Chambers of commerce and business associations are increasingly promoting and supporting the implementation of employer-led innovative workplace programs and policies that encourage employees to adopt healthier lifestyles. This is because the benefits of workplace wellness initiatives far outweigh their cost. Not only do these initiatives help employees adopt healthy work-life habits, but they also produce more productive employees, help attract and retain talent, build staff morale, combat employee absenteeism, minimize staff turnover and reduce healthcare costs for employers—and ultimately improve the bottom line for businesses. Download the EAD's Frameworks Toolkit for more talking points on Workplace Wellness initiatives: Championing Health and Wellness - Frameworks for Chambers of Commerce.
Health and Wellness Communications
ACCE's Education Attainment Division (EAD)
has created a series of briefs for chamber professionals to disseminate to their members and broader community to explain how businesses can support healthy communities and healthy economies. Click here to download the briefs.
Chambers Leading Workplace Wellness Initiatives
See all examples of Health and Wellness Initiatives in ACCE's Samples Library
or view highlighted resources listed below.
- The Castle Rock (CO) Chamber of Commerce provides a Worksite Wellness program for its members, which stresses how organizations that foster health and safety at work have healthier, happier employees - and healthier bottom lines.
- The Charlotte (NC) Chamber of Commerce and the Healthy Charlotte Council is excited to offer the Healthy Charlotte Toolkit that aims to improve the Charlotte area's employees’ health and wellness and also help create a culture of well-being throughout the workplace. This award-winning program was among nine programs around the country awarded funding in 2016 as part of the inaugural year of the innovative GE HealthyCities Leadership Academy.
- The Frederick County (MD) Chamber of Commerce and Frederick Regional Health System (FRHS) created a Business Health Manager (BHM) position. The chamber is committed to Business Health in the county. The BHM is an RN working out of the Chamber of Commerce. The position is funded by the Frederick Regional Health System. The BHM serves as President of the Frederick Health Care Coalition Board. The Coalition is comprised of public, private and civic organizations and focuses on improving the availability, accessibility and affordability of quality heat care to persons of need in the county. The BHM also serves on the School Health Council and The Commission on Aging Business Task Force, which provides forums for professional and lay members of the community representing diverse interests, opinions and values. The BHM leads the Worksite Wellness Committee at the Chamber to help employers build and evolve their wellness programs.
- The Greater Des Moines (IA) Partnership has developed several online Health and Wellness Toolkits, which features poster downloads that outline wellness tips, facts, and resources employees can utilize in their day-to-day lives, in support of Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative.
- The Greater Kansas City (MO) Chamber of Commerce created Healthy KC Workplace Wellness, an initiative that focuses on creating a regional workplace health and wellness certification program that recognizes area organizations for innovation and excellence in promoting a culture of health in the workplace and offers a Networking Forum and Healthy KC Wellness Challenge.
- The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce launched its Healthcare Initiative in 2006, and it has grown into a regional collaboration between employers, health systems, and insurers promoting worksite wellness, a regional health information exchange, and implementation of Lean Six Sigma practices in area hospitals. The chamber is also a partner in the regional blood pressure collaborative, which created the nation's first community high blood pressure registry, and has kept the county BP control rate at 40 percent better than the national average. The Rochester Chamber was a winner of ACCE's 2016 Regional Innovation Award.
- The Greenville-Pitt (NC) Chamber of Commerce sponsors Live Healthy Greenville-Pitt, the regional workplace wellness movement of Live Healthy America.
- The Iowa City (IA) Area Chamber of Commerce supported the launch of the Iowa Blue Zones Project, a community well-being improvement initiative, which encourages employers make improvements at their sites by creating healthier work environments and becoming a Blue Zones Worksite. See:
- The Loudoun County (VA) Chamber of Commerce’s Health and Wellness Committee, a dedicated group of local professionals with a passion for wellness, spearheads an annual Healthy Business Challenge, which equips chambers members with access to important health and wellness-related information and resources, such as a Resource Guide, and promotes innovative business programs that support healthy employees.
- The Mason City (IA) Chamber of Commerce was named a certified Blue Zone Community (geographically defined area where people live measurably longer) following a rigorous certification process involving North Iowa area employers, schools, and citizens. The project, which takes an environmental approach to improve total wellbeing, focuses on optimizing settings where community members spend the most time to encourage healthy behavior. One such focus on worksites led to a 15 percent improvement in worker well-being as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI). Along with the Blue Zones Model Program implementation, the Chamber held healthy competition with employer teams to improve worksite experiences. The Chamber is a Blue Zones Employer. The Mason City Chamber was a winner of ACCE's 2016 Regional Innovation Award.
