culture of health workplace wellness

Case Study: Culture of Health Shows Benefits of Practicing What You Preach

We have reported previously on the important ways that a well-run workplace wellness program can help drive a “culture of health” within a workplace.

We noted that the HERO Culture of Health Committee “works to define what a culture of health means. A workplace culture of health has elements specifically designed to support health and well-being, from physical health to emotional and social well-being.” Further, HERO created this video to explain the concept.

That positive health culture can help improve employee engagement as well as a company’s bottom line, according to Rebecca Ellison, a Knox County (TN) Health Department Nutritionist. In the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Ellison wrote: ” Studies show that businesses with the most engaged employees perform 10 percent better on customer ratings, 22 percent better in profitability and 21 percent better in productivity. These companies also see significantly lower turnover, absenteeism, safety incidents and quality defects. For the 2014 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, 2013 revenues increased by an average of 22.2 percent. Therefore, it pays to have a workplace that values its employees and their well-being.”

We also know the expression: Practice what you preach.

The American Journal of Health Promotion recently ran “The Art of Health Promotion,” coedited by Jessica Grossmeier, PhD, MPH of HERO. It includes a series of organizational case studies that “Illustrate Culture of Health Elements.”

One case study features Interactive Health, which, in addition to providing well-run workplace wellness programs “has also provided a comprehensive wellness solution for their own employees and spouses for more than a decade. As such, good health is not only a part of Interactive Health’s business proposition, it is the norm of the company culture.”

The report notes several key “Culture of Health” elements. One of them: Executive and organizational leadership.

“Examples of the CEO’s Inspire Health, Lead the Way culture-enhancing elements include:”

  •  CEO health communication letters sent to employees before the launch of health initiatives;
  • CEO hosted quarterly town hall meetings with employ- ees, which focus on wellness program offerings;
  • CEO meetings with managers, which include the promo- tion of the wellness program, status updates, and the outcomes of wellness inititiatives.

The piece notes that Cathy Kenworthy, the chief marketing and analytics officer and former president and chief executive officer “is a key influencer in this CoH.”

Said Kenworthy: “I am living proof in our organization that knowledge is power and curiosity about one’s health leads to better health. By participating in a health evaluation as a new employee at Interactive Health, I learned that I had an addressable but impactful health issue that needed attention. This was in spite of a diligent commitment to routinely seeing my primary care physician. I am very grateful to be a part of an organization where we work as a team to support and encour-age one another to be ‘in the know’ about our health.”

Tomorrow, we’ll address additional key elements, as well as some of the results identified in the case study.