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.”

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