How “healthy” is your company?

ChickHoldingFlowersYou probably first think of how profitable or financially successful the business is. That sort of “healthy” is, without a doubt, extremely important. But what about in other terms? When you think of the “health” of your company, do you think about the culture, working conditions, or wellbeing of employees?

Many employers feel that it is not their business to be concerned about the “wellness” of their employees, or may feel employees do not welcome the concern of their employer. However, the “health” of your employees can make a huge impact on the “health” of your company, financial and otherwise.

The word “wellness” can be a positive word to some employees, and a negative for others. However, all employees can probably agree that working where they feel appreciated and valued, working around others who enjoy their job, and having access to resources that help them and their families is important. This is wellness. This is a “healthy” company.

But how do you get there? It doesn’t happen overnight, but taking even a few steps in the right direction can have a big payoff for your employee productivity, retention, and company “health”. Start by finding out what is important to your employees. Don’t guess, just ask. You may be surprised what you learn. Just the fact that you ask the question will take you one step closer to having your employees feeling their value to the company.

Create a small team to address one or two of their concerns. If needed, contract with an expert to help you come up with solutions that fit your company business and budget. It is an important investment that you will see return on investment through employee dedication and loyalty.

Johnson Machine Works is a steel fabrication business in Chariton, Iowa that has embraced this concept with great success. This type of industry typically has traditionally struggled with health and wellness programming because of the mindset that these are hard working men and women, and it is not the role of the employer to interfere with their health. However, finding out what is important to the employees, changing the culture of the workplace, and addressing employee health has had a tremendous impact on all areas of the company. In an interview with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Jeff Johnson from Johnson Machine Works said, “We’ve got amazing results, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with our wellness efforts. I guess my advice would be to just get started. Take one step at a time, and get going.”


Written by: Lynette Kooker, Director of Wellness for Focus OneSource

Lynette is an experienced health promotion professional, with experience creating and implementing wellness strategies for a wide variety of industries and organizations, including higher education, public sector, health care, professional, manufacturing, and not-for-profit.  Lynette possesses unique experience in creating successful strategies for widely dispersed and hard-to-reach populations. Lynette is a Certified Health Education Specialist, with a MS degree in Health Education from the University of Kansas and a BS degree in Physical Education from Iowa State University.

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