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The Secret Sauce of Extraordinary Worksite Wellness Programs

Posted Sep 24 2012 11:19am

Secrets to Wellness Program“The purpose of worksite wellness is not to change people, but to change the culture.”
-Dr. Dee Edington

According to a recent employer survey from Towers Watson , the top focus area of employers' health care strategy in 2013 is to develop a workplace culture where employees are accountable and supported for their health and well-being.

Is creating a supportive culture top on your list? If not, it definitely should be. Research shows that only 20% of employee lifestyle change attempts are successful. But a supportive environment which promotes the health and well-being by "making the healthier choice, the easier choice" can help increase the success rates.

According to Dr. Dee Edington , one of the foremost researchers and advocates for worksite wellness, a supportive culture is the most important element in behavior change. Culture is multi-dimensional. Culture is shaped by everything that happens at your workplace - policies, leadership styles, unspoken rules, employee recognition, and the physical environment.

So how do you move toward a culture of health? Here are the five essential ingredients to creating an environment that supports healthy behavior:

  • Leadership and commitment
  • A comprehensive set of programs
  • Ongoing promotion and communication
  • Use of incentives (both carrots and sticks)
  • Participation and outcome metrics

Culture can be the difference maker, between success and failure, to changing long-term healthy behavior. Companies will be successful when they focus on supporting employees to change rather than trying to "fix them".

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