How healthy is your organisational culture? December 5th, 2012, by Ken Buckley

Workplace health audits

So you’ve identified your employees’ major health issues with a targeted PHA and you’ve got your leaders and employees all geared up and chomping at the bit for their fabulous new workplace health program, and now you’re all ready to go, right?

Not quite yet. There’s one more thing you need to assess, as part of the four step process of Prepare, Assess, Plan & Implement and Evaluate.  You need to assess your organisational culture – the norms and values which might be holding your employees back from improving their health.

Think about it — you want to help your employees slower their stress levels, so you provide engaging valuable information on mental health, you organise seminars, you give them campaigns and activities to show them in easy steps how to improve positive thinking. But yet, back in the real world of their workplace, their manager sends them emails at all hours of the evening; they feel they have to work through their lunch break; and their request for a day off is refused yet again.

Such actions are all part of your organisational culture, and are often entrenched further by formal policies, or lack thereof.

An unhealthy culture can create real barriers and blocks for employees trying to become healthier and more productive.

How to assess your culture’s health

There are lots of different tools out there for taking a “culture audit” or analysing how innovative, or agile, or collaborative or [insert buzzword here] your culture is. But what you need, as the Health & Wellness, WHS or HR Manager, is a way to assess whether your culture is conducive to health.

Ideally, you want some guidance on things you should have in place that are proven to encourage healthy habits – physical things such as bike racks and fridges in the kitchen; policy things such as flexible work arrangements; or operational things such as a Wellness Committee.

At Healthworks, we looked all around a few years ago for a good assessment guide as to what makes a workplace healthy, and we couldn’t find one. So a while back, we developed our own Corporate Health Checklist – you may have previously downloaded it from the box on the right (now replaced with our Planning to Party ebook. Give us a call on 1300 90 10 90 if you want a copy of the original Checklist.)

This Checklist was so popular, that we’ve since developed a far more comprehensive and interactive culture audit.

It’s called the Checklist to Change, and we created it in partnership with the founder of WellSteps, our new workplace health and wellness system.

An excerpt from Checklist To Change (33 questions in all)

The Checklist to Change

The Checklist to Change guides you through the process of identifying barriers and opportunities to a healthier workplace.

It helps you consider ways to encourage your employees to be more physically active, eat better and find more work-life balance.

The Checklist asks the right probing questions, such as employee access to showers after exercise, opportunities for group sport at lunchtime, ways to improve the nutrition of food served in canteens,  vending machines and management’s commitment to work-life balance. It then takes it one step further, and provides comprehensive advice, ideas and resources to help you make real visible and effective improvements to your culture.

The Checklist to Change is part of our new WellSteps workplace health system, and is usually only available to WellSteps subscribers.

However, for an introductory time, we’re offering our loyal blog readers a sneak preview.

If you’d like to see and use the Checklist to Change, just give us a call on 1300 90 10 90 or send us an email, and we’ll arrange access for you.


This is blog is the 9th in our series on how to deliver a successful workplace health & wellness program. You can see our first blog in the series here. Our next blog looks at best practices in planning and implementing your health & wellness program

Healthworks provides more than 80 services and products to help you improve your employees’ health and productivity. Visit our website or email us now to find out more. 

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