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How to Optimize Organizational Performance Through Health

Updated: Jul 7, 2019

We have all heard that supporting employee health and wellness can impact productivity. Sure, if an employee values health and wellness perks, then it only makes sense they would be more engaged and productive, right? But are there other benefits to performance and if so, how can we capitalize on them? Let’s explore.


Benefits of Wellness

The range and benefits of a health and wellness program depends on how an organization defines employee wellness and what they both do and measure in the program. A good program that is integrated with the organization’s strategy can be most effective and according to several sources, can reap the following benefits:

  • Enhanced organizational reputation

  • Improved customer experience

  • Reduced cost of lost time due to legitimate or illegitimate absenteeism and disability claims

  • Become an employer of choice

  • Better employee retention

  • Improved employee health

  • Reduced risk related to employee psychological health and safety

To attain these benefits, you need a good understanding of what a workplace wellness program is all about.


Defining Wellness

So, let’s start there - a great definition of a wellness program is “planned, employer-sponsored interventions that are intended to help employees take up sustainable lifestyle changes that reduce health risks, advance quality of life, augment personal effectiveness and are beneficial to the organization” (Berry et al 2010). The key to this is an integrated approach that keeps the organization’s outcomes in mind to benefit the organization. These programs are not just about perks, they need to be about helping people reach their potential – in health, productivity and performance. Equally important is the evaluation because as they say, ‘what gets measured, gets done’.


Many frameworks and programs that organizations are using are either value-add and not truly integrated or integrated but complicated. Integration into an organization’s existing framework and plan is necessary but it doesn’t need to be complicated. So how do we enhance performance through health?


Key Components to Ensure Success

Key ingredients of a program that will impact performance include:

  • Assessment of current health and performance

  • Leadership support and a strategy map/business case linking health to productivity and performance and assignment of appropriate resources

  • A change management/engagement plan involving health and performance champions in each department who have a shared accountability (preferably leadership)

  • A good plan with objectives, measurable outcomes, implementation plan + accountability measures

  • Solid evaluation plan that assesses behaviour change, cost of lost time, health outcomes and performance indicators. This evaluation plan is used for continuous learning to adapt the plan as needed based on organizational needs annually.

So yes, this isn’t a completely turnkey solution, but hey, you reap what you sow and if it is integrated into other organizational strategies that are already in place during updates, it can achieve sustainable organizational health and performance


To access a downloadable five-step framework to an effective program to impact health, wellness, productivity and performance in your organization click here.


#WorkplaceWellness #Performance #Productivity

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