Healthwise Mission and Culture Go Hand in Hand

Bruce Hedemark, Healthwise Account Executive

Editor’s note: 2015 marks our 40-year anniversary. Throughout the year we’ll be posting reflections on our history and where we’re headed. Come back each month to see what’s new (or old)!

Healthwise has been my home for 24 years this September. In fact, I have spent my entire career at this wonderful nonprofit organization. It’s changed and evolved over time as we have grown, but what’s remained the same from my first day is our mission, our culture, and our values.

At Healthwise, our culture is based on three pillars: respect, teamwork, and do the right thing. These principles tie directly to our mission: to help people make better health decisions. What do we mean by respect, teamwork, and do the right thing? At Healthwise, we treat everyone—suppliers, clients, partners, fellow employees, and the millions of people who use our health education—with respect without waiting for someone to earn it from us. Teamwork means that we help each other reach our goals, and that extends to our clients and partners too. “Do the right thing” is a recognition that Healthwise hires you with the expectation that you will be making decisions on behalf of the company. Giving me the freedom or flexibility to do what I think is right, in turn, reinforces the other pillars of teamwork and respect. You can’t give someone the opportunity to do the right thing unless you first give him or her respect and recognize they are a part of the team. When we falter on these pillars (and sometimes we do), we hold each other to them in a respectful manner.

In my current role, my job is to convey the value of Healthwise solutions to prospective clients. While clients learn first about our solutions, they discover later it’s the way our people, our culture, and our mission are intertwined that really allow us to be innovative and serve clients and partners effectively.

The principles of our culture also mean that we practice what we preach in terms of wellness. At Healthwise, we encourage employees to take advantage of the outdoors. We have walking meetings; we practice good self-care. In Boise, we have a trail system in the foothills right outside our door. In Boston, we have Boston Common, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and other venues very close to our office. These are all opportunities to say, “You know what? Let’s have our meeting, but let’s have a walking meeting. Let’s go outside, get some fresh air, and really talk about some things.” I don’t think the rest of corporate America does that enough. The ability to leave the brick and mortar allows us to disengage, put other things aside, and really focus on the task at hand.

I remember very clearly that my first day at Healthwise I sat in on three company meetings—wellness, communications, and leadership council. From the very first day I arrived, I could see that our leadership valued employee wellness. There was a clear dedication to ensuring our employees are taken care of and practice good self-care.

I think about what wellness means to me now and how much Healthwise has played a part in that. It’s not just our annual companywide Wellness Day. It’s not just about running a 5K and placing in my age group. For me, it’s about making sure that I can retire healthy, that I can enjoy the rest of my life. The other side of that coin is that you can’t just wait for retirement to enjoy life. There’s a massive amount of pleasure you can derive throughout your career—you just have to take the time for yourself, and Healthwise supports that in all kinds of ways.