Employers know healthy employees are productive employees – and they cost less. It’s no surprise that one third of large U.S. employers have chosen worksite healthcare, and more than two-thirds of U.S. employers currently offer wellness programs. When employers build a culture of wellness with supportive health resources – such as worksite health centers – they play a proactive role in improving employee health. The Washington Post reports that this approach “can help companies reduce health-care costs, cut absentee rates, and perhaps attract top talent.” But, introducing these resources isn’t enough. It’s essential to engage your leadership team to achieve results.
“For a workplace health program to be successful, leadership has a vital role to play. Leadership commitment and support can communicate the purpose and processes of the workplace health program to all levels of the organization.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bill Young, director of benefits, compensation, and risk at Sheetz discusses how leadership engagement improved employee health engagement.
This type of organizational alignment with leadership support, health plan benefit integration, and a vision to create a healthy workforce, can lead to significant changes in the health of the organization.
At our annual Customer Forum, we invited our customers to explain why leadership support is such an essential piece of worksite healthcare’s success. Emily Treske, director of human resources at The Vermont Country Store, shared that worksite healthcare is a whole company initiative, not just a project within the human resources department. “We needed leadership involvement from the jump. We all own this, so we began by developing leadership advocates across the business,” said Treske.
The Vermont Country Store urged leadership involvement to drive employee engagement with the health center. Treske says that when company leadership participates in health and wellness programming, it helps:
- Give employees permission to participate. If they see their manager accessing health services, they too will access services.
- Give credibility to the health and wellness programs.
- Develop advocates across the business, not just the HR team.
- Foster a sense of pride across the workforce.
A recent report by Forbes highlights the role managers and supervisors play in promoting a healthy workplace. “Managers have the opportunity and resources to serve as healthy role models for employees. By giving employees permission to keep their health and well-being a top priority, employees will be much more likely to adopt healthy behaviors at the workplace, such as staying active, making better nutritional choices and engaging in stress-relief activities.”
Supervisors and managers are perfectly positioned to engage the workforce and support health improvement as a business goal.
- They are responsible for follow through and quality control.
- They allocate resources such as time, space, and money.
- As leaders, managers work to create conditions that are conducive to success.
To influence change on an organizational level, supervisors and managers are a key piece of the puzzle. From the c-suite to the production floor, management needs to lead by example. While some employees often need supervisors to grant permission or provide the flexibility to participate in health and wellness resources, many simply need to see their managers walking the walk. Assessing your work environment and how it can foster a culture of employee health improvement is a great place to start.