Promoting a Culture of Health and Well-being in the Workplace
Some healthy competition may be just what companies need to help their employees achieve healthier, longer and more productive lives. That’s the idea behind the American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index.
The Index, available at no cost to employers, provides an evidence- based approach to measure the comprehensiveness and quality of workplace health programs. It also measures the overall heart health of their employees. Companies can attain gold, silver and bronze status based on how well they meet the American Heart Association’s criteria for implementing high- quality health policies, programs and environmental supports toward a healthier workforce.
Recognizing Healthy Companies Through Healthy Competition
“The Workplace Health Achievement Index was a vision of our CEO Roundtable,” says the Association’s CEO Nancy Brown. “CEOS know that companies respond well to healthy competition, and if they could be recognized for achieving health goals, it would not only raise their level of interest, but also empower them to build healthier workplaces.”
The 30- plus- member CEO Roundtable, led by Henry Kravis, co- CEO and co- chairman of KKR; Terry Lundgren, executive chairman of Macy’s, Inc.; and Brown, represents some of the nation’s largest and most influential corporations and organizations. With scientific guidance by the Association, the group is an incubator for developing innovative solutions to improve workplace health.
Adding an element of recognition raises the stakes while creating a sense of urgency.
“We know companies care a lot about what other organizations are doing,” says Brown. “We know there is a lot of competition in the marketplace to attract and retain the most capable employees. Weaving health into the fabric of their organizations is good business, and CEO Roundtable companies are forerunners in this movement.”
“Our CEO members have collectively pledged to improve the health of our nation’s companies, their employees and communities,” says Kravis. “We’re pleased to see more companies join us on this important mission and help share our collective best practices on workplace health initiatives with all of America’s employers.”
A Culture of Health
The Index creates momentum around the American Heart Association’s mission: to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
“One of the differentiators of the Index is that it provides science and evidence where it hasn’t existed before— about what works and what doesn’t work in the workplace,” says Brown.
The U. S. now spends more on healthcare than any other country, yet it ranks 28th in life expectancy, according to a 2016 Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD) report. Chronic disease prevention and promoting optimal health are essential to improving the health and productivity of the U. S. workforce. A culture of health within the workplace can have a signifi cant impact on the estimated population of 155 million working-age adults.
A Continuous Journey to Improvement
“Actively investing in employee and family health is a business theory that provides two- way benefits,” says Lundgren. “Participating in the Index allows for best practices to be cultivated and shared, with the benefit of real data to support outcomes. It’s no secret that when employees are engaged and energized, they bring their optimum energy to work. At Macy’s, Inc., we’ve cleared traditional hurdles by making programs available to participants at no cost, as well as being easy to access.”
Brown hopes companies will use the Index as a continuous quality improvement journey to satisfy policy and program gaps identified through their assessment. “Implementing evidencebased measures listed in the Index will not only increase their ranking on the Index, it can also have a positive impact on employee health and productivity.”