Justin Taurog looks at how important people power is to the success of a business
One of the most important factors affecting the success of a business, whether large or small, are the people it has working for it.
In a lot of businesses, particularly smaller ones, people also make up some of the largest costs the business will have. So it goes without saying that a happy, motivated and healthy workforce will contribute more to the success of a business than a demotivated, unhappy and unhealthy one.
Businesses of all sizes are beginning to appreciate that improving employee health and wellbeing can have a significant impact on their finances, as well as increasing productivity and engagement in the workplace. Put simply, good employee health is good business.
There are a number of business protection products that come with an integrated health and wellness solution for employees. These give your business clients the opportunity to build a culture of health improvement
Talking to your business clients about their protection needs also presents you with an excellent opportunity for you to outline these costs, as well as the solutions available to them to help get the best from their workforce.
The cost of absenteeism
Absenteeism is one of the largest causes of lost productivity to a business, and although this is an inevitable cost of business, the figures are surprising:
• In 2013, 131 million days were lost due to sickness absence in the UK (1), with a cost to business of more than £15bn;
• Minor illnesses, such as coughs and colds, accounted for 27.4 million days of lost productivity (1);
• Mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety also contributed to a significant number of days of work lost in 2013 at 15.2 million days (1);
• The average cost of lost productivity for participants in Britain’s Healthiest Company research was 7.85% of the wage bill (2).
There is growing evidence to support claims that leading a healthier lifestyle can help to reduce the incidence of some of these common reasons for absence.
Taking mental health issues as an example, there is a direct link between a person’s weight and their mental health. Research from Britain’s Healthiest
Company found that the incidence of clinical depression among people with a healthy body mass index (BMI) was just over 5%. This rose to between 7% and 8% for those with a BMI of between 30 and 36, and 11% for those with a BMI of over 36.
When sitting down with your business clients, there is an excellent opportunity for you to drill down into more detail and find out more about the companies they own. Do they value the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace?
And do they actively engage with their staff on this issue? Because if the decision makers in the business were aware of just how large the numbers were, their approach to health and wellbeing might be very different.
Does employee health really make a difference to the
Understanding the impact an unhealthy lifestyle has on the workforce is an important step in addressing the problem.
However, it is easy for businesses to overlook the true financial costs.
Addressing these issues can be perceived as costly, and often justifying the added expense of a health and wellness programme can be difficult.
But often, the true cost of an unhealthy workforce can be massively underestimated.
The Britain’s Healthiest Company research found that poor lifestyle choices, work organisational factors and environmental conditions cost UK
companies £58bn each year.
• Lost productivity for companies with the strongest health and wellbeing cultures was 5.9% of the wage bill, compared with 10.7% for those with the worst cultures.
• Employees that look after their health have an equivalent of 30 additional days of productive time each year, compared with those with unhealthy habits
• Employees that get the recommended amount of sleep each night have an equivalent of five additional days of productive time each year.
When talking to your business clients about their protection needs, discussing the financial costs of absenteeism is extremely important.
Because the full cost of absenteeism and lost productivity is often buried in the balance sheet, business owners can be completely unaware of the scale of how much money is being wasted on lost productivity. By highlighting these costs, you have an opportunity to shift their attitude.
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