The power of career well-being

This piece is presented by Sanford Health.

By Katie Nermoe, corporate wellness director

When we think of our health and wellness, our minds automatically go to eating right and exercise. Conventional worksite wellness programs follow this ideology by solely focusing on our physical health with gym reimbursement programs, fruit and vegetable challenges or step-tracking programs.

Katie Nermoe

The reality is our well-being is much more complex than what lies within the physical dimension. In addition to physical wellness, our overall well-being is made up of five additional areas: career, social, financial, emotional and community. In fact, 3 Myths of Employee Wellness indicated career well-being is the primary driver of our overall health and well-being.

When you think about it, this makes sense. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work. Our vocation is tightly interwoven with how we see ourselves. When we introduce ourselves to someone new, it’s the first detail we share to give strangers a sense of who we are. And in the end, when things aren’t right at work, it’s difficult for things to feel right in the rest of our lives.

Because the career dimension is so powerful in determining our overall health and wellness, it’s critical that organizational leaders who are striving for a healthier workforce understand the primary drivers of optimal career well-being.



Lack of appreciation, especially from an immediate supervisor, is the No. 1 reason people leave a job – not money. Providing regular feedback to an employee is perhaps one of the most important things a supervisor can do. Research indicates we need to hear four positives to balance out one negative to continue feeling good about our contributions at work.


We all have the need to feel confident at work. When you use your strengths, you can double your number of high-quality work hours per week from 20 to 40. People who focus on their strengths are six times as likely to have high levels of overall life satisfaction. This is best influenced through a thorough and well-thought-out hiring process.


One study revealed that the lower you are in rank, the more stress you have. This comes down to the four T’s: Time, task, technique and team. The more control we have over these variables in our jobs, the less stress we have at work. Supervisors can reduce employee stress by giving teams full rights to the four T’s.


Can your employees say they have at least one friend at work? Employees who indicate they have a best friend at work are more likely to have higher engagement and stay with an organization long term. Leaders can influence this during the hiring process by selecting candidates who they feel will connect best with existing teams, but perhaps more important, leaders can ensure staff members have informal time both inside and outside the office to connect and get to know one another as people rather than just professionals.

Sense of purpose

Is your organizational purpose clear? How does your product or service help change people’s lives, or simply make people’s lives easier? What are you doing to connect your employees with this purpose? Research shows having a strong sense of purpose in life reduces our risk for chronic disease, addiction and depression.

When it comes to employee health and wellness, if organizations were to focus on just one thing, they should focus on leadership competencies that drive high career well-being.

Learn more about Leading for Wellness from Sanford Health Plan. Contact Katie Nermoe, corporate wellness director, at

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The power of career well-being

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