Develop a Healthy Workplace: 4 Best Practices

What makes for a healthy workplace?

Dr. Ron Goetzel, the Director of the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at Emory University and an expert on healthy workplaces, has researched this question extensively. After investigating thousands of companies, the IHPS selected nine companies that they believe are pioneers in promoting the health and well-being of their worker. It was a proud moment for Next Jump to be listed with companies like Dell, Citibank, L.L. Bean, and Johnson & Johnson as an opportunity to learn from other thought leaders as we continue to develop and grow our wellness program.

While we all have varying business models, demographics, and challenges, the IHPS found several common patterns among the nine companies they selected as implementing “extraordinary workplace wellness” programs:

1) Creating a Culture of Health

  • In all nine companies, wellness is baked into company culture (versus one-off “islands of wellness”). Only a fully integrated vision will engage employees and show impact on population health.
  • These companies create an environment where it is harder to be unhealthy than it is to be healthy. At USA, for instance, they make healthy lunch options much cheaper than unhealthy options.

2) Emotional & Financial Well-Being Matters

  • As part of a truly effective health promotion program, companies offer ongoing learning opportunities that provide employees with techniques for reducing stress, strategies for achieving financial stability & paid time-off for volunteering.

3) The ROI Question

  • Wellness is seen as an investment in Human Capital. Instead of looking at wellness as a fixed benefit justifying the ROI of short-term health care costs, best practice companies quantified the success of health promotion programs as an investment in human capital.
  • Wellness at these companies is more than just a one-off angle at savings; it’s a holistic investment in people.

4) Long Term vs. Short Term

  • Creating a culture of health requires a long term commitment.
  • Citibank comments, “We underestimated how long it would take us. It took five to six years to get up to speed, just in the United States.”

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