Most employers appreciate that investing in workplace health can support employee engagement and productivity yet most (77%) of employers don’t evaluate the impact. This prevents employers on the fence from jumping on the organizational health bandwagon. And when the going gets tough and resources are short, support for health and wellness is often the first thing to go. However, if we had better concrete evidence of the impact that investing in health has on performance, we might think twice about what to cut and what to keep.
So, let’s connect the dots and make sure evaluation is simple to ensure that organizational health is a strategic priority in supporting organizational performance.
First things first. Let’s break down the silos between health and business outcomes.
We’ve all heard that employee health can improve employee productivity. It’s true. And it does more. A healthy culture supports an organization’s reputation not just for potential employees – but for customers too. Let’s face it – image is everything. And when your employees are happy and engaged, that comes through when they deal with clients. And those good news stories that you share with the world about how your employees and organization are healthy and may be involved with the community – that creates a great image that makes your business more attractive to everyone.
But let’s talk more about employee health and productivity. There is great research out there that clearly shows a link between cognitive functioning and exercise. Just take a look at the image below, a 20-minute walk can light up the brain like a Christmas tree. What’s more, when people are given flexibility and autonomy in their jobs, they are more creative, efficient and able to truly shine.
Those are just a couple of examples of how healthy people can support business outcomes, yet most workplace health evaluations focus on health outcomes, cost savings and absenteeism. While those things are important, it's also important to remember that from a business lens, the impact of creating a healthy culture on morale, employee engagement, productivity and performance can outweigh the impact of health cost savings alone.
Looking at health and business outcomes is imperative to realize the impact of a wellness strategy. Additionally, it is imperative that the goal of a workplace health program is not about a program, but rather, about shifting culture so that health and well-being are integrated into the way work is done every day.
Specifically, an investment into a healthy workplace needs to be about creating a culture that is psychologically healthy and safe, where there are opportunities to be physically active and/or reduce sedentary behaviour, easy access to healthy foods and creating a strong linkage to personal resources and the community. Creating a healthy culture is the best way to support organizational health and performance while reaping both short and long-term benefits.
Okay, now that we are all on the same page, the most effective way to conduct an evaluation is to make sure that your workplace health and performance/workplace wellness strategy has measurable objectives from the get-go. Here is the sure way to get and see results.
The following is a visual of how a wellness strategy can impact organizational performance when it is focused on supporting a healthy culture. It is one that learns and grows; supports internal operations; improves customer loyalty and reputation, and finally; supports financial performance in the form of cost avoidance, improved sales, growth and even net income.
Follow this three-step process to make sure that your wellness strategy support employee health and organizational performance.
1. Use or create a strategy map like the one above to support the business case and/or help narrow down measurable objectives.
2. Fill out or develop a one- or two-page scorecard that includes measurable objectives and success factors. Make sure to put in some real numbers.
3. Fill in the measures annually, track progress and adapt objectives and your work plan as needed.
Lastly, it can be helpful to stagger what you measure from year to year. In year one, you may want to look at the success of meeting needs and addressing risks, then the second and third years you may look at the value of your investment (qualitative measures) and finally in years four and up you can start to expect some financial performance - if that is important to your organization.
Need help with creating a scorecard or determining measurable objectives that fit your organization? Become a partner member and we will facilitate a one-hour session with you and/or your team to fill one out to get on the right track. Let’s chat: email@example.com