by Alex Palmer | June 19, 2014
A new statewide recognition program aims to promote healthy behaviors in the workplace, and points the way to health incentive programs that go beyond the company level. On June 18, the Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness in Tennessee launched the Healthier Tennessee Workplace recognition program to acknowledge companies that are promoting a healthy lifestyle to their workers.

The program is part of Healthier Tennessee, an initiative launched by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam last August to promote healthy and disease-preventative behavior among the state's citizens. The Healthier Tennessee Workplace program focuses specifically on the employer’s role in helping with this effort.

"It is important that we recognize those workplaces that are making health and wellness a priority," said Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness CEO Rick Johnson, in a statement. "We know our environment plays a huge part in our daily choices, so when workplaces provide a culture of wellness they can have a tremendous positive impact on employee health, and in turn the overall health of our state."

Organizations can join through Healthier Tennessee's website, which offers, where they can then can also get tips on setting up a wellness program at their workplace. These include strategic goals such as "identify a wellness champion" to help engage other employees in the effort, and "track and recognize" the progress workers make.

The site also lays out the organizational benefits of a healthier workplace, including reducing healthcare costs, reducing absenteeism, and increasing productivity.

Among the specific healthy workplace goals encouraged by the program are encouraging physical activity in the workplace; offering healthy eating options at work; providing a tobacco-free environment and helping with smoking cessation; and encouraging workers to monitor their own health through regular health risk assessments, screenings, or checkups (Healthier Tennessee also offers a site for individual goal setting and tracking.

Those organizations that put these programs into place can then be recognized as a Healthier Tennessee Workplace. Recipients will receive a certificate of recognition signed by Gov. Haslam, an award seal to display at the workplace, and a digital version of the award which can be incorporated into printed material and the company website. The recognition will be good for one year and can be renewed annually.