Being Better Prepared with a Corporate Health Strategy
As companies are struggling to tackle the challenges the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak brings it becomes evident how important it is to have an existing business strategy when it comes to the health of employees. Companies with comprehensive and sustainable health strategies are better prepared to address any unforeseen disease challenges and will generate better business outcomes.
In times like these it is worthwhile to emphasize what a corporate health strategy should entail and revisit the Five Keys to Healthy Workplaces per World Health Organization:
- Compliance with all relevant laws and regulations and the practice of good business ethics.
It is essential to point out for employers to continuously track and comply with applicable health-related codes and laws to ensure existing business practices do no harm and are socially responsible.
- Business leadership is committed to and engaged in creating a healthy workplace.
Next to securing leadership support for programs and related budgets it is essential to have senior leaders and middle management actively participate in health-related activities. This includes incorporating health and wellbeing into corporate business planning from the outset, and not reactively when business continuity is imminently threatened.
- Employees are actively involved in the development and assessment of the program.
A bottom-up approach is just as important to maximize employee involvement and to empower your staff. This goes beyond employee feedback systems and fosters active collaboration from the beginning.
- A continual improvement process is applied to ensure a systematic approach and effective programming.
At the core of a corporate health strategy a continual improvement process is crucial to ensure programs achieve the set goals and advance the strategy in the long term. Unfortunately, many workplace health programs are not rigorously evaluated and employers do not know whether they are effective.
- Program areas are integrated and part of the overall strategic business plan.
In order to maximize impact and leverage resources all health-related programs need to be integrated. This especially applies to human resources (HR) initiatives and health & safety programs. The health and wellbeing strategy should be part of the company business plan and communicated as such by leadership.