The ROI of Healthy Employees
Heart Healthy Employees Are Productive Employees
Heart disease is one of the most pervasive and costly health problems in the United States. More than 12 million people visit their physicians each year for reasons related to heart disease. Not only does it consume a large share of medical treatment and spending, it is the largest source of lost productivity for employers, costing the nation roughly $161 billion each year.
Anyone can develop heart disease. However there are behaviors that can put employees at a higher risk: smoking, an unhealthy diet, and an inactive lifestyle. And while most of us can identify chest pain, shortness of breath and numbness or pain in an arm or shoulder as signs of a heart attack, many don’t know some of the less conspicuous signs of heart disease. Be sure your employees recognize factors such as fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, and inability to focus. If they’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s best to be safe and visit the doctor.
What can you do to diminish the impact of heart disease in your office?
Get senior management buy-in.
One of the first keys to corporate wellness will be to get senior management buy-in to launch a workplace wellness program. With so many corporate priorities and initiatives, why should your company spend money on an employee wellness program? Because heart disease alone can take a huge financial toll on your company! That’s why it’s important to set up wellness programs and initiatives that encourage employees to be mindful of their heart health.
According to studies conducted by the CDC, wellness programs can lead to more than a 25 percent reduction in absenteeism, short term disability and health care costs. One study showed that in a two- to five-year window you can expect to see a $3 to $6 return on investment for every dollar you’ve invested.
Empower a committee to take the lead.
Once you have the support of senior management, you’ll want to put together a committee responsible for championing the planning and promotion of various wellness initiatives. Having a team dedicated to health programs will help boost employee engagement with these programs and will give you different perspectives and insight into your employees’ needs.
From there, it’s all about communication and promotion. Make sure your employees keep your wellness program top of mind by keeping them informed about upcoming events, programs and benchmarks.
Try starting off with these 5 heart-healthy initiatives.
- Create a smoke-free campus.
- Promote healthy alternatives in your company’s cafeteria or vending machine.
- Encourage employees to use designated walking paths during their breaks.
- Join a local cause and create company teams, like Race for the Cure.
- Consider providing gym memberships or reimbursements for employees.
Each company has a different health culture. Evaluating your employees’ specific needs and motivations will help you determine what programs will be the most effective and deliver the best return on investment.
What initiatives have worked for you in the past? Do you have a specific challenge you need help addressing?