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A 'culture of health' can raise productivity and create competitive advantage
Employees at companies with a strong commitment to health and wellness spend more time working, work more carefully, and concentrate better than employees at other organizations, according to a study by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a nonprofit research firm.
The study,Opening a Closed System: The Influence of Health Culture on Job Performance, explored the relationship between an employer’s health culture and workers’ job performance using a database of health-risk appraisal data from 1,268 employees at 53 U.S. organizations. Employees rated their organization’s interests in employee health and creating a healthy workplace and measured difficulties they encountered in their job performance during the prior 28 days.
The majority of respondents (86 percent) rated their organization’s health culture as excellent or good; the remaining 14 percent rated it as fair or poor.
“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,” wrote IBI research director Kimberly Jinnett, the main author of the report.
The study reveals a statistically significant relationship between the type of health culture and job-performance measurements such as carefulness, diligence and concentration at work:
“Increasingly, employers acknowledge that health care is not a closed system and that the health of workers—whether treated in the medical system or not—has broader impacts on the organization that are important to senior management,” said IBI President Thomas Parry. “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.”
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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