No matter how what industry you are in, your people are an asset. I would be willing to bet that your people are your most valuable asset. Where would your business be without your people? What would happen to your business if all of your people disappeared? Worse yet, what would happen if you didn’t take care of them and they broke down?
This question may sound ridiculous, but think about it this way:
You have a maintenance plan for your equipment. You know that if you don’t take care of your equipment, it will break down. You also know that it is far more expensive to do major repairs or replacements than it is to keep up the routine maintenance of your equipment. People are no different. It is far more expensive to wait for major health issues and fix your employees than it is to help them with their own routine maintenance.
The fact that people make businesses go is not a new concept. What’s new is the approach that businesses are now taking to make sure that they are investing in keeping employees running smoothly rather than waiting for problems to fix. The concept has been in place with equipment and machinery for years, but now companies are seeing that their employees are even more valuable than the equipment they are using. They are skilled and able to use things with precision for your business if they are healthy. If they are not healthy, they are not able to do their jobs and therefor the equipment they are using is less valuable.
Not only is an employee far more valuable because of their skills, but they are far more productive when they are at full capacity. Just like the machine that hasn’t been cleaned in a while, employees slow down when they are not “maintained”. Now, many would argue that it is up to each employee to maintain themselves, but the environment they are in is a major factor in how they are able to do that.
Speaking of environment, there is one thing that everyone in your workforce has in common. They are using a valuable and very expensive resource that your company has generously provided. That resource is the benefits plan. They have health insurance to take care of them and to take care of their families. This is not a free resource to most employees in this day and age, but it is still a heavy burden for any company to provide benefits for employees. There are few things you have to do in order to make sure that your health plan (or any system) is as effective as possible:
Teaching employees the best ways to use the plan so that it is cost-effective for the company and for the employee is a smart way to operate. You wouldn’t turn someone loose with a new piece of expensive equipment with our proper training. Why do we provide health benefits without proper training on how to use it?
When you train employees, you are holding them accountable for their actions. When an employee’s actions have a negative impact on the company, there are consequences. When you know very clearly that something will cause a negative result in your company, you communicate very clearly so that people are not doing it and if they do they are going to be held accountable. You wouldn’t sit by and watch employees cause damage to any part of your business and cause costs to increase. You would train them not to.
The Connection between People and Business
Wellness is simply the training that your employees need to keep the health plan running smoothly. Wellness mitigates risk and future costs. Wellness is what your health plan needs in order to stop the steady increases each year. Employee health has a direct impact on the plan and the costs, which makes this a serious business conversation. Employees want to live healthy and your company can support them and see positive results on the bottom line and in many other areas, which makes this a people conversation as well.
Health and healthcare are all about your people. You provide them benefits to help them in their personal lives. You provide benefits to keep good people employed and seeking employment at your company. You provide benefits, for the same reasons you do everything else in your business. You want results.
You get many results from your benefits. Those results all depend on what you invest. If you invest nothing other than premiums, you get claims and you get to pay premiums again next year. You are likely paying more each year too. If you invest in employee health, you are able to see improvements in employees, reduction in claims and in turn, your company benefits in multiple ways.
In other words, wellness provides you with results that affect both your employees and your company as a whole. In fact, they are intertwined. As you help your employees reach their goals, they are becoming more engaged, productive and seeing results that make them feel and perform better. As these changes continue, you are seeing better use of the plan and fewer health issues which leads to decreased costs. Wellness is a people decision with business results. Meaning, your health plan and how you manage it is a serious business decision.