Culture of Health

Keys to Creating ‘Culture of Health’

Workplace wellness works best when a company maintains a “culture of health.” We’ve reported often on this trend, including here, here, and here.

Now, Rebecca Ellison, Knox County (TN) Health Department Nutritionist, offers ways that companies can improve their health cultures.

In the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Ellison writes: ” 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.”

So how can a company become best-in-class around creating that elusive culture of health?

Writes Ellison: ” You can begin by examining your organization’s culture. ‘What is the culture of my workplace? What are its core values? Are employees happy and positive? Do they feel empowered? Is there a sense of community? Is health a priority? Is it easy or very difficult to make healthy decisions at work? Do policies support and promote or discourage good health? What about the environment?’”

Ellison offers useful tips to companies that want to implement tactics immediately. Many of these are the same tactics that should be integrated into a comprehensive, well-run wellness program. They include:

  • Healthy vending and catering policies
  • Ensure that bike racks are “conveniently and safely located for your employees to use for promoting alternative transportation.”
  • Maintain and enforce drug- and smoke-free workplace policies.
  • Some businesses “choose to offer an on-site fitness facility or discounted memberships at local gyms”
  • Allowing for and promoting “walk and talk” meetings

Finally, leadership matters. As Ellison notes: ” Having senior leadership and middle managers who promote and support work/life balance, stress reduction and other health initiatives is a necessary component when creating a culture of health at your worksite.”