It’s a fact; people are a company’s most important asset. So, it follows that the healthier your employees are, the healthier your business will be as a result.
Looking after the health and wellbeing of employees is not (yet) a legal requirement in the UK, but as noted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), it should be a central priority for any business.
However, to maximise investment in employee wellbeing, organisations need to be equipped with the right information and the right services to build an accurate picture of the health of the workforce and put in place actionable measures to improve it.
Here’s why health assessments are an important tool for employers wanting to create a successful wellbeing strategy with a meaningful ROI…
A supporting Deloitte study to the 2017 Thriving at Work review found presenteeism, sickness absence and staff turnover costs UK employers £33-42 billion annually in productivity losses.
How to boost workplace productivity is an age-old question. Remote working, collaboration, clear communication, and training are all widely acknowledged as ways businesses can do this. However, understanding the health risks which exist in a workforce and having the foresight to act before problems arise can deliver significant productivity gains.
Most corporate health assessments focus on both lifestyle and medical factors. Dependent on the provider, assessments include health dashboards, biometric screening, blood analysis, and one-on-one sessions with physiologists, doctors, and coaches to drill down into the current (and indeed future) health factors affecting individual employees and the workforce as a whole.
Equipped with this knowledge, employers can support employees in starting personalized health journeys and reap the rewards of reduced absenteeism and PMI spend, boosted morale and higher productivity rates.
Stand out from the crowd
Health assessments don’t just bring productivity benefits, they can also underline a businesses’ position as an attractive place to work. Today, hiring the best talent is a competitive field, with more applicants looking beyond salary.
So much so, according to CIPD, 97 percent of businesses are planning to maintain or increase their benefit spend in the next two years. No longer a “nice to have”, a strong employee wellness offering which caters to the individual could be the deciding factor for applicants.
There are also benefits for businesses offering health assessments to existing staff. As much as hiring the best talent is a challenge, so too is retaining it. The new reality of employee loyalty means people today are less likely to have a “job for life”. In fact, half of Millennials are planning to leave a job within two years according to a recent Deloitte survey.
Staff turnover can be costly in terms of productivity, reputation and staff morale. Therefore, job culture and benefits are set to become an even bigger focus for employers looking to show they care about the wellbeing of their staff.
Achieving and maintaining good mental and physical health can be challenging for employees, particularly during busy times at work.
This is where health assessments can help. By giving employees an awareness of their own health and risk factors, they’re empowered to take control and change their behavior, preventing ill health in the long-term and improving quality of life.
However, it’s important employers bear in mind there may be barriers stopping some employees from participating. For example, among Nuffield Health’s clients, employees in manual roles such as factory work find it more difficult than office workers to justify taking time away to attend a health assessment, particularly if it will impact their earnings.
Others may be too embarrassed or scared of the potential consequences to discuss their wellbeing with someone other than their close family or friends.
Simply offering health assessments isn’t job done. Making sure employees understand what they’re entitled to, how it could benefit them both professionally and personally, how their information will be used, and what reasonable adjustments are possible to help them attend should be top priorities.
Leveraging data insights
Data is everywhere and over the next decade, it’s predicted the amount of data created is set to double every two years, inundating organizations with new, insight-rich information. But, while there are clear business benefits, without intelligent analysis data is essentially worthless.
Data is transforming the way corporate health assessments are delivered and the value they bring. If you’re looking to make specific and measurable interventions across an employee population and maximize ROI from your wellbeing budget, data can help you move away from a one-size-fits-all approach.
The next generation of health assessments, which we’re only on the cusp of understanding, are leveraging artificial intelligence to produce an incredibly accurate picture of what makes employees tick, what they should do more of and what they should stop. They can also predict future health risks.
For example, Nuffield Health recently launched PATH (Personalised Assessment for Tailored Health), a differentiated health assessment journey enabling employees to understand and improve their health anywhere, anytime and on any device.
First, people log on to PATH and tell it about themselves; their age, medical history, and lifestyle behaviors to give an overview of their health and wellbeing. Then, by answering more detailed questions, a person’s risk and contributing factors are determined by Trium, a powerful, evidence-based clinical algorithm. Using this information, PATH then recommends personalized face-to-face health assessments with clinical experts.
For any business using technology to collect personal health data, privacy should be a top priority as it’s considered sensitive and is subject to strict rules.
All responsible providers working with employers will always de-identify data, meaning individuals cannot be identified. “Raw” health data will only be processed by health professionals who are bound by the obligation of medical secrecy and discussed one-on-one with individual employees.
So, while a one-off health assessment is beneficial to the individual, the collective data obtained by employers can help inform a more meaningful and intelligent wellbeing workplace strategy.
Ultimately, a person will not instinctively know their blood pressure, biochemistry or resilience to stress even if they are at risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.
Organizations offering health assessments as part of their wellbeing strategy are giving individuals the opportunity to gain insight and awareness. This knowledge alone could be enough to elicit a positive behavior change resulting in improved health outcomes, tangible business benefits, and of course a more meaningful ROI.
About the author: Marcus Herbert, is the Corporate Operations Specialist at Nuffield Health.