Healthier Businesses Start with Healthier Communities
A guest post from President & CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, MA
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how businesses and the public health sector can work together to solve problems. Driven by a desire to reopen safely and revitalize the economy, employers have collaborated with public health and community leaders to share best practices, coordinate strategies and develop approaches to keep employees and communities healthy and safe.
Newly published research conducted by Morning Consult in partnership with the de Beaumont Foundation reveals that consumers want businesses to continue prioritizing community health – even after the pandemic.
While many businesses create programs and policies to improve the health of workers, they fail to address the broader community health conditions where workers and their families live, work, and play. Upwards of 70% of one’s health status is driven by the social and environmental factors that surround them.
Healthier communities support a stronger pool of workers and a thriving local economy to drive business growth. Affordable housing, mental health programs and food security improve living conditions for workers, customers and their families. Quality childcare and elder care reduces employee absenteeism. Affordable housing and quality education programs in your community help attract top employees for your workforce.
Prioritizing Community Health as a Business Strategy
As the nation recovers from the pandemic, community health, not just employee health, should be a strategic consideration for every employer. Businesses cannot solve these challenges alone. Our newest fact sheet, Healthier Businesses Start with Healthier Communities, helps companies work across sectors to build partnerships and prioritize investments that improve community health and wellness, inside and outside the workplace. Here are three strategies to help guide your company’s approach:
- Determine what issues are causing employee absenteeism, retention failures, stress, and anxiety.
Is lack of childcare in the community an issue? Do employees have to travel long distances to see health care providers because the local hospital closed? What about struggles with anxiety or other mental health problems? Once you’ve identified some of the challenges facing your employees, talk with health leaders in your community about public health resources and strategies. They may have ideas about how to work together to address the root causes.
- Build partnerships in your community.
As employers, you have a great deal of influence with local leaders. Leverage that influence to build support for programs that address housing, childcare, food insecurity and emotional support your community needs. In the long run, those efforts will help with morale, absenteeism and your ability to find quality employees.
- Tell your local and state governments that supporting public health is good for your business and must be a priority.
There is funding available to support expanded public health initiatives related to COVID-19. These initiatives can help build the public health infrastructure in communities that will last well-beyond the pandemic. Encourage your local leaders to leverage these new resources and support sustained investments in public health. Consider working in partnership on a specific public health initiative as you focus your advocacy.
[DOWNLOAD FACT SHEET GRAPHIC]
We hope you'll consider these strategies as part of your company's commitment to supporting employees, customers and communities where you operate.
Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, MA
President & CEO, de Beaumont Foundation