March 16, 2018
Businesses, organizations and government agencies in the US employ around 153,337,000 people aged 16 and above, with the median age of 42 years. This means most of the US workforce is between 25 to 64 years of age.
These years are perhaps the most significant time period in an employee's life. These are the years when families are formed, health commitments increase, financial goals are set and aspired to and retirement planning becomes a reality. For employees at the far end of that age range, chronic and acute medical conditions and health expenses increase.
Employers are not turning a deaf ear to the needs of their employees. They realize this symbiotic relationship is key to organization profitability, streamlining costs and increasing productivity. While employers are leveraging pay packages, flexible working options, and career advancement opportunities as elements to retain and attract skilled personnel, these are only pieces to the puzzle. There is also an increasing need for employers to entice employees into managing their health and wellness to keep the overall spending on benefits within the allotted budget. Following upward spiraling healthcare costs in the order of trillions of dollars, employers have shifted at least some of these costs on to employees through higher deductible plans or limited family coverage. But there is only so much that can be shifted to the employee and family.
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that "Employees who participated in a program and successfully improved their health care or lifestyle showed significant improvements in lost work time. These employees saved an average of $353 per person per year. This reflects about 10.3 hours in additional productive time annually, compared with similar, but nonparticipating employees."
It is only reasonable that organizations promote a culture of health and well-being among their employees extending to their families as well. The cultural change extended to family members does not just include rewards, healthy competitions and behavior change. It should also include a holistic approach to managing physical, emotional, financial, spiritual and social well-being. Employee wellness is not just about improving physical fitness, it includes all the things that give them a happy, stress-free life.
For wellness programs to be successful, they must be focused on long-term change. Changing behaviors over the long haul reaps rewards for employers, employees, and families. But how do we get there? Being in control of chronic conditions and counterproductive behavior, as well as improving healthy choices, is one aspect of managing health. Other tools are immunization schedules, medication adherence tools, easy access to medical health records and hospital visits. Therefore, a comprehensive, single health platform is the answer for employers to make a committed effort to improve the health of its workforce, increase employee engagement, retention, and productivity.
An ideal health platform needs to securely manage and document family health profiles for health conditions and wellness. With Diabetes and Heart Failure being the prominent health concerns, specific care considerations, coaching, treatment protocols and Health Partner guidance should form the framework for targeted health promotion and care. Analysis of wellness assessments, biometric screening results, claims data and drug spending data can augment risk analysis. Thus, helping in proactive care for employees and their families.
Are you ready to evaluate your own corporate wellness needs? Answer these 3 quick questions to get started. Then stay tuned for the next GCH Blog as we dig deeper to help you build a culture of health and wellbeing.