You might think your employee benefits package – salary, vacation time, and fringe benefits – are key factors in how your employees feel about working at your company. But one true indication of your employees’ wellness, which directly affects productivity and retention, is your company’s culture.


“The truth is, given an opportunity, wouldn’t you want to work at a place where people are engaged and happy?” writes Kathryn Mayer for, quoting Randy Pennington, founder of Pennington Performance Group. “The importance of culture never goes away. It’s a way of thinking and acting that drives everything.”


Here are three reasons why your culture has a direct connection with employee wellness.


1. It ties employees into your organization’s greater purpose

At organizations with a strong positive culture, “you hear leaders at all levels of the organization talking about the mission. It gives them energy, and they are constantly thinking of ways to get it done,” writes Tim Stevens for Fast Company.


Helping your employees understand their role in your organization’s mission makes them feel needed and engaged, Stevens writes. “There is a sense that, as employees, they really matter,” he writes. “They aren’t just people filling tasks; but the culture, systems, language and structure communicate value. Even in tough times … the vibe is still, ’You matter!’”


2. It eases and encourages change

Change can be incredibly stressful on an organization’s employees. But if you have a strong culture, your employees won’t fear or dread it, Stevens writes. “It’s not that everyone likes change, but most have been through it so many times and have seen the leaders manage change with care and dignity,” he writes of organizations with strong cultures.


Culture can also encourage employees to lead change and inspire innovation, writes Mackensie Smith for “Whether it is encouraging a certain amount of time each week to work on side/external projects, having a monthly ’show-and-tell,’ or having different teams teach others a skill in a 101 course, ensure that your employees are always striving,” Smith writes.


3. It helps employees bond

“People like to access each other and the information that they need to get the job done,” Smith writes. ”If people feel like departments or titles do not separate them, they have the opportunity to feel more connected to each other, and, therefore, more of the company.”


Removing barriers that keep your employees from doing their job will not only make them more productive, but will help minimize frustration and stress. “Culture is the guiding compass for employee interactions and business decisions,” Smith writes. If your employees share your organization’s culture, they’ll bond while working toward common goals.


“Consider an open-door policy or weekly meetings where employees can ask questions of different heads of the company,” Smith writes. “(Or) organize ’healthy happy hours’ where employees can go rock climbing, jogging, take a yoga class or do Zumba together. Get to know people as people, not just their title.”