Business of Well-being

The Role of Corporate Culture in Creating a Health and Wellness Team

A corporate culture often focuses on behaviors, beliefs, and the values of an organization. Executives are responsible for articulating and communicating values, which support the culture of the organization and for setting a standard for the general attitude and conduct of the individuals within the organization in line with the corporate philosophy.

When companies have a clearly defined corporate culture, it creates a roadmap for employees to focus on and creates a sense of collaboration and team building. When a community is created, it results in an organization building corporate ideas and goals and ultimately leads to company success.

Corporate wellness programs are designed to nurture employees no matter where they are within the corporate structure or the environment in which they may work. Wellness programs can be found in small and large companies, from entry level to C suite participants.

The scope of involvement is only made successful by finding common threads along the diverse line of individuals who you wish to engage. No matter where an individual is within the structure, the common thread is that of the company's culture based on its vision and mission for future sustainability, profitability and growth.

Therefore, when developing a corporate health program, it is imperative that a company integrates corporate culture and creates opportunities that meet the needs of participants. When exploring the aspects of a corporate culture which will be in synergy with corporate health and wellness, it helps to develop an initial review and analysis with your health and wellness team.

This team should evaluate the demographics of the company and the needs of those working within the company, including entry-level workers to the CEO. This data is reviewed and analyzed by the medical team while collaborating with those business people within the company to help devise a program, which will address the needs of employees.

This collaborative process will allow for a greater long term value on for both the company and employee. The creation of the wellness team is critical to short and long term success of the program. Pulling in outside experts to assist in devising and implementing programs may be needed to work with the internal company members.

Experts who understand the business of health, such as drivers for the cost of health care plans, as well as health issues that participants have will demonstrate capability in creating drivers, developing, implementing, tracking and making recommendations for positive change.

There is not one single wellness program that works for every company as each company has a unique company culture. Optimizing the value garnered by the participant and the company typically depends on how well the environment and participants are evaluated prior to development, how strategies are set, if communication is clear and how well the system is implemented.

Companies need a clear and concise tracking method in regards to both the return and value on investment for both sides. The integration of your corporate culture and specific needs will help maximize the return on your investment. The integration of culture and the needs of your employees will help maintain the buy in.

Outside team members with specific medical - business expertise can often provide input in the development of a focused program that internal members may not provide by themselves. Whatever team you choose to lead your corporate wellness programs, they should be capable of streamlining the use of corporate funds to develop programs provided within your budget.

There should also be an overlap of any possible resources to lower the costs of programs. Lower costs are only made evident after long-term evaluations of the program with ongoing modifications are reviewed.

Having a corporate culture and wellness program that is integrated allows participants to have an edge in the marketplace. Mutual benefits of wellness programs include some of the following:

  • A company's active involvement in the pursuit of wellness aids in attracting good workers in the midst of a competitive marketplace. Integrating corporate culture in your wellness program can create a competitive advantage over your competitors, as this will become embedded in the participants via the wellness program.
  • Improve employee morale and foster organizational commitment based on using the company vision and mission to improve overall health and wellness of employees. When members of an organization identify with the corporate culture, the work environment is often more enjoyable, which boosts employee morale and has an impact on employee behavior. There is no dispute that happy and productive employees are often more innovative contributors to company growth and profitability.
  • Using company culture to develop a non-threatening platform like health and wellness to allow collaboration on all levels within the corporate structure has the potential to reduce conflict and build goodwill towards management. Conflict threatens relationships and cohesiveness in the corporate culture.  When individuals in the company make a positive contribution to reduce conflict, organizations often focus on other areas of priority, such as retention, productivity, and innovation because they fit into the company culture and overall strategy.
  • Reduce healthcare expenses. Companies that integrate education and prevention into its wellness programs and corporate culture often see a reduction in healthcare expenses. Many companies that provide health screenings and challenges that help people make positive modifications in their behavior, such as exercising more frequently and altering their diet have healthier contributors to the company, which ultimately impacts the economic implications of the company and the employees.

Multidisciplinary teams that focus on the development of a corporate health and wellness program based on the company culture and specific needs of the participants should lead to greater return as well as value on investment.

About The Authors

Sheila E. Woodhouse, MD, MBA FAC

Sentikon is a business consulting firm creating value in the synergy that exists between health/wellness and various industries. Dr. Woodhouse is a practicing cardiologist with business expertise and a lean six sigma certification.  Consumer engagement, marketability, healthcare technology & reform, product, and program development are some areas of focus.

Stacey LaRue, RNSentikon Consulting, LLC Director of Corporate Health and Wellness Director of Policy and Procedures.

Stacey has been in the healthcare for over 20 years. She is involved in management, developing guidelines, implementing educational programs, and chairing of various policy and employee directed committees.  She continues to work with health insurance companies devising, and implementing cost efficient protocols and procedures for employees and consumers.

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