Creating Social Value Blog / Corporate Social Relevance

Advancing a Culture of Health

For the past two decades, health has been identified as the number one social issue affecting business management.  Premiums have doubled over the past decade while coverage has decreased.  At the other end of the spectrum, some highly successful companies have invested in new health, wellness, and fitness practices that might pay dividends if they were more widespread. Instead of focusing on disease, limits, and costs, can we focus on wellness, potential, and benefits?  Can we develop a culture of health in the workplace?

To answer these questions, Babson College and IO Sustainability (IO), in association with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), have embarked on a research project to identify the financial and wider business returns from investing in activities that promote a Culture of Health for employees and communities. The work builds upon the landmark research, Project ROI: Determining the Financial and Competitive Returns from Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability.

A key component of this project is to create a Business Advisory Council for Health (BACH) made up of a select number of business experts from leading companies across a range of industries to provide important feedback. The BACH will focus on strategies to increase the health of employees and communities across income strata, reduce organizational and individual risks and costs, and make building a culture of health a crucial component of business success.

Next week we’ll be convening the first meeting of the BACH here at Babson, already at 18 members representing a cross section of industries and locations. Together we’ll explore the role of business in advancing a culture of health and share practices and challenges on efforts to promote health and wellness for employees and communities. We look forward to gathering together to begin this next chapter of real-time, action research.