Culture of Health

How Workplace Wellness Builds Culture of Health

As part of its periodic series discussing the Culture of Health, the Health Affairs Blog addresses how to build a culture of workplace health, noting that it’s “More Complicated Than Offering Workers Money To Be Healthy.”

To be clear, the authors (who include Ron Goetzel, Enid Chung Roemer, Rachel Henke, Karen Butcher Kent, Jeffrey Berko, and Kate McCleary) state: “Workplace programs founded on a strong culture of health can positively influence workers’ health and well-being, and do so in a practical, ethical, and legal manner. ”

They further note that “Traditional wellness programs target employees who need to reduce their health risks such as being overweight, not exercising enough, or consuming tobacco products. Addressing these issues is a worthy endeavor and few would argue with the premise that adopting healthy habits leads to lower incidence of disease, lower health care spending, and improved quality of life. Indeed, there is sufficient or strong evidence that workplace health promotion programs, when done rightexert a positive influence on health behaviorsbiometric measureshealth care utilization, and worker productivity. There is also evidence that many of these programs may generate savings that outweigh investment costs.”

However, the main point of the post is how to properly build a culture of health in the workplace. It lists the “Essential Elements For Culture Of Health Programs.”

They state that the “’secret sauce’ ingredients usually include:”

  • “Developing leadership commitment and support”
  • “Establishing specific program goals and expectations”
  • “Employing ongoing strategic communications”
  • “Involving employees in the design and implementation of programs”
  • “Putting in place behavior change programs that are scientifically sound”
  • “Employing effective screening and triage services”
  • “Injecting behavioral economic principles and fun into initiatives”
  • “Measuring and monitoring program achievements across multiple dimensions on an ongoing manner to ensure maximum effectiveness”