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Creating Healthy Health Care Workplaces in British Columbia: Evidence for Action

Graham Lowe


Creating Healthy Health Care Workplaces in British Columbia: Evidence for Action. A DISCUSSION PAPER Prepared for the Provincial Health Services Authority. KEY MESSAGES There is a business case for investing in healthier work environments within health care. Furthermore, there are substantial costs to inaction. Return on investment (ROI) analyses has been used to evaluate workplace health promotion programs in various settings, but rarely in health care. Designing evaluation into healthy workplace interventions, and disseminating the findings, will go a long way to filling this information gap. Workplace health promotion interventions that are comprehensive, well designed, and successfully implemented tend to have good ROI. Decision-makers must be aware of the limitations of conducting ROI research on organizational interventions. Research on the causes and consequences of healthy and unhealthy work environments also to indicates directions for change. Further improvements in employee health and organizational performance will require changes in job design, organizational systems and structures, and work environments. Healthy workplaces can contribute to the major strategic directions of health care system renewal. Creating healthier workplaces requires a shift in leadership thinking and organizational culture so that human assets are highly valued. Successful healthy workplace change requires strong commitment from top management that is reinforced in all their decisions and actions. In healthy workplaces, all managers and supervisors have the time, encouragement, and training needed to be effective people leaders. Measuring progress requires four categories of indicators: healthy workplace drivers, working conditions, employee outcomes, and organizational benefits.
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