Build a Culture of Health

build-a-culture-of-healthA culture of health means that employees’ health and well-being are valued, supported and promoted through workplace wellness programs, policies and environments.1–6 A culture of health has been described as the soil in which the seeds of healthy workplace initiatives are planted, underlying all health promotion efforts.6 It extends beyond individual health improvement programs, becoming an integral part of the way the organization operates.1–3 To build a culture of health, encourage company leaders to visibly demonstrate their support for healthy programs (e.g., take part in “lunch and learn” programs), issue communications that show employee wellness is important to the company (e.g., the company mission statement incorporates employee wellness as a main goal of the organization) and make sure employees feel comfortable joining company wellness initiatives (e.g., employees are encouraged to take a 30 minute break for physical activity, and they are assured that this will not be viewed as “slacking off” or “goofing around”).7–12 Other important components of a culture of health include rewards and recognition for making healthy choices, discouraging unhealthy behavior, teaching healthy skills, making people aware of all the programs and activities that support wellness, providing and encouraging peer support and developing wellness leaders who shape the wellness programs.6 This culture should be present in all aspects of company life, becoming a routine part of your business operations and aligning with overall company goals and existing company culture.