Company leaders will often use ‘culture’ as a buzzword or destination, without recognizing its true influence. A strong, positive culture will inspire, and leave its mark on sales, recruiting, profits, productivity and health. When leadership effectively communicates the company ethos, and employees acknowledge and embody this vision, you can overcome virtually all barriers to reaching your maximum potential.

The question — How healthy can a population be? — is what drives me every day. Arguably, our toughest barriers to achieving maximum employee potential are found in trying to support people’s physical and mental health and well-being. It starts with recognizing the role leaders play in creating a productive organizational culture, and seeing how leadership behaviors impact employee values, beliefs and job satisfaction.

Barriers to Health and Wellness

Discovering how healthy a population can become requires active learning across the board. The goal is worth it for everyone: the best possible mental and physical health achievable.

Employers large and small face similar employee health challenges. Without taking into account benefit plans that incorporate onsite, near-site or shared clinics, or consumer-driven health care, 70 percent of health care dollars go toward chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma. How can employers target and inspire high-risk populations to seek healthy change? The Healthstat culture grew with this question in mind: How can we build a culture that modifies health risks through healthy behavior change?

The first thing I recognized is that culture is an effective driver of clinic utilization, but success depends on both utilization and shared goals. Programs must be patient-centered. An effective clinic model will address acute and preventive care, chronic disease management, wellness and coaching, and occupational medicine. But its next degree of power lies in addressing broader population health needs. Data integration enables personalized care, while telehealth services further increase access.

When it comes to culture-driven behavior change, employers must actively promote wellness classes and health coaching. Empowering employees to use coaching for motivation, nutrition, fitness, and stress management can create a shift from high risk to low risk. For individuals at highest risk, a trusted one-on-one relationship with a clinician, or a clinically trained coach skilled in motivating behavior change, can be the key to finally breaking through. Together, they can devise an action plan that fits into employees’ real lives. The accountability of an onsite coach coupled with a program is very powerful.

Inspire Healthy Change

Company culture should promote autonomy, decision-making and healthy living. Employees thrive when they can build meaningful relationships with managers and co-workers. And when people are mutually engaged with the culture, your company will have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining happy, healthy talent.

Everyone has a role to play in health promotion, through shared values and beliefs. Discovering how healthy a population can become requires active learning across the board. The goal is worth it for everyone: the best possible mental and physical health achievable. This goal also happens to have great side effects for businesses.