Reversing the Trend: Improving Population Health at Work

“In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that productivity losses linked to employee absenteeism due to illness cost employers $225.8 billion annually in the United States, or $1,685 per employee,” Magdalena Mook, CEO and Executive Director of the International Coach Federation (ICF), wrote in a recent article in the Business Journals.

That said, the money lost doesn’t stop at absenteeism. The nearly $226 billion figure doesn’t include disability and workers comp costs, overtime and part-time help, employees who are underperforming because they’re coming to work sick, not getting enough sleep, are stressed and more.

“The United States lives to work,” Mook wrote, “And the impact of this is felt in every industry and at every job level.”

What can be done?

1. Have an increased attention to employee’s health and wellbeing
If you are just starting to implement a wellness or wellbeing strategy, programs like health risk assessments and biometric screenings provide a good base of information to know the status of employee health and how you can better help them.

“HRAs and biometric screenings are tools that employers can use to gauge particular data points and get an idea of what an employee’s perception of their health is,” Will Herold, DHS Group’s VP of Employer Solutions, said.

2. Get your employees involved
On top of assessments and screenings, integrating an activity tracking program takes your employees from just having information about their health to having a program that gets them involved in making healthy changes. On top of activity tracking, employee wellbeing can include a full scope of wellbeing programming like health coaches, financial/budgeting information, mental health and more.

3. Understand your health and health spending for cost savings
With screenings and a wellbeing plan in place, working to both understand and utilize your healthcare data is the final step in a full-circle solution to better population health and lower healthcare costs. Healthcare data and analytics allow you to track your health spending and optimize your investment in the areas that you need it most.

“Health and wellness coaching and programs should not be an add-on to your business,” Mook said in closing, “Integrating this approach into the core values of your business will return your financial, personnel and time investment.”

We work with companies in all stages of their wellbeing programming – from first integrating assessments and screenings to complete healthcare data and analytics plans.

Regardless of whether you’re new to employee wellbeing or unhappy with the results that your current program is offering you, we’d love to talk more about how DHS Group’s approach of integrating wellbeing programs with data and analytics not only improves your employees’ population health, but saves you money in the process.