Healthy work ethics

Creating and sustaining healthy employees

Employee health takes priority
A healthy office culture

The Consumer Health Mindset finds there are many factors that go into creating and sustaining a strong culture of health. When analyzing the survey results, four factors appear most influential and should be strongly considered by employers looking to improve their health culture:  

• Make health improvement a priority within the organisation. Employers should demonstrate to consumers that they support workplace initiatives that improve employee health, not only those that might save money. According to the report, 94 percent of employees in organisations with strong cultures of health say health and wellness programs are a good business investment, while only 60 percent of those in weak cultures agree.

• Actively encourage healthy activities during the workday. To start, organizations should think through a day in the life of their employees and identify and remove barriers to good health choices and habits. For example, they may allow employees to attend wellness programs during work hours, incorporate walking and standing meetings or provide access to foods that are healthy and drive creative energy to support employee focus and performance. In addition, manager support makes a significant difference. Sixty-six percent of employees at organizations with strong cultures of health report that their direct managers support their efforts to achieve their health goals, compared with 11 percent of employees at organizations with weak cultures of health.

• Lead by example. The report shows the number one characteristic influencing perceptions of a weak culture of health were leaders who do not actively encourage employee health or serve as role models. To ensure employees are feeling supported in their health efforts, employers should find and celebrate employee role models and invite them to tell their stories and visibly help others. For example, companies may look for senior executives who are willing to be transparent about a health struggle or achievement or who would agree to be photographed or videotaped working out or making healthy choices in the cafeteria.

• Recognize progress and results. According to the report, recognition had the fourth highest influence in driving perceptions of a strong health culture and, conversely, the lack of recognition had the second highest impact in driving perceptions of weak culture of health. Organizations should celebrate employees who have made significant health strides and think about creating health competitions with meaningful rewards to generate excitement and participation.

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This edition

Issue 16


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  • Marieando Bruwer Jones
  • Vuyiswa Fako
  • Sedsa South-Africa
  • Isabel Lottering