Workforce vs. workplace

Let’s do a quick concepts check…

I attended the 2016 Annual IBI Forum (www.ibiweb.org) last week in San Francisco. There seems to be a lot more behavioral health  content on the agenda this time around, although of course there’s never enough of that content on any employee health agenda for me!

In reading through the text descriptions I noticed both “workforce” and “workplace” used interchangeably. So where one presentation noted “workplace health” another talked about “workforce health” and with similar overall assumptions around definition for either.

I think both are relevant and decidedly not interchangeable – when I’m talking about “workforce” behavioral health, for example, I’m talking about the relative emotional well-being of the collection of humans working in a particular organization, yes? And when I talk about “workplace” behavioral health, I’m talking about the work environment and how it impacts, impedes, encourages, etc. the behavioral health of it’s employees. The one you’re talking of drives your focus, your assessments and intervention. 

What do you think on this? I’m curious if anyone’s ever noticed this and whether maybe I’m just splitting hairs… I’ll still do it, but I am curious…

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