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Creating a Culture of Health for Employees

July 16, 2010

Health costs have become a vital part of today’s business expenses especially in the States. In a WebMd Health Services webinar, healthcare costs were reported to be worth 17% of U.S. GDP and about $25,000 per employee.  Apparently 88% of these costs are attributed to personal lifestyle so it’s important for management to create a culture of health for their employees.

Successful strategies have included benefits (such as cash and work related incentives) to contests, health coaching (which include both online evaluations and onsite professionals), and worksite events.  Benefits have shown to increase participation in health related activities up to 85%. Contests can motivate your employees, especially if they are competitive to change their lifestyle choices. Health coaching can work to change behaviours to promote healthier lifestyles. Worksite events include health fairs to onsite biometric screenings (onsite health evaluators) which can add energy to health initiatives and the workplace.

These payoffs are high and save employers money. Statistics show that in American companies, for every dollar spent on wellness programs, medical costs fell by $3.27. Also, employers who implemented online health watch programs showed dramatic changes in the lifestyles of their employees. In a survey of 20,000 employees, 43% had said that they had started an exercise program, 40% had changed their diet and 26% said they scheduled a preventative exam.

With medical costs growing these days, companies need to start promoting a culture of health. Research shows that an investment in health dramatically decreases the costs of healthcare. A healthier workplace not only increases the well being of employees, but makes them more productive as well.

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