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Workplace wellness: Connect the dots, lower your risk

By Higginbotham on April 09 , 2015

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It’s no secret that healthy people make healthier employees. They’re absent less often, they’re more productive, they file fewer workers’ comp claims and they cost companies less. Since your employees are your most critical investment, keeping them healthy should be a top priority.

Workplace wellness programs can pay big dividends. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEPB) reports that employers can save up to $3 in health care costs for every $1 spent on wellness. And according to U.S. Corporate Wellness, the average employee wellness program can:

  • Reduce instances of sick leave by 20 percent
  • Cut workers’ compensation and disability claims up to 30 percent
  • Reduce short-term sick leave as much as 32 percent

But beware of statistics about “average” results. You won’t get these results from an average, one-size-fits-all wellness program. Unfortunately, too many employers get wrapped up in “flavor-of-the-month” programs, conduct their wellness initiatives in a vacuum solely through their HR department, or never go beyond a few token events to raise awareness about health and wellness.

The key to genuine, measurable results? Integration.

Your wellness program should be part of your company’s overall risk management strategy. After all, your employees’ health and wellness has an impact on their safe work habits, susceptibility to injuries, workers’ compensation claim incidents, return-to-work timelines and other factors that directly affect your risk management success and your bottom line. So it makes sense to integrate your wellness initiatives into a comprehensive, holistic risk management strategy right along with your safety program and workers’ compensation initiatives.

Connecting the dots – from wellness to well-being

“Well-being” is the new wellness, and integration is the backbone of well-being programs. Broader in scope than traditional wellness plans, well-being programs integrate workplace safety, work-life balance programs, financial education and other areas. That means everyone on the same page, going in the same direction.

One example of a practical step employers could take to integrate their risk management and wellness programs would be to have a member of the wellness committee be part of the organization’s safety committee and vice versa. That’s a great way to promote collaboration and keep participants of both programs educated and up-to-date on best practices.

Another component of a successful well-being program is routine evaluation, and every business has plenty of employee data that can be invaluable. There are health screenings, health insurance claims, workers’ compensation records, absenteeism statistics, employee satisfaction surveys, OSHA logs and loss histories, just to name a few. All of these sources can help employers see where their safety and wellness initiatives should be focused.

Finally, to get real results from a well-being program, everyone needs to be on board, from upper management on down. For employers, that means leading by example, offering plenty of support, shaping your benefits and policies to support your wellness initiatives and creating a culture of prevention, safety and wellness.

The workplace well-being programs that work today are treated as strategic investments and incorporated into a comprehensive risk management strategy. Are you ready to connect the dots and start getting real results from your wellness initiatives? Talk to the experts at Higginbotham Insurance.

Tags: Health Risk Management

  
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