Building a company-wide culture of health and developing an effective communications strategy are characteristic of companies with outstanding workplace health promotion programs, according to a report in the February Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Dr. Ron Goetzel and colleagues of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health performed an updated review to identify "emerging best practices" in workplace health promotion. Their inquiry, including roundtable discussions with subject matter experts and site visits to companies recognized for exemplary workplace wellness efforts, highlighted two elements:

Culture of health. "Building a culture of health means integrating health into the way an organization operates, thinks, and acts...requir[ing] sustained efforts on a number of fronts," write Dr. Goetzel and coauthors. They emphasize the need for leadership commitment, an environment that is physically and socially supportive of health at all levels, and active employee involvement in shaping health promotion efforts.

Strategic communications. Communications play a central role in educating and motivating employees to improve their health, marketing program offerings, and building trust. Effective communications strategies are "tailored and targeted, multichanneled, and bi-directional, with optimum timing frequency, and placement of messages."

"Increased efforts are needed to disseminate lessons learned from employers who have built a culture of health and excellent communications strategies and apply them more broadly in workplace settings," Dr. Goetzel and colleagues conclude. They hope that learning about these and other best practices will assist the growing number of companies seeking to increase productivity and decrease costs by building a healthier workforce.

Citation — Kent K, Goetzel RZ, Roemer EC, Prasad A, Freundlich N. Promoting healthy workplaces by building cultures of health and applying strategic communications. J Occup Environ Med. 2016;58(2):114-22.

About ACOEM — ACOEM (, an international society of 4,500 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.

About the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine — The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine ( is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.