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Benefits of Employee Health and Wellbeing Programs

The evidence for investing in worker health and wellbeing

Published by James Aldridge (CEO) Assist Group

Investing in employee health and wellbeing is not only important for business, it’s essential. Strong evidence shows that good employee health and wellbeing boosts organisational health. Employee health and wellbeing programs have many benefits for businesses, such as improved morale and productivity, lower healthcare costs, reduced costs linked to workplace and non workplace illness, reduced workers compensation premium, and increased employee retention rates.

It’s important to understand the advantages of implementing a comprehensive employee health and wellbeing program in order to maximise the potential gains for your business.

Read on as we unpack the evidence that successful health and wellbeing programs provide an excellent return on investment for business.

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Health and Wellbeing Programs

Evidence Highlights

A recent Australian Government Comcare (the national authority for work health and safety, and workers’ compensation) review presented compelling evidence showing the benefits to employees from health and wellbeing programs.

For example, the report highlights that when you get work health and safety right, the benefits are numerous, and include:

  • Improved work performance and productivity
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Greater work participation and increased social inclusion
  • Reduced costs associated with absenteeism, disability, and workers' compensation
  • Improved workplace culture and the ability to retain existing employees
  • Enhanced business image
  • A better ability to attract talented employees and fulfil corporate social responsibility obligations
  • Less workplace injury and workers’ compensation claims
  • Faster return to work.

Specific Examples

Chronic Disease

Chronic disease is a significant health burden not only to our community, but to our businesses as well. Chronic conditions are becoming increasingly common and are a priority for action in the health and business sectors. Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last more than 3 months and require ongoing treatment or management.

Common examples include arthritis, musculoskeletal disease, depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

In 2004/05, approximately 33% of working age Australians reported that they suffered from at least one chronic disease.

Chronic diseases are identified in the Comcare report as the prime cause of lost work time.

Primary causes include unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, alcohol, smoking and more. By putting programs in place to address some of these causes, we can, in part, work to address chronic disease for the betterment of us all.

Physical Health

Many businesses are having great success in implementing physical health programs. There is strong evidence that programs addressing physical activity and/or diet are effective in increasing physical activity levels and promoting healthy eating.

Unhealthy workers are less productive workers. Healthy workers are more productive, and have far fewer short-term absences than unhealthy workers.

Consider adding a physical activity program to your workplace today.

Back Pain

Physical activity programs assist in preventing a range of common musculoskeletal disorders, such as low back pain. Specifically, exercise is the key. Getting employees up and active, and moving around, through an exercise program, is effective in preventing lower back pain.

Specific programs that address the management of lower back pain include:

Quit Smoking Programs

There is strong evidence that programs designed to help people reduce or quit smoking increases the likelihood smokers will quit. These programs include individual and group counselling and pharmacological treatment to overcome nicotine addiction.

Lower Healthcare Costs

One of the biggest advantages of introducing an employee health and wellbeing program is that it can result in lower healthcare costs for employers.

In short, the right health and wellbeing programs can save you money.

If you are focussed on your return on investment, consider the following metrics (from a meta-evaluation looking at economic return of worksite health promotion program). On average, programs:

  • decrease sick leave absenteeism by 25.3%
  • decrease workers compensation costs by 40.7%
  • decrease disability management costs by 24.2%; and
  • save $5.81 for every $1 invested in employee health and wellbeing.

Improved Morale & Productivity

Employee health and wellness programs also have the potential to improve morale among staff members. Global research has found that when employee health and wellness is managed the right way, the percentage of engaged employees increases from 7% to 55%.

When employees feel supported by their employer by being given access to resources that help them improve their overall physical and mental health, they are more likely to be engaged with their job duties which leads to higher productivity levels and higher job satisfaction levels.

Increased Retention Rates

Another benefit of introducing an employee health and wellness program is that it can help increase retention rates among staff members. Employees who feel supported by their employer are more likely to stick around long term than those who don’t feel valued or appreciated at work.

Having access to resources that promote physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing can show employees that their employer cares about them as individuals, thus increasing loyalty towards the company overall. This leads to increased job satisfaction, improved morale, higher productivity levels, and better retention rates among staff members.

Example In Action

Optus is a great example of an Australian company that has invested in health and wellbeing programs to engage and support their staff.

According to Optus “Healthy, balanced people make great things happen. We are committed to offering our people a range of innovative and flexible health and wellbeing programs as part of our Occupational Health and Safety Strategic Plan.”

Optus has run their program since 2004 and enjoy a high status as an employer of choice and have also halved their injury rates over this time.

So What’s the Solution?

Implementing an effective employee health and wellbeing program has many advantages for your business, including reduced workers compensation premiums, less workplace injury and less workers’ compensation claims, faster return to work, improved morale and productivity levels, and many more.

Consequently, investing in your team’s physical and mental wellness is essential for any successful business.

Assist Group can implement “on demand" strategies that require immediate intervention in reactive scenarios. This includes addressing as soon as possible, injuries or incidents in the workplace that result in loss of productive time with that human resource.

We can also implement claims prevention solutions that involve a more structured and time lined implementation of solutions.

We can help you to address your core functions with a healthier workforce to achieve your corporate goals and objectives.

Health and Wellbeing Programs: Enquire with us today

Please ask us a question by phoning our medical reception in your location by CLICKING HERE, or submit your details in the contact form at the bottom of this page.

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