- The Nashville Area (TN) Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the Chamber Health Competitiveness Initiative, a partnership to commission a study to assess healthcare cost, quality, and access in the Nashville region. The initiative is the first of its kind and draws together insurers, providers and nonprofits to focus on the comparative health status of the region. The study created a groundbreaking opportunity to understand the economic costs of health to the region and businesses, and has led to pilot strategies to engage employers in health assessments with a specific focus on worker productivity gains. The Nashville Chamber was a Finalist in ACCE's 2016 Regional Innovation Award. See the Nashville Area Chamber's resource to help member businesses build and maintain an effective employee wellness program.
- The Traverse City (MI) Chamber of Commerce created a Prevention Means Business Infographic, illustrating how investing in health, both in the workplace and community, reduces health care costs, improves productivity, and makes businesses stronger.
- The Tri-City (WA) Chamber of Commerce offers their Good Health is Good Business Challenge, a 100-Day Wellness Challenge that encourages businesses to promote a healthy work environment. See example flyer from the 8 week program in Summer 2016.
- The Saratoga County (NY) Chamber of Commerce (NY) launched a Health and Wellness Council and created the #healthysaratoga movement, which organizes special programming aimed at encouraging employers and their employees to participate in events and utilize resources that are designed to helps them to achieve their health and wellness goals.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has an online toolkit for Workplace Wellness which offers a brochure on Workplace Wellness Programs: Promoting Better Health While Controlling Costs and a 2016 report “Winning With Wellness", with data on financial, political and cultural trends, as well as best practices on "Fundamentals of a Well-Designed Workplace Wellness Program" and "Essential Steps in Designing a Workplace Wellness Program."
→ See even more chambers engaging in Workplace Wellness programs
ACCE’s Education Attainment Division
hosted the following presentations:
- Championing Health and Wellness: Three Approaches for Chambers webinar (September 2016) discusses how strategic investments in health and wellness can improve economic outcomes, workforce readiness, and quality of life for residents in your community. This webinar held on September 19, 2016 featured a discussion about how a chamber can utilize three key strategies (see handout) to build sustainable health and wellness initiatives that boost regional economic competitiveness. Learn about sample messaging that engages business leaders and community stakeholders and also about chamber-led best practices that improve children’s health, workplace wellness and community health. Speakers: Sarah Melby - Director of Information & Research, and Rich Hadley - Education Attainment Division Consultant
- Boost Wellness and Transform Talent webinar (March 2016) discusses how a health and wellness agenda advances a community’s education and economic development agenda, making a community more economically competitive. It also discusses how chambers of commerce are implementing three civic approaches, including a Workplace Wellness approach, to elevate a balanced health and wellness agenda while improving their 21st century talent pipeline. Handout available here.
- Health Care Workforce Development Initiative at the Newnan-Coweta (GA) Chamber - Presented by Candace Boothby. Link to presentation slides: CEC and The Chamber: Partners in Prosperity (ACCE University Webinar, May 2016)
- ACCE’s Education Attainment Division Health Coverage for Small Business Employees - Presented by Dean Mohs and David Chase. Link to presentation slides: SHOP Marketplace and Small Business Majority (ACCE University Webinar, November 2015)
- ACCE's Resources:
- The American Heart Association (AHA) has a library of Workplace Health Resources, which provide a credible and actionable guide to make improvements in your workplace health program and culture of health environment.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides Wellness at Work resources to help implement health programs inside the workplace, as part of a vital piece of an employee’s healthy lifestyle.
- The CDC Foundation released Business Pulse: Healthy Workforce, an interactive online infographic, which provides employers and workers with access to resources and information to help improve workforce health and safety, attract and retain high-performing employees and minimize healthcare costs.
- Fitbit, a company that designs products that help people lead healthier, more active lives, offers an online, offers an online Group Health Resource Center to help employers create effective wellness programs that keep employees happy, healthy and engaged.
- The HERO Health non-profit organization offers Research, Publications, and a Scorecard, which is designed to help organizations learn about best practices for promoting workplace health and well-being, and to discover opportunities to improve and measure progress over time.
- The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) offers research and reports on workplace wellness, including making the business case, understanding health risks, engaging employees, and investing in health.
- See a list of the "Fortune 100 and their Fitness and Wellness Programs" (August 2015) with examples for employers to motivate and encourage employees to be healthy and fit, allowing businesses to be more productive and successful as a team.
