Creating a Culture of Wellness: 9 Essential Reads on Workplace Mental Health

Pedro Matriciano

In the dynamic landscape of today's workplaces, the emphasis on mental health and wellness has never been more crucial. As People & Culture leaders, you play a pivotal role in shaping environments that not only recognize but actively nurture the mental well-being of every team member. The challenge lies in understanding the multifaceted nature of mental health and devising strategies that resonate with diverse teams.

The journey towards creating a culture of wellness is ongoing and multifaceted. It requires a blend of empathy, strategy, and continuous learning. One of the most effective ways to enhance your knowledge and skills in this area is through insightful literature. Books written by experts in the fields of psychology, business management, and organizational behavior offer valuable perspectives and practical tools to implement meaningful changes in your workplace.

This selection of nine essential reads is carefully curated to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of workplace mental health. Each book offers unique insights into creating a more supportive, inclusive, and healthy work environment. They serve not just as resources but as catalysts for change, inspiring new ideas and approaches that can transform your organization's approach to mental health and wellness.

9 Workplace Wellness & Mental Health Books for People & Culture Leaders

1. Wellbeing at Work: How to Build Resilient and Thriving Teams

By Jim Clifton and Jim Harter

Wellbeing at Work: How to Build Resilient and Thriving Teams

Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup, and Jim Harter, Ph.D., Gallup's Chief Scientist for Workplace Management and Wellbeing, bring a wealth of experience and insight to the topic of workplace wellbeing. Clifton, leading Gallup for decades, has been at the forefront of identifying and understanding global trends in human development and organizational performance. Harter, with his extensive research in psychology and wellbeing, has contributed significantly to our understanding of employee engagement and its impact on business outcomes.

"Wellbeing at Work" delves into the crucial aspect of how employee wellbeing directly influences the success of an organization. The book is grounded in extensive research and data analysis, providing evidence-based insights into what drives employee engagement and wellbeing. Clifton and Harter explore the five essential elements of wellbeing – career, social, financial, physical, and community – and how these elements can be nurtured in the workplace. They provide practical advice and strategies for leaders to create an environment where employees can thrive.

For People, Culture, and HR leaders, "Wellbeing at Work" is an invaluable resource for professional development. It offers a deeper understanding of the complex relationship between employee wellbeing and organizational performance. The book equips leaders with the knowledge to design and implement holistic wellbeing initiatives that can lead to enhanced employee engagement, increased productivity, and overall organizational health. In a world where the lines between personal and professional life are increasingly blurred, this book provides essential strategies for fostering a supportive and resilient workplace culture.

2. Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Employers and Employees

By Gill Hasson and Donna Butler

Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Employers and Employees

Gill Hasson, a renowned author with expertise in personal development and mental health, teams up with Donna Butler, a practitioner with a wealth of experience in employee welfare and HR consultancy, to bring this essential guide. Hasson's background in teaching and writing about emotional intelligence and mindfulness provides a profound understanding of individual mental wellbeing. Butler's professional journey in HR and employee support complements this with practical insights into workplace dynamics and the role of employers in supporting mental health.

"Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace" serves as a comprehensive manual that addresses the critical aspects of mental health in the professional sphere. The book presents a balanced perspective, offering guidance applicable to both employers and employees. It navigates through various topics including understanding mental health, identifying issues in the workplace, legal considerations, and practical steps for support and intervention. The authors emphasize creating a supportive work environment that is inclusive and accommodating of mental health needs.

For People, Culture, and HR leaders, this book is a significant addition to professional development resources. It not only broadens the understanding of mental health issues in the workplace but also provides practical tools and strategies for addressing these challenges effectively. The guide encourages a proactive approach in creating mental health-friendly workplaces, fostering a culture of openness, and equipping leaders with the skills to handle sensitive situations with empathy and professionalism. This book is especially relevant in today's work environments where mental health awareness and support are increasingly recognized as key factors in employee satisfaction, retention, and overall organizational success.

3. The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation

By Timothy R. Clark

The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation

Timothy R. Clark, an organizational psychologist and leadership consultant, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the subject of psychological safety in the workplace. As the founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a leadership consulting and training organization, Clark has a deep understanding of organizational culture and its impact on team dynamics and innovation. His background in psychology and leadership, combined with his experience working with various organizations worldwide, positions him as a credible voice in the realms of psychological safety and inclusive leadership.

"The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation" offers a groundbreaking framework for understanding and cultivating an environment where employees feel safe to express themselves, learn, contribute, and challenge the status quo. Clark introduces the concept of psychological safety through four progressive stages: Inclusion Safety, Learner Safety, Contributor Safety, and Challenger Safety. Each stage builds upon the previous, providing a clear roadmap for leaders to foster a culture where innovation and collaboration thrive. The book is filled with practical insights, real-world examples, and strategies to help leaders create an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered.

