The Five Pillars of Well-Being in the Workplace and the Critical Role of Trust

The topic of well-being in the workplace is getting a lot of attention right now.  The January/February issue of The Harvard Business Review featured articles on “The Value of Happiness – How Employee Well-being Drives Profits.” Since people spend more time at work than in any other single environment, it behooves leaders to create organizations that foster the well-being of its members.

Yet few organizations see personal well-being as an important focus for their business, nor do they understand the powerful connections between personal well-being and organizational success. Study after study has shown that when individual employees experience well-being, they consistently apply their skills and hearts in service of company goals and customers, adapt more flexibly to change, and are more creative and proactive problem solvers.

My colleagues at The Ken Blanchard Companies, Lisa Zigarmi and Chris Edmonds, have published a new book titled #POSITIVITY AT WORK tweet, that presents 140 short, actionable quotes on how to create and manage well-being in the workplace. Zigarmi and Edmonds present five “pillars” of well-being that are essential for positive workplaces. The five pillars are positive:

  • Emotion – people function best in workplaces that provide a sense of satisfaction, achievement, and safety
  • Relationships – human beings were created to live and work in community and our bonds of relationship are the most significant source of emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being
  • Meaning and purpose – again and again research shows that a sense of meaning, purpose, and doing worthwhile work is more important to employees than pay, status, or title
  • Accomplishment – achieving mastery over work and working in service to a goal, group, or purpose beyond one’s self is a key driver of personal well-being
  • Health – more than the absence of sickness, health is the balanced approach of taking quality time for work, family, and self, including total body exercise

Tweet #45 is the one that stood out to me. Zigarmi and Edmonds say “When you maintain a safe, open, trusting work environment, people bring all their skills and all their heart to the work opportunity.”

The foundation of any healthy, positive work environment is a culture of trust. When trust is present, people are willing to take risks, go the extra mile, and offer the best they have to give. The sense of safety and security that comes with a high-trust culture allows people to focus on the goals at hand rather than spending time questioning decisions or doing just the minimum amount of work to collect their paycheck.

Well-being in the workplace begins with trust, and Lisa Zigarmi and Chris Edmonds provide leaders with actionable steps to create a healthy, affirmative work environment where every individual contributes, connects, succeeds, and thrives.

This is one in a series of LeaderChat articles on the topic of trust by Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies. For more insights on trust and leadership, visit the Leading with Trust blog or follow Randy on Twitter @RandyConley.

4 thoughts on “The Five Pillars of Well-Being in the Workplace and the Critical Role of Trust

  1. I like what you have to say but I would extend the listing of the pillars of wellness to include those you have noted above and also:
    intellectual, spiritual, financial, environmental, social, and occupational.

    • Thanks for your comments Rohno. I agree with you about the importance of those additional components you’ve suggested and I see them as a foundation that runs through several of the pillars, particularly the Meaning and Purpose one.

      Take care,


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