- The SHOP Marketplace Health Insurance for Small Businesses (October 2015) presentation handout by Dean Mohs with SHOP Marketplace provides an overview of the Small Business Health Options Program. This presentation was part of the Health Coverage for Small Business Employees Webinar, a 30-minute webinar with content experts presenting valuable information for chambers to share with small business members. Learn about some major improvements in how healthcare.gov will work for small businesses and nonprofits when the enrollment period opens in the Fall of 2015. (Presented 10/26/2015 and 10/29/2015)
- The Transamerica Center for Health Studies and the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health prepared a report, From Evidence to Practice: Workplace Wellness that Works (September 2015), which offers practical advice to employers, large and small, based on the latest research on workplace programs, expert advice from practitioners and candid interviews with business leaders.
- The U. S. Chamber Winning with Wellness Report (2016) demystifies health promotion initiatives by delineating the attributes of successful and effective workplace wellness programs, discussing how workplace wellness can be a win-win for employers and employees, and outlining the legal and regulatory parameters associated with such programs.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation work includes the Health Means Business campaign, which focuses on business engagement in community wellness. "Business succeeds when its employees and its community are healthy." Take the Wellness Pledge, apply for the Healthy 10 Awards, discover resources and learning modules, connect to the network, and get started with the HMB Fast Tracks guides. View the Highlights Video from the Health Means Business Forum that took place October 2016 at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Read the Foundation's October 2017 case study report Building a Business-led Culture of Health and Food Security, which highlights a wide variety of work from the private sector that weaves together the issues of health, nutrition, and sustainable food systems.
- Your Bottom Line: What the Affordable Care Act Means for Your Small Business (November 2015) presentation handout by David Chase with the Small Business Majority discusses the need for healthcare reform and educates small business owners about the healthcare law. This presentation was part of the Health Coverage for Small Business Employees Webinar, a 30-minute webinar with content experts presenting valuable information for chambers to share with small business members. Learn about some major improvements in how healthcare.gov will work for small businesses and nonprofits when the enrollment period opens in the Fall of 2015. (Presented 10/26/2015 and 10/29/2015)
Select Workplace Wellness Implementation Guides
- The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) offers a workplace program called ScoreCard with evidence based models, strategies, policies, and practices.
- The Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in collaboration with Transamerica Center for Health Studies, produced an Employer Guide, From Evidence to Practice: Workplace Wellness that Works, with the goal of enabling businesses of all sizes to create and sustain successful, comprehensive workplace health promotion programs.
- The Rand Corporation offers a free ebook download on Five Steps to a Successful Workplace Wellness Program, a toolkit that synthesizes the lessons learned and best practices from multiple projects and many years of research into a five-step guide for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a successful workplace wellness program.
- WellSteps provides a free Worksite Wellness Implementation Guide with references for each program idea and offers checklists and evaluation methods to ensure an effective program is implemented.
- The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) describes Five Best Practices for Workplace Wellness including starting with a baseline survey to assess employees activity and health levels, identify senior leader(s) who manage the wellness program, make bold choices to implement change and create a culture of healthy employees, reward employees for healthy behaviors and results, and frequently share updates with employees and senior leaders.
- The U.S. Chamber provides a step-by-step brochure on how to set up workplace wellness programs, part of their online Workplace Wellness Toolkit. Their 2016 report “Winning With Wellness,” has data on financial, political and cultural trends, as well as best practices on "Fundamentals of a Well-Designed Workplace Wellness Program" and "Essential Steps in Designing a Workplace Wellness Program."
