Promote wellbeing and avoid widespread disengagement
Employers that fail to promote employee health and wellbeing in conjunction with retention and attraction strategies can expect up to 93 per cent of their workers to be disengaged, according to new international research.
Wellbeing more important than everAccording to Beattie, the business case for focusing on employee physical and psychological health is more critical than ever.
"Mental illness, such as depression, is increasing from the impact of the financial crisis, whilst obesity, and associated potential chronic illness, is at epidemic levels."
Up to 70 per cent of Australians aged between 45 and 60 are obese, she says, and account for higher-than-average rates of absenteeism.
And undiagnosed depression costs Australian business more than $4 billion (or 12 million days) in lost productivity each year.
"These factors are forecast to increase significantly in the future and will have a major impact on organisational productivity," she says.
However, the research indicates that financial performance can increase by more than 2.5 times when health and wellness is encouraged, she says.
"Organisations that do this well will not only improve their chances of [surviving the global financial crisis] but will be ready to capitalise swiftly as the market conditions improve."
The research also reveals that more than 65 per cent of employees in companies that take wellbeing seriously plan to stay with the company for the next five years, compared to just 42 per cent of others.
And organisations that don't promote health are four times more likely to lose talent in the next 12 months.
Health and wellbeing promotion, Beattie says, is also associated with an increase in creativity and innovation, and a lift in customer loyalty.
What to do"Organisations should adopt an integrated approach to wellness that defines and measures wellness as involving physical health, psychological health and organisational engagement," Beattie says.
"Organisational wellness can be measured by quantifying the collective health and engagement of the employees.
"In turn, this will allow leaders to make informed decisions about targeted and effective programs that will not only drive individual behaviour change but will also lead to increased performance."
Employers, she says, should pool resources and manage engagement and health in one combined program.
Communication is vital, she says, as well as measuring and re-measuring health and engagement to determine ROI.
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