HERO is a member-driven coalition of employers, providers, consultants, academic institutions and associations who share a belief that Workplace Health and Well-Being (HWB) is a scientifically sound, evidence-based approach to achieving health improvements for their employees.
Further, through the creation and dissemination of evidence-based HWB research, education and best practices, HERO actively and continually provides leadership critical to advancing the well-being and performance of the nation’s workforce. Much of the good work that HERO does is achieved through the efforts of its volunteer committees. Many of the members of the Think Tank and others in their organizations are involved in committee work. Some members are participating in more than one committee. Three types of HERO committees are active today, HERO Standing Committees, HERO Study Committees, and HERO Ad Hoc Committees.
HERO Standing Committees: In co-op fashion, volunteer members provide direction and support to HERO operations via standing committees for Education, Leadership and Research. Our Standing Committees include:
The Education Committee is a group of Think Tank members who have interests and expertise in workplace health and well-being (HWB) education, communication and shared learning. Over the past few years, several factors have converged, which require renewed efforts in the areas of both member and public education. The number of HERO projects and interests has increased significantly, requiring enhanced internal communication with Think Tank Members. At the same time, systems-level changes, including policy efforts that emphasize wellness, increased public awareness of workplace health promotion and corresponding growth in the industry, provide many opportunities for HERO to position itself in an expert role and demonstrate value to employers and the general public. Additionally, new communication technologies have evolved that can facilitate the dissemination of high-level information, enhancing HERO’s already-successful education efforts and extending the shared learning to provide even greater value to both internal and external stakeholders.
The Leadership Committee is comprised of Think Tank members who have special interests and skills in analyzing future workplace health and well-being (HWB) needs and opportunities and suggesting projects that will keep HERO on the cutting edge of the workplace HWB world. This Committee will have a major influence on the future of HERO and the success we will have.
The HERO Research Committee sets the HERO Research Agenda and provides guidance and expertise in making HERO a respected contributor and major player in the creation, publication, and dissemination of unbiased and meaningful workplace health and well-being research and best practices.
HERO Study Committees: Based on member interest surveys, study committees discuss, analyze and research topics to produce reports, presentations and, often, peer reviewed journal articles. With HERO members as authors, they are focused on providing understanding and guidance to employers. Our active Study Committees include:
This committee is charged with establishing a widely accepted definition of a healthy culture to build consensus and understanding of its value when supporting the health and well-being of a population. This definition would include a framework that outlines the components and aspects of a culture that supports the total health and well-being of individuals and the organization as a whole. This committee’s work will include developing the value proposition for employers to invest in the assessment, planning, and creation of a healthy culture within their organization. Providing guidance to employers, effective strategies, and tools for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating a culture of health will be included in the committee’s work. Finally, the committee will propose future research needed to investigate the value and effectiveness of a healthy culture for the sustainability and health of organizations and the health and well-being of its employees.
This committee is charged with the long-term goal of understanding the correlative and causal interrelationships between:
- Engagement in health and well-being: understanding the science supporting initial and sustained engagement in and ownership of personal health status. The committee will first define or adopt an existing definition of “employee engagement” and will then focus on understanding and promulgating knowledge about this concept related to electronic, telephonic and other engagement modalities and techniques. A material aspect of the committee’s work will focus on the use of existing tools such as the HERO Scorecard and previously measured, recognized best practices such as organizational culture and leadership as well as emerging behavioral economics concepts related to incentive design, consumer marketing techniques, and the assessment and methods to measure engagement.
- Employee engagement in organizational success: exploring the relationship between employee engagement in health and well-being, individual and team performance, and engagement (broadly defined) in organizational success. It is expected that this will principally involve the following key component parts:
a. Baseline understanding: Understanding the current state of research on the topic of employee engagement (in general) and the related role of health and well-being as well as the impact on team and individual performance.
b. Correlation vs. Causality: Assess evidence for correlative or causal relationships between health and well-being, engagement and performance.
c. Research Recommendations: In the event that research and empirical evidence is insufficient to draw meaningful conclusions, the Engagement Committee will make recommendations to the HERO Research Committee for research projects that will advance the industry knowledge base related to this topic.
- Organizational success and organizational engagement in employee health and well-being: understanding the role that organizational success and outcomes play in employee engagement, specifically related to health and well-being. The committee will consider the extent to which causal or correlative relationships exist between organizational or business outcomes and engagement in employee health and improved personal engagement in health and well-being.
The Employer-Community Collaboration Committee is currently being refreshed and the name has been changed to the Health Workplaces Healthy Communities Committee. An updated charter and deliverables are forthcoming.
There is an emerging appreciation of the value to both employers and communities if they collaborate to advance health objectives. The achievement of public health objectives for the population seems difficult to achieve without effective corporate health programs. And, employers will recognize a significant benefit if the communities in which they operate have high levels of population health and a community culture that is vibrant and dedicated to optimizing quality of life.
At the intersection of employers and community, health and well-being may be considered one of many factors of considerable importance. This intersection of employers and community represents a two-way street that has the potential to operate in a synergistic manner. Several groups, organizations and thought leaders are recognizing both the value and the need for employers to engage with communities for mutual benefit. The Community Preventive Services Task Force, in its annual report to Congress, outlines several ways in which community preventive services may support broad-based health enhancing impacts that result from partnerships among a variety of stakeholders in the community, including worksites, schools, health plans, care delivery organizations, faith-based organizations, and state government, among others. These important ways include:
- Increase in healthy longevity
- Reduce illness burden
- Reduce likelihood of becoming ill
- Reduce healthcare spending
- Make healthy choices easy choices
- Maintain or improve economic vitality
- Reduce waste
- Enhance national security
- Prepare communities for emergencies
- Empower individuals, families, employers, schools, and communities
However, it may not be exactly clear how to act on such potential or how this community-based health improvement may benefit employers. No one stakeholder or sector in the community has independent ownership, accountability or capacity to advance population health alone. It requires the collective engagement of multiple social forces and sectors to be successful. Given the fact that the health of the public is the result of behavioral factors, genetics, social circumstances, access to medical care, and environmental conditions, initiatives to improve health need to involve multiple stakeholders across the community (e.g., government, business, citizens, etc.), representing multiple sectors (business and industry, education, health care, non-profits, etc.), and acting at multiple levels (individual, inter-
individual, organizational, environmental). Stakeholders bring energy, effort, expertise, funding, and other resources to the effort. It is important that each stakeholder can justify their investment by the value of the results they bring.
The Workplace Performance Study Committee seeks to understand the relationship between workforce health strategies and employee and organizational well-being, performance, and productivity. This includes research demonstrating how workforce health and well-being efforts advance strategic business performance objectives as well as individual employee performance. The committee also focuses on understanding the factors and practices that characterize high-performing health and well-being initiatives.
HERO Ad Hoc Committees: Based on current issues and needs, HERO’s ad hoc committees convene and respond accordingly. Our current Ad Hoc Committees include:
Newly formed in 2017, this committee will provide counsel on HERO PR dissemination strategies and external messaging; support the dissemination of HERO research, news and positive well-being stories via social channels; and respond to current issues of the profession.
This committee builds on the consensus work of HERO, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American Heart Association, Population Health Alliance, and other organizations concerned about equity and effectiveness in employee wellness. You can find the 2015 consensus response white paper and published paper by following the hyperlinks.