connections and strengthening relationships.
Financial Wellbeing Financial Wellbeing
Improving financial confidence by tackling topics such as budgeting, bank accounts, student loans, credit cards and retirement.


Obviously, we can’t lose our focus on critical health concerns such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, but these physical risks are only part of the picture. Even more importantly, the other three domains of wellbeing (emotional, social and financial) directly impact an individual’s physical wellbeing. Consider these statistics:

  • Nearly half (44 percent) of working adults say that their current job affects their overall health
  • 85 percent of Americans are stressed about finances
  • 1 in 5 Americans suffers from persistent loneliness

The point is this. A strategy that only addresses the physical is doomed from the start. It won’t produce the results needed to reach true potential. If you want your wellness initiatives to have greater impact, start by making a slight but significant adjustment to the vocabulary you use. Ask yourself how you can improve the wellbeing of your population. That will lead you to the right answers and encourage more holistic thinking about what is needed for your employees to thrive. Your employees want to feel like they are connected, contributing, learning and supported. Worksite wellness simply can’t take you there on its own. You must go beyond.

Stay tuned to our series on Going Beyond for more guidance on how you can help your organization, and your employees, reach true potential. Also, check out our whitepaper The Roadmap to True Potential for a one-stop guide to going beyond.




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