The Case for Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion Making “Cents” of a Good Idea
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Authors • Lisa Sullivan • Berkeley Butler • Nancy Dubois • Steve Kingston
Key Issues Facing Business Today • Attracting and retaining skilled employees in a dwindling knowledge labour market • Controlling the cost of employee absenteeism • Being successful at home and competing globally
The Case for Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion • Implementing a comprehensive workplace health promotion program is key to addressing these issues. “To succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy, organizations need to ensure that their workers are performing to the highest standards.” Source: The Conference Board of Canada, 2000.
The Case for Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion • Situation – workplace health, worker health, costs, benefits • Comprehensive workplace health promotion • Rationale for business investment • Success factors in workplace health program • Working together
The Situation • Employee illness and injury are major health concerns in Canada today • The cost of employee absence alone is approximately $8.6 billion annually • Canada is facing a pending labour shortage due to aging population and decreasing fertility rates • Work absences are increasingly due to personal reasons, such as illness or disability, or personal or family responsibilities.
The Situation • Mental health or stress-related problems are steadily on the rise. • Mental and nervous disorders have replaced musculoskeletal conditions as the top conditions causing long-term disability • Canadians are experiencing extreme levels of stress
Costs of an unhealthy workforce • Direct costs: • worker’s compensation • disability costs • drug costs • Indirect costs: • absenteeism • replacement labour • equipment damage • Opportunity costs: • lost innovation • decreased quality • low productivity
Although the workplace is an environment that can negatively affect health it simultaneously offers great potential for improving overall employee health and well-being. Martin Shain in NQI 2001. Investing in Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion
What is Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion? • The evidence is clear that workplace health promotion programs are effective when they are “comprehensive” • “Comprehensive” means that it is planned with organizational participation. It addresses individual worker health as well as the broader organizational environment.
Why Invest in Comprehensive Workplace Health? • Cost Savings / Cost Benefit • Employee Satisfaction • Positive Organizational Profile • Due Diligence
1. Cost Savings/Benefit • Numerous research studies over the past few decades have shown that the workplace has a powerful effect on the health of workers • “We have statistically correlated a healthy organizational climate to profitability, productivity, customer loyalty, and employee turnover.” • Bank of Montreal
1. Cost Savings/Benefit • Less absenteeism • Improved productivity • Fewer insurance and workers compensation claims • A decrease in accidents • Reduced utilization of drug and extended health care • Reduced staff turnover and the retention of valued staff, which means reduced recruitment, training and induction costs
1. Cost Savings/Benefit • A recent review of the cost effectiveness of a selection of U.S. workplace health promotion initiatives showed a positive return on investment values ranging up to $8.81 per dollar spent on the program.
1. Cost Savings/Benefits Canadian Examples: • MDS Nordion - employee turnover rate is 6% compared to the industry norm at 10% or higher - annual sick days are 4 days per employee and the Canadian average is 8 days. • B.C. Hydro - an internal cost benefit analysis after a ten-year program showed the program returned a saving of $3 for every dollar spent. • Canada Life Assurance Co. - over the course of a decade, each dollar the corporation spend on health promotion reaped reward of close to $7.
2. Employee Satisfaction • How healthy people feel, affects their job satisfaction and their productivity. And, how satisfied people are with their job affects their own health. A 5% increase in employee satisfaction resulted in a 1.3% increase in “customer impression” and a 0.8% revenue increase. Sears Roebuck and Company (USA), 1998
3. Positive Organizational Profile • Attracts and retains the best and the brightest employees • Communities increasingly expect corporations to be socially responsible. Companies that made up “Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 1999 produced better financial performance than a group of comparable companies in their respective industry that were not on the list.” Conference Board of Canada 2002
4. Due Diligence • Organizations may be liable for creating workplace environments that create excessive stress The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board recently awarded a settlement to Heather Crowe, an Ottawa waitress who never smoked but contracted lung cancer due to second-hand smoke in the workplace.
Key Success Factors • Senior management involvement • Participatory planning • Primary focus on employees’ needs • Optimal use of on-site resources • Tailoring to the special features of each workplace environment • Evaluation • Long-term commitment
There is a growing body of evidence that the case for a healthy workplace must be positioned within the context of achieving excellence and as an investment in not just the health of employees but in the long-term health of the organization. • Corbett, D. 2001. NQI
Why we will help… • Sick employees are costly to you as well as families, communities and society • Approximately 70% of adults (15 million Canadians) are working and spend at least one half of the waking hours in a workplace • 52% of the workforce has little access to workplace health promotion (Source: Buffett Taylor Report 2000) • Our aim is to promote workplace programs and policies which promote the health of our population
How we can help… • Assist with the development of a specific business case for your organization • Support the development of a workplace health promotion employee / management team • Assist with employee needs assessment • Help navigate through community/health services and link you with existing resources • Provide healthy lifestyle programs
Employees Improved health Increased job satisfaction Employers Decreased costs Improved productivity Increased customer satisfaction Improved business Partnering…WIN – WIN - WIN • Society • Reduction in the use of the health care system • Improved health and quality of lives within communities
Healthy work environment contribute to Canada’s economic success by creating the conditions in which creativity and skills flourish. Graham Lowe, University of Alberta
Workplace Health Promotion makes CENTS! Workplace health promotion is no longer just a good idea – research demonstrates that it is a crucial investment for an organization’s long term success!
Public Service • Operating in a rapidly changing environment • Restructuring • Downsizing • Focus on “business “ of government • Change in mix of workers • Highly unionized • Poor morale issues and high stress leading to • High absenteeism • Decreased pool of qualified workers (recruitment problems and increased retirements)
Public Service • 1997 APEX study of the Executive cadre in the Canadian federal public service showed • high levels of stress and distress • individuals' lack of job control is more strongly related to distress levels, short-term health complaints and longer term health disorders than other factors, including personal lifestyle habits. • The repeated survey in 2002 found that the health status of executives in the public service has actually deteriorated over the last five years. Place a healthy person in an unhealthy environment , an eventually they will become ill. APEX Executive Summary 2002
Small Business • Over one-third of the labour force in Canada is employed in firms with fewer than 50 employees • Very diverse sector • Have higher rates of injury and illness than larger workplaces • Underserved by existing occupational health laws and services because often exempt from OH&S legislation • Employees have closer personal and/or family relations with employers which can be beneficial or harmful • Tend to have a higher participation rates than larger workplaces and achieve more positive results • Concerned re: shortage of qualified labour
Health Care • Health care workers have faced particular stressors related to health care reform • One and a half times more likely to be absent from work due to illness or disability than workers in other sectors. • A recent study of nurses found that work pressure, workplace safety, job control and reward affect nurses physical and psychological health • Ontario Hospital Association is piloting a “healthy hospital model” to help its members effectively improve their workplace environments.