Keys to Unlock the Potential of Your Workplace Culture

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HERO collaboration defines a workplace culture of health and identifies 24 key elements to guide employers

Key elements of a workplace culture of health

Leaders who thoughtfully create a culture of health and commit to sustaining it over time can influence the success of worksite health promotion efforts, while helping employees thrive in all areas of life.

Employees today are looking for more from their employer than just a steady paycheck. The cultures and values of a workplace are increasingly important for a generation that looks beyond dollars and cents to measure job satisfaction. But defining and creating a workplace culture that allows employees to not only be healthy, but to succeed and thrive has lacked clear direction until now.

A new collaborative effort from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) identifies 24 key elements employers can use to build an effective workplace culture. The HERO report also includes case studies from prominent employers that have seen positive health and business outcomes from focusing on workplace culture, such as:

  • 90 percent of Stanford University employees called their well-being program “one of the top perks of employment.”
  • 75 percent of eligible Hennepin County employees, spouses, and retirees earned a health program incentive.
  • 64 percent of employees at the University of Michigan said their health and well-being program made the university a great place to work.
  • 43 percent of high-risk participants at Interactive Health improved their health risk status within one year.

Those kinds of results are especially important considering the effects workplace culture can have on health, job satisfaction, and employee retention.

An overview of the HERO collaboration was published recently in The Art of Health Promotion, summarizing an initiative that began in 2013 by defining a healthy workplace culture as “one intentionally designed with elements that support health and well-being.”

The HERO collaboration also used employer surveys, case studies, and a literature review to identify the key elements that are common in companies with a healthy workplace culture, such as executive and managerial leadership, peer relationships, and how the built environment supports healthy choices.

Employers do not need to implement all 24 key elements to have a successful culture, but these elements rarely exist in isolation. And ultimately, the elements an employer uses and how they are integrated define an organization’s unique culture.

“Our research suggests these 24 elements are commonly found in companies that have established longstanding wellness programs that generate healthy outcomes. But it’s important to keep in mind that similar elements can be used in different ways to create a unique culture and experience in a given organization,” said Paul Terry, CEO and president, HERO. “Leaders who thoughtfully create a culture of health and commit to sustaining it over time can influence the success of worksite health promotion efforts, while helping employees thrive in all areas of life.”

Employers can use the HERO Culture of Health definitions and elements to assess their own culture and well-being programs, and to identify opportunities for improvement. To learn more, visit

For more information:
Barbara Tabor, HERO / (+1 651-450-1342) / barbara(at)taborpr(dot)com
About HERO – Based in Waconia, MN, HERO (the Health Enhancement Research Organization) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 corporation that was established in 1997. HERO is dedicated to identifying and sharing best practices that improve the health and well-being of employees, their families and communities. To learn more, visit Follow us on Twitter @heroehm, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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Barbara Tabor
tabor PR
+1 651-230-9192
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