Evidenced-Based Approach to Employee Wellness Aims to Improve Organizational Performance
Senior Director, Health & Well-Being, Sodexo
The prevalence of chronic disease continues to grow in staggering numbers across the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as of 2012, about half of all adults (or 117 million people) have one or more chronic health conditions and 25 percent have two or more chronic health conditions. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently noted that 48 percent of all health care spending in 2006 was for the 50 percent of the population who have one or more chronic medical conditions. Similarly, the American Heart Association estimates the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in decreased productivity.
We are at a turning point in this country. The health of our nation depends on companies stepping up to the plate and taking employee health and well-being seriously, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it can have a significant impact on the overall performance of the organization. In addition to the obvious – healthier, happier employees – organizations can save millions on health care and disability costs, increase workforce productivity, reduce employee absenteeism and decrease rates of illness and injuries. Furthermore, corporate-sponsored health and wellness programs are an essential element to competitive employee compensation and benefit packages which attract and retain the best talent.