Culture of Health

Cul-ture /ˈkəlCHər/of Health/helTH/“The creation of a working environment where employee health and safety is valued, supported and promoted through workplace health programs, policies, benefits, and environmental supports. Building a Culture of Health involves all levels of the organization and establishes the workplace health program as a routine part of business operations aligned with overall business goals. The results of this culture change include engaged and empowered employees, an impact on health care costs, and improved worker productivity.”  - Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Is Culture of Health Needed to Successfully Communicate?

In a 2012 MBGH Culture Survey, 80% of employers who rated their culture of health as “adequate” or “poor," also reported having an “adequate” or “poor” communications strategy. This can indicate that a culture of health may be helpful to ensuring a successful strategy. 

When creating a communication strategy, an organization should pay special attention to their population’s preferred communication methods and frequency of delivery and create targeted communications wherever possible.  Also, when rolling out a communications strategy, the following key elements of a culture of health should be kept in mind: 

  1. Leadership commitment - Coordination and involvement of all levels of an organization to support the effort – Executive, Mid-Level and Supervisors
  2. Supportive personnel policies - Advocate for optimal health, trust and mutual respect
  3. Cross-functional teams - To enhance an organization’s decision-making process while reducing duplication of efforts through a siloed approach
  4. Support a positive psychosocial environment - Encouraging a healthy lifestyle
  5. Promote the positive impact of your employee benefit design strategy - A key element to engaging employees and their families 

While some organizations may not have all these elements in place, even having one or two can help support their efforts towards developing a culture of health and can serve as an important foundation to a successful communications strategy.  

In recent years, MBGH employer members have cited Culture of Health as one of their top three employee health management priorities.   In a MBGH 2011 employer benchmarking survey: 5
2% of employer’s rate their culture of health as Fair and 45% indicate it as Good. Only 3% see it as Excellent.

                 Barriers cited for creating a culture of health include:
  • 47% - employee skepticism of company’s health improvement efforts
  • 33% - insufficient budget
  • 33% - lack of senior leadership support 

In addition, in 2012 employers were again asked about having a culture of health and rated the effectiveness of the following key elements: