HR & The New Year’s Resolution


“Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions.  According to the University of Scranton, 3 of the top 10 resolutions in 2012 related to improving health by losing weight, exercising more, or quitting smoking.  So what does this have to do with HR?

Well, I thought it was a great time for a quick article on the value of Employee Wellness programs.  Common sense would tell you that a healthier employee is:

  • a more productive employee
  • less likely to call in sick
  • less of a draw on your organizations healthcare benefits.

Historically, Employee Wellness programs have been seen as a nice to have.  However, there is strong evidence that supports the common sense conclusion that Healthy Employees Cost you less. Here are just a few examples from a 2010 Harvard Business Review article:

  • every dollar invested in intervention resulted in a $6 savings in Health Care costs
  • lost work days reduced by 80% totaling $1.5 million dollars in savings
  • Voluntary turnover reduced to just 4% after implementing a wellness program

Nothing should be all that surprising here.  Yet, many organization still lack effective wellness programs if they have any at all.

The cool thing about all this is that there is a powerful business case for doing the right thing and supporting our employees in their pursuit of healthier lifestyles.  Like everything in this blog though, I would recommend starting slow to get some early wins and proving the model to employees and your organization.  Some quick ideas:

– Start a pilot project with a small group exercise program.  Partner with a local health club and let them help you build the business case.

– Start a quit smoking contest and reward the winner with vacation days

– Spruce up your stairwell with some fresh paint and some pictures to encourage people to take the stairs

Truly, there are endless ideas for you to support your employees and get a huge (and measurable) return on your investment in time ad money.  Start small and continue to build on the program’s success.

When you hear about your employees’ plans for being better this year, think about how HR can help.  The benefits are endless for the employee and the organization.  Not to mention the satisfaction that you had something to do with it.

Let me know some of the things your doing to support employee wellness and what results you have seen.

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