Filed Under:Markets, Employee Benefits

Healthy employees create competitive advantage

According to a study by Integrated Benefits Institute

Healthier workers create (financially) healthier companies.
Healthier workers create (financially) healthier companies.

It may come as no surprise to many that healthier employees are more productive employees, creating a competetive advantage for their employer. That's according to a recent study by Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a workfore health and productivity research and measurement organization. 

The company studied 1,268 employees at 53 organizations and found that employees that work at companies with a strong commitment to a healthy workforce "spend more time working, work more carefully and concentrate better than employees at other organizations," according to the report.

“If a workplace sets a high priority on the health of employees — who, in turn, are healthier and have better job performance — then it can reasonably be said that an employer’s culture gives it a competitive advantage. Workplace culture reflects the priorities of company leadership and is an area where employers have some leverage to improve business performance,” stated IBI research director Kimberly Jinnett, PhD, the main author of the report.

The study also found:

  • Not careful at work: Workers in an organization with a weak health culture reported not being careful at work “all” or “most of the time” more than three times more frequently than those who work in organizations with a strong health culture.  
  • Not working as often: 44 percent more employees who work in an organization with a weak health culture reported not working as often as they should have “all” or “most of the time” as compared with employees in organizations with a strong health culture.  
  • Not concentrating: 31 percent more employees who work in companies with a weak health culture reported they did not concentrate “all” or “most of the time,” compared with employees in organizations with a strong health culture.
  • Getting less work done: There was no difference in the responses from those in a strong versus a weak health culture with regard to getting less work done — but employee health is a differentiating factor. Emotional distress and overall health strongly influence how much an employee accomplishes, and employees in organizations with a weak health culture have worse outcomes on both measures.

IBI President Dr. Thomas Parry said "as more employers recognize that health influences productivity, as well as health care costs, health outcomes such as absence, disability and presenteeism are being brought into the larger discussion of the business cost of poor health."

Of course, this is not the first time that research has shown the connection between poor employer health culture and employee ailments (and therefore, productivity) and it won't be the last. According to IBI, employers that wish to increase their focus on health-related job performance and its impact on the bottom line "should broaden their view from the individual health of employees to additional organizational factors, including health culture and employee well-being."

Companies are, albeit slowly, starting to see the link between employee well-being and productivity. 

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
Managing Editor

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