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Why should you engage your employees in their health?

It’s good for them, for your company and for the community. The connection between health and well-being and overall productivity and profitability is well established.[1],[2],[3] Increasingly, employers offer benefits for the whole person, recognizing how physical and mental health are connected. Employers who support employees as they cultivate good health habits reap the benefits: less absenteeism, great morale and enhanced productivity.

What can employers do to cultivate a culture of health?

Laurel and Todd Mickelson
  • Walk the walk: Get leaders engaged. If your company encourages employees to walk more, they need to see the CEO and their managers walking, not driving, across the campus or down the block.
  • Foster peer-to-peer support: Identify the natural leaders from the C-suite, management and within the staff and nurture them as “health champions.” 
  • Communicate all year: Want to keep your employees healthy 365 days a year? Then talk to them about health all year long. A culture of health isn’t limited to open enrollment, and it can’t be solely focused on your health benefit plan design.[7] Think about your company culture overall: What can you do to keep a healthy lifestyle top-of-mind all year long?
  • Make it easy to be healthy: Healthy activities must be convenient and accessible. Keep healthy foods in vending machines. Ensure stairwells are well-lit to encourage use. Think about the foods you serve in the cafeteria, during breaks and during meetings. Identify ways to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

[1] Lerner, Debra, Benjamin Amick, et al. “Relationship of Employee-Reported Work Limitations to Work Productivity,” Medical Care. 41.5 (2003): 649-659.
[2] Coopman, Cheryl, Kenneth Pelletier, et al. “Stanford Presenteeism Scale: Health Status and Employee Productivity,” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 44.1 (2002): 14-20.
[3] Robertson, I., R. Cooper. “Full engagement: the integration of employee engagement and psychological well-being,” Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 324-336, 2010.
[4] AON Hewett Consumer Health Mindset Study 2016
[5] “Health Champions,” Human Resource Executive Online, March 7, 2014.
[6] Aldana SG, Anderson DR, Adams TB, et al. “A Review of the Knowledge Base on Healthy Worksite Culture.” Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Volume 54 (2012), accessed at http://www.healthworks.com.au/culture_paper_final.pdf
[7] AON Hewett Consumer Health Mindset Study 2016

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