Invest in Wellness Not Illness February 25th, 2011, by Ken Buckley

In any business, the staff or ‘human capital’ is always going to be the most precious asset. Just ask yourself where any thriving business would be without the talented people who run it.

And yet historically the money we have invested into our businesses has largely overlooked the people that keep our businesses going. Of course over the last decade that has been changing and as employee wellbeing becomes increasingly recognised for its role in an organisation’s success, many businesses are looking for ways to maximise that wellbeing by investing in illness prevention through corporate health programs.

Protecting the wellness of valuable employees not only reduces costly absenteeism due to illness but also significantly increases the morale and productivity of staff on the job. Workplace wellness programs improve the health and vitality of employees and foster positive morale within the company.

Human capital resources are maximised and expenses reduced with more effective and loyal staff, and the ability to retain and attract top quality talent.

Producing Positive Return on Investment
Companies looking to reduce excess spending need only look at the ROI (return on investment) corporate health programs have been shown to secure across a range of studies. Statistics can be somewhat limiting when trying to quantify the breadth of savings wellness initiatives bring about, however the increased status of workplace health programs has really put them under the microscope.

Results-wise, studies by Medibank Private have shown that companies who invest in wellbeing programs have a 90% reduction in staff turnover and 20% less absenteeism. Further compounding the case for health programs, the studies also showed that unhealthy employees are productive for only about 49 hours out of each month compared to 140 hours per month for healthy employees.

Maximising the ROI on Corporate Health Programs

Of course to realise this kind of positive ROI on a corporate health program, it’s important that the program is comprehensive enough to achieve a meaningful change and suitably tailored to the needs of the organisation. A well designed program is necessary to yield worthwhile returns and must cover several key lifestyle risk factors with targeted wellness initiatives that allow for ongoing evaluation.

Key risk factors that need to be addressed to increase company wellness include nutrition and exercise habits, the monitoring of cholesterol and high blood pressure, infectious disease prevention, smoking and substance abuse and mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Annual health expos are a good way to provide employees with basic health screenings and one-on-one time with healthcare professionals. Online Health Risk Assessments HRAs) should also ideally be administered annually in conjunction with other health and wellness campaigns and educational opportunities.

While some benefits of corporate wellness programs will be immediately apparent (such as the reduction of winter absenteeism after a flu shot initiative) most of the ROI will be seen after around 3 years when meaningful behavioural changes have truly had a chance to affect productivity. Remember more productivity means higher profits, and as with most investments it’s necessary to do your homework then stick with it to see your investment really pay off.

For more information on Corporate Wellness Programs, HRA or Health Expos, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post974” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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