Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Why it’s time to change the conversation about corporate health and wellness

employee health millennialIn recent years, there’s been a noticeable shift in the way business leaders talk about corporate health and wellness. A decade or two ago, wellness was considered a nice thing to have, though not absolutely essential. Business leaders focused on recruiting, retention, productivity and profitability, and then maybe they took a quick look at employees’ health if they had the time and resources to do so.

The mindset about wellness is changing, though, and with good reason. It’s now becoming clear that having a healthy staff is the key to running a healthy business. If your people are healthy, they’re more likely to show up for work, work hard and turn out a quality product – and they’re also less likely to run up steep health care expenses for your business.

According to the Huffington Post, there’s tangible evidence that wellness pays off. The news source published Centers for Disease Control data proving that chronic diseases and lifestyle risk factors are driving health care costs – about 86 percent of full-time workers are overweight or have at least one chronic illness, and the consequences of these health issues result in $153 billion in lost productivity per year.

Needless to say, it’s time we did something about this.

Wellness has real value
The first step is to reframe the conversation. Wellness isn’t just nice to have – it has real, tangible value to your organization. Peter Allison, senior VP of technology innovation at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, told the Huffington Post that companies can benefit from investing in their employees.

“Companies are constantly looking for ways to improve the working environment,” Allison said. “It’s a myth that companies are trying to get the most out of somebody and then burn them out and throw them away. That exists in very foolish companies, but not in those that are truly successful.”

Looking at the big picture
Ending the cycle of unhealthy, expensive staffs requires a holistic view. It’s not just about a little bit more dieting or exercising. Scott Schulman, president of Rodale, told HuffPo that companies need a complete approach that includes every aspect of health.

“We don’t want our employees to just focus on fitness and nutrition,” Schulman said. “We want them to think about the big picture – how they live and thrive in their lives, day to day, and help others to do the same.”

Is your company providing flu shots? What about screening for heart disease? There are many, many aspects of health that are worth your time and attention. Examine them all.

Changing the corporate culture
The goal here isn’t just to change a habit or two. What you really want to do is reform your organization and build it around a culture of health – everyone should know the value of wellness at all times.

“What they’re really looking at is how the company produces a total environment that’s conducive to health and well-being so that wellness is the expectation, the norm,” Kenneth Pelletier, director of the Corporate Health Improvement Program, told the Huffington Post.

Ultimately, you don’t want wellness to be a chore or an afterthought. You want it to be a value that people carry with them always. Learn how you can optimize your wellness strategy and support a healthy culture with Ceridian LifeWorks. 

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