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Top 3 Business Benefits of a Healthy Workforce

A healthy workforce is a difficult goal for many human resource teams to achieve. Singapore businesses have long been investing in the health of their workforce but will be facing a new challenge as the population is rapidly aging. Studies show that well implemented workplace wellness programmes have significant business benefits. — Contributed by ValueChampion Singapore

You can bet that the benefits to a healthy workforce affect not just employee satisfaction but your business’s wallet. Here are some of the top 3 benefits for businesses who invest in the health of their employees.

1. Cost savings

Businesses can’t afford to not invest in the health of their workforce. Workplace wellness programmes have long been popular in Singapore companies. According to The Rand Corporation, who conducted a 10-year study of a Fortune 100 company, they found that the business saved on average $3.80 for every $1 invested on disease management programmes and $0.50 for every $1 invested on lifestyle management programmes. Ultimately, both resulted in cost savings for their employees along with the many benefits of a healthy workforce.

Disease management programmes address immediate health problems, like heart disease, and realise benefits in the short term. Lifestyle management programmes mitigate longer-term health risks, like poor eating habits, smoking, and exercise, for the long term. Both reduce the average cost per member by US$30 per month. 

Although the initial investment for a lifestyle wellness programme can be cheaper and easier to implement, prioritising disease management over lifestyle programmes provides a higher return on investment (ROI). Focus on where your wellness programme dollars are going, health screening vs food campaigns.

That being said, don’t neglect setting up a strong lifestyle wellness programme for employees. Not only do they ultimately save employers money, but they also mitigate the risk of developing chronic illnesses that contribute to the higher health care costs. Additionally, you will find that lifestyle programmes benefit employee satisfaction and retention rates, indirectly resulting in cost savings.

2. Productivity

Even though an employee may be present at work, those suffering from chronic illness, injury, or other conditions may not perform at the top of their productivity levels. We call this presenteeismUnlike absenteeism, presenteeism is rarely tracked despite the significant operational cost to businesses.

According to a study by the Population Health Management:

  • Those who do not eat healthily are 66% more likely to have high presenteeism
  • Those who do not exercise regularly are 50% more likely to have high presenteeism
  • Smokers are 28% more likely to have high presenteeism

As such, investing in a healthy workforce can reduce the levels of presenteeism and boost the productivity of employees. 

3. Employee retention

Turnover rates can cost a business a significant amount of resources and money over time, such as for training, deteriorating product or service quality, low employee morale, as well as an overall reduction in return on investment. As such, healthy employees increase employee retention. The more a business invests in maintaining the physical and mental health of their employees, the lower the turnover rates.

A study by Towers Watson from the National Business Group on Health indicated that companies implementing effective wellness programs have significantly lower voluntary attrition rates than companies that do not. This means that businesses can spend more money on products and services than recruitment and re-training.

Singapore businesses who invest in the health of their people should not think of it as a sunk cost, but rather an opportunity to reap significant returns on smart investments into their team. Businesses will not only save money on health care costs but increase productivity and employee retention. 

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