What if employers recognized that the health of their workers is vital to the success of the business and made determined efforts to create a work environment that is conducive to adopting good health habits? What if establishing a culture of health was the norm for companies, not the exception, and business leaders proclaimed that one central purpose of their organization is to have employees leave their jobs each day in better health than when they first arrived? 

Well, it so happens that many businesses throughout the U.S. have created cultures of health and have sustained those cultures over long time periods. As a result, these organizations have positively impacted the health and well-being of workers while simultaneously improving the company’s bottom line. In a project supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), we set out to identify some exemplar companies that have embraced health promotion as a business imperative and created truly successful wellness programs with measurable results. The project, entitled Promoting Healthy Workplaces, aims to use the experiences of those employers to pinpoint the key ingredients necessary for designing, implementing, maintaining, and evaluating successful workplace health promotion programs. The companies we visited earned distinction by winning prestigious national awards or, in some instances, were recommended to us by experts because of innovations they introduced in workplace wellness.  

Our mission was to learn, first-hand, how these employers implemented effective and sustainable health promotion programs.  Along the way, we wanted to find out how wellness was “sold” to senior management; which program design elements were most important; operations challenges faced; mistakes made; and how success was measured. On this blog, we share detailed examples of successful workplace programs and the insights we gained by talking to corporate executives, program managers, and front-line employees. Not only are our stories about these companies’ achievements, but also about lessons learned along the path to achieving sustainable cultures of health. Enjoy! 

Written with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation