Employers need high performing employees to build their businesses, take care of their customers, and create the profits they need for successful business operations. Sick employees mean time, money, and productivity lost, which affects the overall organization, so employers have a vested interest in helping employees stay well. The healthier the employees, the healthier the business.
How much true value do companies lose when employees are sick? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends measuring the cost savings of workplace health programs against real business metrics such as absenteeism, reduced overtime to cover employee absences, and employee training replacement costs. Their example of just one type of wellness indicator’s effect on absenteeism, obesity, shines a strong light on the value of healthy employees, as obesity is linked to more days away from work than normal weight ranges. Employees and employers benefit in many ways when health promotion programs are in place.
Impact of Health Issues
When it comes to assessing the value of healthy employees, it pays to look at how they contribute to the company’s competitive edge. Customer service suffers, longer hold times on the phone, delayed paperwork and services, and overwhelmed supervisory staff may result from sick employees. Wellness benefits such as health fairs with nutritional counseling, onsite gym equipment, and walking clubs may outweigh the cost (in dollars, morale, and reputation) lost to understaffing because of illness. Understaffing can result in many sales can being lost when key salespeople are out, important projects can get delayed, deliveries may be delayed, etc.
Targeted wellness support for specific employee groups such as back health for delivery drivers makes good business and financial sense when compared with the costs of back injuries and an impaired employee group with direct impact on service. If ergonomic injuries are a real risk in your manufacturing teams, proactive health initiatives such as cross-training on different tasks, ergonomic training and education, and more frequent breaks from repetitive work tasks may not only save money and improve moral, they may improve productivity and overall output.
Benefits and HR professionals can help their corporate leaders understand the value of a healthy workforce by demonstrating how health and productivity support corporate strategy.