Workplace culture is everything. How healthy is yours?

Blog – November 9, 2017


Mary Marzec

Mary Marzec

Culture helps determine the performance of any organization. A supportive Culture of Health can be directly linked to productivity, safety and employee engagement.

While employers are exploring new ways to increase productivity and retain talent, employees are asking more of their employers than ever before. This has a significant impact on workplace culture. A supportive culture for health is vital to making employees feel valued and not just a means to the bottom line. The key is to create alignment around a healthy culture initiative throughout the organization. Otherwise, the initiative can seem insufficient and superficial. That alignment does not have to be perfect; people understand that it’s a workplace, not Utopia. But being authentic and transparent about an intention to support employees makes a difference in creating and sustaining a healthy culture.

While there are multiple factors that can influence the success or failure of a Culture of Health, these are the most essential:



The leaders of any organization set the tone and expectations within the workplace. If leaders demonstrate healthy habits and visible support for well-being programs, it is more likely that the employees will do the same. Employee participation and engagement rates are closely related to leadership and management support of a well-being program within the workplace.


Supportive Workplace Policies

Policies that support healthy behaviors can help drive momentum by helping employees stay on track with their own health goals. When a Culture of Health is embedded in a workplace’s policies, people are more likely to work healthy behaviors into their everyday lives.


Manager and Peer Support

Encouraging social health to promote healthy behavior is critical for creating a workplace Culture of Health. An environment in which managers support health and well-being, and co-workers are made to feel comfortable talking about their health journeys, can create a supportive and trustworthy Culture of Health.


Comprehensive Wellness Programs

Well-being is more than physical health. It encompasses mental health, emotional health, social health, financial health and more. A comprehensive well-being program addresses them all,

employing research-backed behavior change theory and smart incentive design to encourage meaningful, habit-forming changes.


Features in the Physical Environment

Examples of features in the workplace’s physical environment that encourage healthy behaviors include a meditation room, walking paths, adjustable standing desks and healthier food in the employee cafeteria.


In addition, important aspects of a healthy workplace culture are often overlooked, such as employee trust in the organization, workplace stress and job security among employees. For example, employees may not participate in well-being initiatives in times of job insecurity, as they may not want to be seen with “extra time on their hands.” By capturing information on underlying dynamics, these issues can also be addressed.

Even the best, most well-intentioned well-being programs will languish in an unsupportive culture. But a supportive, vital Culture of Health will pay immediate and ongoing dividends.

How has your organization created a successful Culture of Health? We’d love to hear from you. Write us at [email protected] and share your story.