Healthy Culture, Healthy Bottom Line

By Steve Chevarria

Your workplace culture plays an important role in becoming a high performing organization.  The key drivers of a healthy workplace culture include both individual/employee and organizational characteristics. The combination of these two factors determines levels of morale as well as performance. At the individual and organizational levels the critical factors include appraisal and recognition, co-worker interaction, employee development, goal alignment, participative decision-making, supportive leadership and work climate.  A healthy culture is also one that supports and embraces the virtues of fairness, respect, mutual trust, timely and candid communication, and clear expectations in all areas of organizational strategy.  A healthy culture embodies the concept that employees are the greatest asset in the organization.  But these factors alone will not create a healthy bottom line for your organization nor will it make happy, healthy, more productive employees.  Organizations have recognized the need to utilize wellness programs to improve the health of the employees.  When employees are healthy, the culture has a greater chance of being healthier.

A reasonably healthy culture is the foundation for providing the best conditions for employees to be most successful at achieving a positive, sustainable, healthy behavior change.  Organizations trying to implement wellness programs need to know there is not a one-size fits all approach.  You must look at what is unique to your organization, and then address those unique workplace culture challenges.

Fortunately, a healthy culture can support positive changes without undermining individual initiative.  Most smokers have tried to quit.  Almost all overweight people have attempted diets. Most inactive people have set goals for physical activity.  And when they have attempted to change their behavior, they have filed because most have not been able to changed their environment:   their culture.  The objective is to create a workplace where those new positive practices will be sustainable.  Employees are most likely to change a health behavior when supported by their peers, driven by healthy initiatives and backed by corporate policies.

A healthy culture features norms that make it easier for people to maintain healthy lifestyles.  Businesses are more likely to be healthy when their people are healthy.

Steve Chevarria is the co-founder and CEO of Pansalus Consulting, a wellness consulting firm that works with companies to make wellness work.  Steve is a 1999 graduate of The University of Colorado, Boulder, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications and Kinesiology.

Steve is a health, wellness, and injury management professional, with over fifteen years of experience.  Steve is a licensed, allied healthcare professional who has worked with several collegiate athletic sports programs and professional sports teams including hockey and baseball.

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