Healthy employees are absent less often, have higher morale, are more productive, and have lower healthcare costs. The result: happier employees, a better bottom line for the business and a higher level of customer satisfaction. These positive effects also have a ripple effect on employees’ families, their communities, and the healthcare system.
Addressing employee health and well being has always been a strategy to contain costs. Now it has become a key strategy for attracting and retaining employees. Towers Watson argues that keeping their workforce healthy, productive and engaged will be the most critical issue for employers over the next few years.
Proactive organizations are aware of the benefits of health and productivity programs to both employees and employers, thus, are going beyond the typical employee safety programs and healthy lifestyles promotion. They are also looking at the organizational culture such as leadership, meaningful work, morale, relationships, social support, and balance between job demands and resources – all of which have a dramatic impact on employee health and sense of well being, and spirit at work.
Need more convincing?
In a meta-analysis of the literature on costs and savings associated with wellness programs, Katherine Baicker and colleagues from Harvard found that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.
The companies with the most effective health and productivity programs (in the Towers Watson study) report a financial advantage. Look at the outcomes:
- 11% higher revenue per employee
- lower medical trends by 1.2 percentage points
- 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year and
- 28% higher shareholder returns
At first glance, it might seem that 1.8 days less absenteeism per year isn’t much. But if your company has 100 employees, 1.8 days translates to 180 workdays lost per year. That is 36 weeks. Where else can you get that kind return on your investment?
Towers Watson also found that high health and productivity effectiveness companies are also more likely to have:
- lower health care costs
- lower levels of presenteeism
- fewer lost days due to disabilities and
- lower levels of turnover relative to their industry peers.
How do they get these results?
The most effective health and productivity organizations didn’t focus only on the physical and mental health of employees. Emphasis was also placed on the organizational conditions which contribute to employee spirit at work and productivity such as:
- recognition and rewards
- organizational leadership and
- effective communication.
What are you doing to create a healthy workplace?
At Kaizen Solutions, we work with organizations and employees to create positive, healthy workplaces that foster well-being and spirit at work. We know that the factors that contribute to a healthy workplace also contribute to employee spirit at work.
Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.