(most recent articles listed first)
- Good Health is Good for Business in Nashville - by Shuma Panse, Chamber Executive magazine (Spring 2017)
- How to Motivate Participation in Wellness Programs - A healthier workplace could mean lower insurance costs for the association, as well as increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, and more endorphin-fueled happiness around the office. Associations Now (January 2017)
- The Drive Towards Healthier Buildings: Delos, by Margaret Gifford, states that "Where you work has never been more important. It can affect your health and your productivity. Research has found that 75% of building owners intend for healthy buildings to improve tenant/employee satisfaction and 64% of building owners intend for healthy buildings to improve financial benefits due to greater occupant productivity." U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (November 2016)
- Good Health is Good Business: Chambers Lead the Way on Community Health and Wellness, by multiple authors, Chamber Executive magazine, Fall 2016
- Sitting At Work? Get Up Every Once In A While - The American Diabetes Association says that people with any type of diabetes should move around every half hour or so to ensure that the body is properly managing blood glucose. Associations Now (November 2016)
- Fit 15: Fifteen Ways to Drive Company Wellness - Driving wellness in your organization is something everyone can do. Here are fifteen ideas from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Health Means Business Champions Network. (October 2016)
- Obesity, Smoking Damage U.S. Economy - The Gallup Business Journal presents 2016 stats on Americans' well-being that shows there is much room for improvement: Obesity up in U.S. since 2008; more than one in six still smoke; Obesity and smoking negatively affect the U.S. economy; However, good news among millennials, obesity and smoking are down, exercise is up. (September 2016)
- Why Walking Will Improve Your Meeting - Walking is great for brains. It improves creativity, which can be a boon for meetings. In a university research experiment, participants were 60% more creative in their responses when they were walking rather than sitting—and that creativity persisted for several minutes after participants stopped walking. (September 2016)
- What's the Value of Exercise? $2500 - A study looked at a randomized group of 26,239 people ages 18 and up and found that those with heart disease might save, on average, $2,500 a year if they just work out five days a week. Healthy people with no heart problems might save an average of $500 a year on medical costs if they make time for the recommended levels of exercise, according to the report. (September 2016)
- Why Should Employers Care About Families? - Supporting our working families with onsite child-care isn’t just the ethical thing to do, it makes business sense, financially. Read about Patagonia's model and their on-site child care program which plays a major role in the company's success. Patagonia published a book, called "Family Business," designed to help employers learn from their experiences. (August 2016)
- Do WELL-Designed Offices Boost Productivity? The American Society of Interior Designers unveiled its new DC headquarters, which is on its way to becoming the region’s first platinum-level WELL-certified building space. In a survey, the Gensler architecture firm found that improvements in workplace environment could yield 20 percent increases in employee productivity. Associations Now (June 2016)
- The Challenges That Working Parents Face shows that US working parents have a disparity of happiness compared to other countries. In a briefing paper for the Council on Contemporary Families, researchers found a big “happiness gap” between working parents in the U.S. and their childless counterparts—a gap that is smaller, nonexistent, or even reversed in other countries that offer more family-friendly social policies. Associations Now (June 2016)
- Community Competitions Spread Wellness Success - When employers sponsor communitywide competitions, the payoff extends beyond their organization. SHRM (May 2016)
- Can Workplace Wellness Help the Environment? - Given the rising pressure in America to make businesses more sustainable, many in the healthcare industry are looking for creative ways to operate more efficiently. Huffington Post (April 2016)
- Making workplace wellness run: 5 tips for helping employees get healthier - According to a recent analysis, workplace wellness programs, which can include supporting teams like those in this year's marathon, are now offered in nearly half of all U.S. companies with 50 or more employees. Programs are also on the rise with smaller employers. It's become a $6 billion industry, according to Forbes. Inforum (April 2016)
- Meet the Wellness Programs That Save Companies Money - Workplace wellness is under scrutiny by skeptics who argue that the return on investment (ROI) in wellness programs does not justify their costs. But wellness programs can help employers reduce out-of-control health care costs. Harvard Business Review (April 2016)
- Your Boss Cares About Your Health and Happiness—Really - Fitbit’s research shows that healthy people and healthy organizations go hand in hand. Fitbit (March 2016)
- How Healthy Is Your Workplace? - This article discuss how research shows that employers can play a role in helping their staff adopt healthful behaviors at the office. Associations Now (March 2016)
- How to Design a Corporate Wellness Plan That Actually Works - An article that discusses why some plans are successful while others fail and how it comes down to how they are designed and executed. Harvard Business Review (March 2016)
- Why Employers' Incentives For Weight Loss Fall Flat With Worker - Health News by NPR states that offers to save on health insurance failed to motivate people to lose a modest amount of weight at a Philadelphia hospital system, but that personal, regular feedback may be the best motivator. NPR (January 2016)
- Workplace Wellness Linked with Superior Corporate Performance - A new study from the nonprofit Health Enhancement Research Organization suggests a correlation between comprehensive, best-practice wellness programs and corporate stock performance. SHRM (January 2016)
- Community Health is a Business Issue. Here’s Why. - Unhealthy workers are likely to be located in counties with unhealthy populations giving proof point that community health is critical to the health of the workforce — and the health of the economy. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Dec. 2015)
- The Buddy System: Chambers Supporting New Year’s Health Resolutions - a blog post, which highlights how the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Saratoga (NY) Chamber of Commerce are supporting employee workforce wellness resolutions and healthier communities. ACCE (January 2015)
- Worker Illness and Injury Costs U.S. Employers $225.8 Billion Annually - News from the CDC Foundation highlights the high cost employers face due to productivity losses linked to absenteeism and how promoting safe and healthy work practices boosts profitability and productivity among employers of all sizes. CDC Foundation (January 2015)
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