MHealthy Builds a Positive Culture, One Manager at a Time

You know MHealthy – they’re behind Active U, Facebook recipe posts, Yoga in the Big House, and the financial incentives you can earn through MHealthy Rewards for doing healthy activities each year.

These programs (and many more) contribute to a culture of health and well-being at U-M. But did you know that MHealthy also trains managers and supervisors to help build this culture from the ground up?

“Leaders Creating a Culture at Its Best,” MHealthy’s manager training program, teaches participants how to create thriving work teams where health and well-being contribute to success. The program is offered free of charge to U-M managers and supervisors. Individual departments can also request custom workshops to help address the specific and unique health and well-being challenges facing their unit, such as time constraints and the physical environment.

Meeting a need for manager training

MHealthy developed the program in response to data showing strong support for well-being programs among top-level leadership and individuals, but a need for more concrete strategies among mid-level leaders. Today, the program focuses on U-M’s eight-dimensions of well-being, using Adrian Gostick’s formula that values plus behavior equals culture.

A high demand for the trainings reflects the appeal of this holistic approach. Since August 2016, more than 600 managers and supervisors have participated in the program, representing areas as diverse as Michigan Dining, AFSCME and Michigan Medicine Urology.

A commitment to change

At each half-day workshop, managers and supervisors learn to identify behaviors associated with the eight areas of well-being: physical, emotional/mental, environmental, financial, occupational, social, intellectual and spiritual. The workshops are highly interactive, engaging attendees through tools from Liberating Structures, journaling and – as you might expect from MHealthy – movement.

“MHealthy as a team has really come together to offer these workshops,” says Melissa Lagodzinski, who leads the program in collaboration with Leola Hearing and Sherry Hudson.  “We try to have an MHealthy staff member as a facilitator at every table to lead discussion and guide activities.”

The trainings tend to attract some managers who already do a lot with health and well-being as well as those who are struggling. Pairing up these two types of participants can produce new insights and creative strategies to normalize healthy behaviors in the workplace. At the end of each session, participants commit to at least one new strategy to take back to their teams.

Building a positive culture

While “Leaders Creating a Culture at Its Best” focuses specifically on health and well-being, participants take away a broader set of skills for creating an inclusive workplace.

“One thing I’ve noticed is how much participants respond to the mental and emotional aspects of well-being, including daily practices like gratitude and kindness,” says Lagodzinski. “The way these things connect to our overall health hasn’t always been obvious for people.”

Marsha Manning, manager of medical benefits for the university and a former participant, agrees. “This course addresses workplace culture and creating an environment where team members can thrive and achieve their goals – whatever those goals are. The focus on understanding the diversity of employees and creating an environment that supports this diversity is really valuable for leaders at every level across the organization.”

Want to learn more?

To participate in an upcoming workshop, register now for the May 2, May 23 or September 20 sessions at Palmer Commons. You can also contact Melissa Lagodzinski about creating a custom workshop for your unit.

Visit the MHealthy website to learn more.