For People, Culture, and HR leaders, this book is a crucial addition to their professional development toolkit. Understanding and implementing the concepts of psychological safety is essential in today's diverse and rapidly changing work environments. Clark's book provides the tools and knowledge necessary to build and sustain a culture of inclusion and innovation, which are key drivers of organizational success. By applying the principles outlined in the book, leaders can enhance team dynamics, boost employee engagement, and foster a creative and productive workplace where every individual feels secure and motivated to contribute their best work.

4. Workplace Wellness that Works: 10 Steps to Infuse Well-Being and Vitality into Any Organization

By Laura Putnam

Workplace Wellness that Works: 10 Steps to Infuse Well-Being and Vitality into Any Organization

Laura Putnam, a leader in the field of workplace wellness, brings a dynamic and innovative approach to fostering health and well-being within organizations. As the CEO of Motion Infusion, a well-being training and consulting firm, and a former urban public high school teacher, Putnam combines her experience in education, fitness, and leadership to drive transformative change in workplace wellness programs. Her expertise lies in bridging the gap between the health and well-being sector and the corporate world, making her insights particularly relevant for today's diverse and changing workforce.

In "Workplace Wellness that Works," Putnam presents a refreshing and practical approach to workplace wellness. Moving beyond the standard fare of wellness programs, she introduces a holistic 10-step framework that addresses the core aspects of creating a healthy, vibrant work environment. The book focuses on how to engage employees, build a supportive culture, and integrate wellness into the organizational structure. Putnam emphasizes the importance of leadership involvement, clear communication, and creating a culture where wellness is woven into the fabric of the organization, rather than being seen as an add-on or afterthought.

For People, Culture, and HR professionals, this book is an invaluable resource for professional development in the realm of workplace wellness. It challenges traditional notions of wellness programs and provides innovative, actionable strategies that can be tailored to any organization. The emphasis on a holistic approach ensures that the wellness initiatives are inclusive, sustainable, and aligned with overall organizational goals. "Workplace Wellness that Works" not only equips leaders with the tools to improve employee well-being and productivity but also inspires them to become advocates for a healthier, more engaged workplace.

5. The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations

By Heather R. Younger

The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations

Heather R. Younger, an accomplished leadership consultant and speaker, brings a unique perspective on empathetic and caring leadership. As the founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix, Younger's expertise lies in employee engagement and fostering resilient organizational cultures. Her background in law and her personal experiences have shaped her approach to leadership, emphasizing the power of listening and showing genuine care.

In "The Art of Caring Leadership," Younger argues that the key to successful leadership and high-performing teams lies in showing care and empathy. She explores the transformative impact that leaders can have when they prioritize the emotional wellbeing of their team members. The book provides actionable strategies for leaders to develop their empathetic skills and create environments where employees feel valued, heard, and motivated. Younger's insights are backed by real-world examples and research, making the book a practical guide for compassionate leadership.

For People, Culture, and HR professionals, this book is essential for professional development, particularly in enhancing leadership skills. It underlines the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership roles and offers guidance on how to nurture a caring and inclusive workplace culture. By implementing Younger’s strategies, leaders can improve employee engagement, foster loyalty, and drive organizational success through the power of caring leadership.

6. Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Wellbeing and Boost Bottom Lines

By Jen Fisher and Ahn Phillips

Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Wellbeing and Boost Bottom Lines

Jen Fisher, Deloitte's Chief Well-being Officer, and Ahn Phillips, a researcher and collaborator with the Deloitte Center for Integrated Research, co-author this insightful book. Fisher's expertise in corporate well-being and Phillips' background in research provide a unique blend of practical experience and academic insight. Their combined perspectives offer a comprehensive view of how relationships impact organizational health and productivity.

"Work Better Together" delves into the importance of cultivating strong, positive relationships in the workplace and how they contribute to both individual well-being and organizational success. Fisher and Phillips explore various aspects of workplace relationships, from interpersonal dynamics to digital communication. They provide evidence-based strategies for building trust, fostering collaboration, and creating a supportive work environment. The book is a guide for developing healthy workplace relationships that can withstand the challenges of the modern work environment.

This book is highly relevant to People, Culture, and HR professionals focused on professional development. It highlights the critical role of relationships in achieving workplace well-being and organizational goals. By applying the principles outlined in the book, leaders can enhance team dynamics, improve communication, and create a more cohesive and productive work environment. This resource is invaluable for those looking to strengthen their team’s collaboration and interpersonal skills in a constantly evolving workplace.

7. The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People Like to Work

By Randy Grieser, Eric Stutzman, Wendy Loewen, and Michael Labun

The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People Like to Work

Randy Grieser, Eric Stutzman, Wendy Loewen, and Michael Labun, bring a collective wealth of knowledge and experience in organizational culture and leadership. Grieser, the CEO of ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership, is known for his work in organizational culture and leadership. Stutzman, Loewen, and Labun, also part of ACHIEVE, bring their expertise in training, conflict resolution, and communication, respectively. Their diverse backgrounds contribute to a comprehensive understanding of what makes a workplace culture thrive.

