The Healthy Organization

Over the past five years the cost of health care has risen 54 percent.

Over the past five years the cost of health care has risen 54 percent.

As the number of healthy employees in an organization shrinks, so do the bottom-line results for the employer.

Two thirds of Americans are obese or overweight and this means $147 billion in health costs.

Although it is easy to blame political factors for this, much of the growth in health care spending over the past twenty years is linked to modifiable population risk factors such as obesity and stress. Rising disease prevalence and new medical treatments account for nearly two-thirds of the rise in spending. To be both economically savvy and effective, employers should focus on health promotion, public health interventions, and the cost-effective use of employee wellness programs.

As employers consider investing in employee wellness programs, many want to know that there will be a positive return on investment (ROI), typically calculated as a ratio of health plan dollars saved per dollar invested.

A 2010 report by a team of Harvard University health economists, published in the journal Health Affairs, found that the average medical cost savings per dollar invested in wellness programs was $3.27. The report’s finding was based on an analysis of more than 20 peer-reviewed ROI studies.

Few other health-related investments come close to having this much ROI support.

“During my many years of consulting with high performing organizations, I have been quite surprised to see how after all these years, organizations still invest so many dollars in change programs when the infrastructure for change is not in place.  If behavior is to change, attitude needs to first change.  Over and over again, organizations devise indicators of success or performance and find the numbers to support they have reached the desired outcomes.  However, sadly when after six months or so, they notice the changes they had hoped for are vanished, they are surprised”.

Dr. Farnaz Namin-Hedayati, Ph.D.

Employee Wellness Program- Be-LIVE

Through our employee wellness program at Center for Work Life, Be-LIVE, whether you start with a small group such as leadership, a department, or boldly  aim for large-scale behavior modification, organization-wide,  the leading indicators are what our focus is on.

Productivity alone, is deceiving and numbers can say what you want them to say.  If you have extra dollars to spend on change efforts that will not “stick” we are not for you.  Otherwise, rely on a psychologist-designed program that can shape your organization in to gear.

Monitoring Leading Indicators

—For the leading indicators to continue to improve, the organization needs to focus on the performance drivers, i.e., process, alignment and learning. —By continuing to develop the organization’s performance, the leading indicators will track in the the desired direction, as will the dimensions of success.

To see real change, one must focus on behaviors that are responsible.