Healthy Workplace Assessment Serves All Organizations as Total Worker Health ToolAug 22, 2023
Total Worker Health® is the gold standard for workplace health, safety and well-being. As we make the case to business leaders for taking care of their employees with a holistic, scientific approach, we understand how helpful and necessary it is that they have a tool to benchmark Total Worker Health (TWH), to track their growth, and to measure their impact.
Health Links® has been a trusted advisor helping organizations assess and advance TWH for over a decade. A crucial component of the program is the Healthy Workplace Assessment®. The Assessment was developed by experts at the Center for Health, Work & Environment, one of 10 Centers of Excellence in TWH, in 2012 to translate the science of TWH into a practical tool for employers.
“We started Health Links to help businesses in a way that could be generalizable to all organizations and workforces,” said Lili Tenney, co-founder and director of Health Links based at the Center for Health, Work & Environment. “We realized that what all employers needed and wanted as a starting point was a tool to benchmark what they are currently doing well and where there are opportunities for improvement. Our assessment not only helps set the mark for TWH in practice, it also helps businesses work towards the best, evidence-based guidance for TWH to really have lasting impact and culture change.”
This year, Health Links updated the Healthy Workplace Assessment, the first changes to the tool since 2017. The enhancements reflect the emerging issues facing workplaces today and a broadened understanding of the worker experience. As the workplace changes – through technological advances, the evolving organization of work, equity and inclusion, mental health, and worker fatigue – how we assess an organization’s adoption of TWH must change with it.
The updated Assessment helps organizations gain a more comprehensive view of their workplace health and safety programs and policies. It now features a more in-depth understanding of workplace culture and more inclusive language. It gives new attention to a variety of topics, including:
- Remote/hybrid work
- Fatigue and healthy sleep
- Chronic disease prevention & management
- Equity and inclusive excellence
The 40-question Assessment measures TWH in organizations based on six benchmarks:
- Organizational Support: How well do leaders and TWH champions support team members’ health and safety and what resources are dedicated to health and safety?
- Workplace Assessment: What types of data does the organization collect to identify needs and set priorities for TWH?
- Health Programs and Policies: What types of programs and policies does the organization have in place to support and encourage physical, mental, and psychosocial health?
- Safety Programs and Policies: What types of programs and policies does the organization have in place to ensure worker safety?
- Engagement and Equity: What strategies does the organization have to engage all team members and ensure equity in TWH?
- Quality Improvement: What steps does the organization take to track and measure the impact of TWH?
The Assessment is an essential tool used in tandem with Health Links employer advising sessions. Absolute Caulking & Waterproofing, a longtime member of Health Links’ Healthy Workplace Network, appreciates the concrete benchmarking and motivation that the assessment provides.
“Health Links' assessment helps you look at your organization in a way that we don't often do, especially in construction,” said Nick Williams, director of operations at Absolute. “Health Links, the assessment especially, helped us identify key areas of improvement, then provided us with a plan and quarterly analysis to evaluate how we’re doing. Frankly, it doesn't get much better than that. I don't see how you couldn't get a lot done with that sort of process in place.”
The most recent improvements will strengthen the effectiveness of the tool for any organization, in any industry, of any size, looking to systematically improve their TWH approach.
“We’ve made changes to reflect the current state of science and what we know about setting the foundation for TWH,” said David Shapiro, senior manager, programs and partnerships at Health Links. “The questions span what all businesses should be considering for worker health and safety regardless of size or industry. These are the best practices and we’re here to help guide employers on how to tailor the solutions to meet the unique needs of their business and their employees.”
Written by Laura Veith, communications and media program manager at the Center for Health, Work & Environment.