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Strategic Plan 2014-17 Healthy People, Healthy Communities
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Overview

Sustainability: Striving for a healthier workplace

Sustainability of the organization is certainly intertwined with the other Strategic Issues identified, as the health system must be sustainable to improve continuously and positively impact the health of the population over the long-term. As pointed out in Eastern Health’s Health Status Report 2012, the population is changing and programs and services will need to be considered regularly in response to such changes.

Undoubtedly, Eastern Health’s greatest resource has been and continues to be its people: the employees, physicians and volunteers who are dedicated to client care. Employee and physician engagement have been challenging in recent years, and the organization recognizes that a renewed sense of pride for “living the Eastern Health values” is needed. 

Research provides a strong rationale for investing in employee and workplace health, as they are “inextricably linked to productivity, high performance and success.” (2) In keeping with this belief, in 2007 Eastern Health began its healthy workplace journey by becoming a member of Excellence Canada (3) and participating in the Progressive Excellence Program (PEP) Healthy Workplace.  This program has focused the organization on a wide range of healthy workplace planning and programming in the areas of workplace culture, supportive environment, physical environment, occupational health and safety as well as health and lifestyle practices.  The organization is currently working toward achieving Level III Certification, which includes a focus on mental health, respectful workplace and physical health. 
 
Sick leave continues to be a significant aspect of sustainability within Eastern Health.  Sick leave and sick leave replacement costs the organization about $50 million annually. In addition to the obvious budgetary considerations, sick leave means the full complement of staff are not always available, which presents challenges as the organization strives to address its other strategic priorities related to quality, safety, access and population health. 
 
Eastern Health’s priority of Sustainability supports and contributes to the Provincial Government’s Strategic Direction 3: Quality of Care and Efficiency (PDF).
 
By focusing on healthy workplace initiatives, improving employee engagement and reducing sick leave, sustainability of the organization is enhanced: a healthy and engaged workforce is empowered to provide the best possible service to clients and to address the priorities that emerge in working toward improving the overall health of the population. Clearly, a healthier workplace impacts on the sustainability of the organization.
 

(2) Source: Maclead and Shamian, 2013, www.longwoods.com/content/23355
(3) formerly known as the National Quality Institute

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Updated Jan 12, 2015