Simplifying evaluation for your workplace wellness strategy
12 June 2019
Most employers appreciate that investing in workplace health can support employee engagement and productivity yet most (77%) of employers don’t evaluate the impact. This prevents employers on the fence from jumping on the organizational health bandwagon. And when the going gets tough and resources are short, support for health and wellness is often the fist thing to go. However, if we had better concrete evidence of the impact that investing in health has on performance, we might think twice about what to cut and what to keep.
So, let’s connect the dots.
First things first. Let’s break down the silos between health and business outcomes.
We’ve all heard that employee health can improve employee productivity. It’s true. And it does more! A healthy culture supports an organization’s reputation not just for potential employees – but for customers too. Let’s face it – image is everything. And when your employees are happy and engaged, that comes through when they deal with clients. And those good news stories that you share with the world about how your employees and organization is healthy and maybe involved with the community – that creates a great image that makes your business more attractive to everyone.
Let’s talk more about employee health and productivity. There is great research out there that clearly shows a link between cognitive functioning and exercise. Just look at the image below, a 20-minute walk can light up the brain like a Christmas tree. What’s more, is when people are given flexibility and autonomy in their jobs, they are more creative, efficient and able to truly shine.
Those are just a couple of examples of how a healthy people can support business outcomes, yet most workplace health evaluations focus on health outcomes, cost savings and absenteeism. While those things are important, its also important to remember that from a business lens, the impact of creating a healthy culture on morale, employee engagement, productivity and performance can outweigh the impact of health cost savings alone.
Looking at health and business outcomes is imperative to realize the impact of a wellness strategy. Additionally, it is imperative that the goal for a workplace health program is not be about a program, but rather, about shifting culture so that health and well-being is integrated into the way work is done every day.
Specifically, an investment into a healthy workplace needs to be about creating a culture that is psychologically healthy and safe, where there are opportunities to be physically active and/or reduce sedentary behaviour, easy access to healthy foods and creating a strong linkage to personal resources and the community. Creating a healthy culture is the best way to support organizational health and performance while reaping both short and long-term benefits.
Okay, now that we are all on the same page, the most effective way to conduct an evaluation is to align and measure health and performance outcomes.
The following is a visual demonstrating the impact on four key business perspectives.
Follow this three-step process to make sure that your wellness strategy support employee health and organizational performance:
- Use or create a strategy map like the one above to support the business case and/or help to narrow down measurable objectives
- Fill out or develop a one- or two-page scorecard with measurable objectives and success factors based on the following four perspectives:
- Financial performance perspective: Cost avoidance (absenteeism, disability, HRA scores, pharmaceutical costs) and Profitability (sales, growth, productivity, net income)
- Customer service perspective: Reputation (customer experience, brand reputation from market survey, community partnerships)
- Internal business processes: Operational excellence in the strategy itself (awareness, participation, integration with business plan, efficiency)
- Learning and growth perspective: High performing culture: employee engagement, employee productivity (measured with performance appraisals and/or employee competencies), employee health (measuring behaviour change first, health outcomes later) and employee retention (turnover rates)
- Fill in the measures annually, track progress and adapt objectives and actions as needed.
Need help with creating a scorecard or determining objectives that fit your organization? Members of Wellness Works Canada receive a facilitated one-hour session. Let’s chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog submitted by Chamber Member Wellness Works Canada