The benefits of healthy living are well documented and continually impressed upon patients. But have you thought about how an organizational approach to employee health could actually strengthen your business?[See also: Absences add up to 35 percent of payroll]
"There's a huge cost to employers when there's turnover of any kind," explained Susan Moriconi, vice president of human resources at Omnicell, a medication and supply automation company based in the San Francisco Bay area. "But when an organization is invested in and committed to the health of their employees…those people will want to remain with their employer and make a career. Which means organizations can retain institutional memory and scale of knowledge that people gain while they're working."
Additionally, healthy employees are both more productive and genuinely happier people, she noted.
Moriconi offered a list of five approaches healthcare organizations can take to help reduce turnover costs by promoting healthy living for their own employees.
1. Develop a wellness program
"Companies can offer health benefit programs with scaled healthcare premiums if an employee has undergone biometric testing or other screenings made available to them," said Moriconi. Other programs offer financial incentives, like a reward of $75 for having a health screening provided by the company. Access to an on-site gym, exercise classes with fitness trainers at no charge and educational courses on healthy lifestyles are other options.
2. Demonstrate support from supervisors
Support from the top is incredibly important and influential. When an approach to wellness is initiated and championed by a practice partner or manager, employees see it as encouraging.
3. Offer flexible schedules
"Managers should help employees have flexible schedules that would allow them to take advantage of the programs offered," Moriconi said. It's one thing for a company to simply offer health and wellness opportunities, but it's much more beneficial if they take a proactive approach at making sure their employees have the time to take advantage of them.
4. Create workout rooms
Many companies these days are creating rooms with treadmills where people can hold a meeting or have a conference while walking.
"Allow employees to pick something new they would like to do – a new healthy food or activity they've never tried – and reward them for it," suggested Moriconi. "Offer stress-busting challenges and have employees participate in them a couple times a week over the course of a few months." They can then earn points toward programs such as scaled premiums.