The impact of employee health on business performance

Most businesses have a health and wellbeing policy, but understanding how employee wellbeing supports business goals is another thing entirely. Amanda McMillan, co-founder of Wellineux, says that it’s essential to link business strategy to the employee wellbeing strategy. Without this, argues McMillan, employees won’t see how these strategies support the business overall.

Iain Hopkins, says in his article ‘Linking Health to Performance’, the cost of unhealthy employees will result in a financial impact on a business.

McMillan is in agreement with this and cites the results of poor employee health on business as the following:

  • 70% of leaders report regularly being unable to be attentive in meetings
  • 59% of workers feel unsatisfied, physically depleted, emotionally drained and lacking in meaning and purpose
  • 20% of Australians have taken time off in the past 12 months due to feeling mentally unwell
  • Untreated mental health conditions cost workplaces in Australia an estimated $10.9bn per year

So what are the considerations when implementing an effective wellness strategy in a business?

McMillan recommends firstly conducting an audit of employee absenteeism and compensation and then survey employees, either online or face to face. This helps provide a base-level understanding of employee wellbeing. This information, combined with the HR and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) strategies will help focus the employee wellbeing strategy.

So what are the considerations to ensure the health and wellbeing policy is implemented properly?

A White paper called ‘The Value of Promoting Employee Health and Wellbeing’ by Robert Walters found that 88% of the professionals surveyed believed that employers had a responsibility to support and improve their wellbeing but 56% believed that their employers did not do enough. Other key findings of the research were:

  • 35% said a wellness program was offered but was partially implemented, ineffective and/or poorly utilized
  • 29% said a wellness program was offered and was fully implemented, effective and/or highly utilised
  • 27% said no wellness program was offered and the organisation had no plans to introduce one
  • 9% said no wellness program was offered but the organisation had plans to introduce one

To ensure that a health and wellbeing policy is fully utilised and implemented throughout the business, it needs to be considered as one of the key business priorities and part of the strategic plan. Without this level of importance, stand-alone policies can be viewed as insignificant and sloppy, says McMillan.

If you would like advice and assistance in developing a Corporate Health and Wellbeing Policy, speak to the HR Consulting team at Flexi Personnel.