Improve Workplace Wellness, Improve Performance
A healthy workforce is a productive workforce; this may seem obvious, but not all employers are willing to implement health and wellness programs out of concerns over expenses and uncertain results. However, a study into several Corporate Health Achievement Award (CHAA) winners suggests that companies investing in employee health outperform others.
The CHAA is awarded by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. So far, 29 companies have been given the award since 1996. There are several areas in which a company is assessed for promoting wellness, including occupational health risks, health care information, employee health evaluations, equipment safety, worksite hazard education, general health and wellness promotion beyond the workplace and mental wellness education.
Researchers sought to analyze the performance of companies that have received the CHAA by analyzing their stock performances and comparing them to general market performance. For the sake of analysis, they “invested” a pretend $10,000 beginning in 1996 and measured returns for each year between then and 2012 using 4 different scenarios. Between the highest- and lowest-performing scenarios, the CHAA-winning companies yielded a range of 5.29% and 3.1% increased yearly returns over the market.
Employees who maintain a healthy lifestyle are less likely to miss work days and require disability leave for common work-related problems like chronic back pain,. They’re also likely to be more productive; physical and mental stresses come with fatigue and an inability to concentration on the task at hand. Motivation is likely a factor here as well; it’s easier to give your all when the company you’re working for has an obvious investment in your well-being.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to argue for the promotion of employee health from a monetary standpoint. However, not all employers take an ethical stake in their workforce; others who would like to don’t act on this desire due to concerns over expenses. While this study doesn’t compare the costs of wellness programs with gains in stock returns, it does suggest that the financial concern may not be valid.
The CDC offers many free informational tools with which you can increase the health and safety of your workplace. They also provide information on inexpensive ways to bolster this effort. See http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/hwi/toolkits/general.htm for more on the CDC’s resources.
Aside from the potential financial gains for your company, keep in mind that employees are more than resources; they’re human beings. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to maintain a safe workplace. If you want to elevate yourself from responsible to spectacular employer, go the extra mile and promote general health and wellness among your employees, both inside and outside the workplace.
See more on the study into CHAA award-winning companies at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911103332.htm.