HR professionals know that healthy employees tend to be happier, more productive, and more satisfied at work. Healthy employees also tend to continue to make better health choices, and require fewer physician visits, inpatient hospitalizations, and prescription medications—resulting in considerable healthcare cost savings for their employers. For these reasons, it is paramount that organizations develop a proactive plan for actively managing health risks and promoting employee wellness.
In 2017, chronic conditions constitute some of the greatest health risks for American workers. In fact, 75% of today’s healthcare costs are related to five chronic conditions that are largely preventable: heart disease, diabetes, stroke, COPD, and cancer. Organizations that are interested in managing rising healthcare costs should implement strategies that focus on these common health risks. Additionally, obesity has become a health epidemic in the US, with more than two-thirds of adult Americans considered either overweight or obese. Obesity is a major risk factor for a number of chronic conditions.
Mental health is another issue of concern for many employees. A 2010 survey found that 18% of workers surveyed reported that they had experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the past month. Disorders like depression and anxiety are some of the most costly health conditions to manage, and also tend to result in frequent absenteeism and reduced productivity. Unfortunately, many employees who suffer from a mental health disorder are reluctant to seek treatment for their condition, due to fear of stigma.
Fortunately, there are some simple tips that HR professionals can follow to reduce health risks at their company:
Start by Identifying Risks
Organizations should consider partnering with an experienced wellness solution provider to identify the health risks that are most commonly faced by their employees. Health risk assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings can assist organizations in recognizing critical health risks. Armed with this knowledge, HR professionals can target wellness interventions to their employee’s needs.
Work to Create a Culture of Wellness
The healthiest organizations don’t just offer workplace wellness programs—rather, they strive to create a corporate culture that values and promotes healthy behaviors. To create a culture of wellness at your company, implement policies that encourage healthy choices while decreasing health risks. Possible ideas include designating your workplace a “smoke-free” campus, or rewarding employees who walk or bike to work rather than driving.
Offer Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Programs
A well-designed workplace wellness program can be an employer’s most effective tool in reducing health risks. One of the best things about workplace wellness programs is that they are fully customizable to the needs of each company. Possible wellness program options include chronic disease management, health and wellness coaching, and stress management services.
Engage Employees and Gain Buy-In
Engaging employees in their own health is key to reducing health risks and maximizing the ROI of any wellness program initiative. To gain buy-in, start with proactive outreach and clear messaging—explain to employees why the company is creating a wellness program and discuss the potential benefits to be gained from participating in the program.
Focus on Preventive Care
Because health risks are so commonly associated with preventable chronic conditions, employers should consider offering preventive care services at their onsite clinics. Options include biometric and health screenings, weight management services, and smoking cessation classes.
Reducing health risks at your company benefits everyone. At Healthstat, our wellness programs promote healthier lifestyles for employers and employees.