The Well-Being Journal

Well-being vs. the Traditional HRA: Who Wins?

Cameron Bowman

A productive workforce is a profitable workforce. Whether through management initiatives, outside consulting or wellness programs, employers are increasingly invested in understanding, quantifying, and ultimately improving productivity. The multi-billion dollar wellness industry claims to be able to achieve all three objectives, through identifying and mitigating health risks that may negatively impact productivity. However, while the venerable health risk assessment (HRA) remains a staple in the majority of workplace wellness programs, new research suggests that it may not be the most effective measure to guide efforts aimed at improving productivity.

Since the traditional HRA focuses almost exclusively on physical risk, many barriers to high individual performance, such as financial troubles and a disengaged work life, may be overlooked. By contrast, taking into account an individual’s well-being – which includes factors like emotional health, healthy behaviors, work environment, basic access to care, community quality and safety, and life evaluation in addition to physical health – gives a much more accurate picture of both current and future productivity levels. A new study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, verifies the distinct advantage of individual well-being measurement over an HRA in predicting changes in employee productivity over a two-year period.

The study found that change in well-being was the most significant independent predictor of productivity change across three measures: self-reported job performance, self-reported on-the-job productivity loss, and employer-reported unscheduled PTO use. The well-being assessment performed four times better than the HRA in explaining variances in job performance and nearly three times better for presenteeism. Even after removing the physical health aspects (physical health and healthy behavior domains) of the well-being score – aspects on which HRAs typically focus – well-being maintained its advantage over the HRA, confirming the importance of non-physical factors to workplace productivity.

With the amount of money spent on workplace wellness continuing to rise, investing in the correct tool to identify the factors that most affect productivity change over time can maximize not only your employee performance and well-being, but your bottom line.

To read more about the study, click here.

Topics: Well-Being Well-being Assessment

Work Environment: It's More Than Just the Furniture

Jennifer Rudloff

With the average adult spending more half of their waking hours at work, it stands to reason that a person’s work environment and professional relationships play a key role in determining their overall well-being. What may be a little more fuzzy for some is the impact that that person’s overall well-being has on their organization.

Gallup research shows that American workers are disconnected from their work – they found 71% of people are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” with their work. That’s a big chunk of us. Additionally, the Well-Being Index (WBI) shows that workplace well-being has been on the decline for the last few years. Whether you want to blame it on the economy or some other factor, it’s important to recognize the impact it’s having from your organization.

Findings from the WBI and Well-Being Assessment (WBA) reveal strong correlations between a person’s well-being and their engagement, productivity, performance, and healthcare spend. To put some numbers to it, we know that on average, for every 10 points you can move the needle in an individual’s overall well-being, you’ll realize a healthcare cost savings of $409, an 11% reduction in unscheduled absences, and 3 points higher engagement at work. Not bad, huh?

So how can you improve the engagement, motivation and well-being of your people? In this illustrated video, Daniel Pink talks about how workplace well-being can be improved through several key changes – the single greatest being motivation.

Topics: Well-Being Work Environment Workplace Well-Being Engagement Well-Being Index Motivation Productivity Daniel Pink Well-being Assessment

Healthy Business Radio: What's Working With Worksite Wellness

Jennifer Rudloff

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the hosts of Healthy Business Radio. During my interview I revealed the secret sauce behind successful workplace wellness programs and the importance of focusing more on a person's overall well-being rather than narrowing in only on health. Through understanding their population and adopting a well-being approach to workplace programs, organizations can reduce costs, and positively impact productivity, presenteeism, and engagement.

To hear the full interview and learn more, press play below.

[audio: http://www.healthways.com/uploadedfiles/JohnHarris_HealthyBizRadio.mp3]

Want to learn more about the study conducted on the Well-Being Assessment for productivity? Click here.

Topics: Well-Being Reduce Costs Healthy Business Radio Workplace Well-Being Engagement Well-Being Index Prevention Employee Performance Improvement Wellness Program Well-being Assessment

Well-Being: Move the Needle, Reduce Costs

Jennifer Rudloff

John Harris, Chief Well-Being Officer at Healthways, talks about the correlation between the well-being of employees and an organizations costs, productivity, engagement, and performance. In this video blog, you will learn about how impacting well-being will return results.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQdHJeueN_g']

Topics: Basic Access Work Environment Workplace Well-Being Healthcare Engagement Physical Health Business Performance High Performing Teams Health Well-Being Index Employee Satisfaction Competitive Advantage Cost Reduction Cost Savings Productivity Healthways Reduce Absences Well-being Assessment Performance/Productivity