"The Culture Question" explores the fundamental aspects of creating and sustaining a positive workplace culture. The authors focus on practical strategies to cultivate a work environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and happy. They discuss the key elements that contribute to a positive culture, such as leadership practices, team dynamics, and organizational values. The book is filled with real-life examples, research findings, and actionable tips for building a workplace culture that fosters employee satisfaction and productivity.

For professional development, this book is a treasure trove for People, Culture, and HR leaders. It provides a clear framework for understanding and improving organizational culture. By focusing on culture, leaders can create a more engaging and productive workplace, leading to better employee retention, higher job satisfaction, and overall organizational success. The insights and strategies in this book are essential for anyone looking to enhance their leadership skills and build a more positive and effective workplace culture.

8. Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace

By David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson

Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace

David G. Smith, Ph.D., and W. Brad Johnson, Ph.D., both professors and authors, specialize in gender, work, and family issues. Smith, a sociology professor at the U.S. Naval War College, focuses on gender and work, while Johnson, a professor of psychology at the United States Naval Academy, specializes in mentoring and professional development. Their combined expertise offers a well-rounded perspective on gender dynamics in the workplace.

"Good Guys" is a timely and insightful exploration into how men can actively support their female colleagues in the workplace. Smith and Johnson provide a guide for men to become allies in promoting gender equality and inclusivity. The book offers practical advice, backed by research and real-world examples, on how men can understand the challenges women face in the workplace and how they can contribute to creating a more equitable work environment.

This book is particularly relevant for professional development in People, Culture, and HR sectors. It equips male leaders and employees with the knowledge and tools to support and advocate for their female colleagues effectively. By fostering an understanding of the unique challenges faced by women in the workplace, "Good Guys" helps create more inclusive and supportive work environments. This book is essential reading for anyone committed to promoting gender equality and improving workplace dynamics.

9. Reimagining Workplace Well-Being: Fostering a Culture of Purpose, Connection, and Transcendence

By Jessica Grossmeier

Reimagining Workplace Well-Being: Fostering a Culture of Purpose, Connection, and Transcendence

Jessica Grossmeier, a well-respected expert in workplace wellness, brings her extensive experience in health management and research to this insightful book. As the Vice President of Research at the Wellness Council of America, Grossmeier's work focuses on the impact of workplace wellness programs and how they can be optimized for better health outcomes and organizational performance.

"Reimagining Workplace Well-Being" challenges traditional approaches to workplace wellness and advocates for a more holistic and meaningful approach. Grossmeier emphasizes the importance of cultivating a culture that goes beyond physical health to include emotional and social well-being. The book provides a framework for creating a workplace that fosters a sense of purpose, connection, and personal growth, arguing that this approach leads to more sustainable well-being and organizational success.

For People, Culture, and HR professionals, this book offers a fresh perspective on professional development in the realm of workplace wellness. It encourages leaders to think beyond conventional wellness programs and consider the broader aspects of employee well-being. By adopting the strategies outlined in the book, leaders can create a more supportive and engaging work environment, leading to increased employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity. "Reimagining Workplace Well-Being" is an invaluable resource for those looking to elevate their approach to workplace wellness and create a more holistic and fulfilling work experience for their teams.

Empowering Your Leadership Journey: The Path Forward

As we conclude our exploration of these insightful books, it’s clear that the journey toward effective People, Culture, and HR leadership is both challenging and rewarding. Each of these works offers unique perspectives and strategies to enhance workplace environments, emphasizing the importance of mental health, wellbeing, and inclusive cultures. From fostering psychological safety to reimagining workplace wellness, the range of topics covered provides a comprehensive toolkit for today's leaders.

The ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace demands that leaders stay informed and adaptable. These books not only offer a wealth of knowledge but also serve as guides to navigate the complexities of organizational dynamics. They encourage leaders to adopt a holistic approach, balancing the needs of the organization with the wellbeing of each individual. This balance is crucial for cultivating workplaces where innovation, collaboration, and productivity thrive alongside employee satisfaction and engagement.

Furthermore, these resources underscore the importance of continuous learning and development in leadership roles. As you apply these insights and strategies, remember that the journey of professional development is ongoing. It's about constantly seeking new ways to inspire, support, and uplift your teams.

In this spirit of ongoing growth and learning, I encourage you to explore our resource, "What Separates Good Teams from Exceptional Ones?". This asset delves deeper into the elements that transform ordinary teams into extraordinary ones. It's an invaluable read for anyone committed to elevating their team's performance and fostering a culture of excellence. By integrating these learnings, you can further enhance your skills and strategies, ultimately leading to more effective, resilient, and successful teams in your organization.

About the author

Pedro is the content manager of BookClub's Bookshelf Blog. With over a decade in EdTech, Pedro's become the go-to guy for transforming the best of books into engaging blog content. Not only does he have a knack for curating fantastic book lists that keep our readers hooked, but he also has the unique talent of bringing the essence of each book alive on our blog. Pedro might not be a writer by trade, and yes, but don't let that fool you. Having surfed the internet waves since the days before Google existed, he has an unparalleled eye for what makes content truly great. Join Pedro on the Bookshelf Blog as he continues to share book lists, insights, and treasures he finds along his journey.

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