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As many employers and HR professionals know, personal health risk management often appeals to those in the know who are already healthy.
So how can they help those ‘hard-to-reach’ employees make healthier lifestyle changes and, ultimately, help boost performance and productivity?
The challenge of engaging with employees who stand to benefit most from health improvement programmes, was at the heart of last years Boardroom Briefing hosted by AXA PPP healthcare with Health Insurance magazine.
A number of the panelists agreed that the employees most at risk of ill health and being off sick are the ones least likely to complete a health risk assessment (HRA). It’s the individuals who are already healthy who are more open to discussing their health and lifestyle.
According to Larry Bulmer of ADVO Group, helping the ‘bulk in the middle’ of your workforce to make lifestyle changes, rather than focusing limited time and resource on just the small proportion of the workforce that are often off sick, is going to give a much better increase in productivity.
I think you can do both and we shouldn’t just abandon the ‘hard to reach’ group – but you have to operate in a smarter way. I’ve seen a real shift of focus among employers from tackling workplace absence to increasing productivity. We’ve all seen employees struggle into work to generously share their germs so perhaps the emphasis on absence has gone too far? Whether people are absent or just sub-optimal boils down to what I prefer to call ‘Impaired Productivity’. So our task is about getting someone who’s working at 60% up to working at 80% or beyond through making a few simple lifestyle changes that will improve their health and increase energy and productivity levels.
That’s fine for the moderately motivated majority but what about those ‘hard-to-reach’ employees? Can we get them to engage? If we can, the productivity bonus will be substantial.
Having delivered in both manufacturing and office environments I am confident the answer is yes. To quote one ‘hard-to-reach’ employee – he didn’t turn up to his health screen because he ’knew it would be bad news’. However, he engaged with us because we offered an actual solution. Wellbeing of the past has felt more like entertainment than healthcare and, while fun matters, a core sense of health outcome delivery has been missing.
We have to be smarter, scaling the power of interventions to the severity of the problem and above everything deliver evidence based outcomes. The market is ripe for innovation and it’s certainly my ambition to build on our excellent start at AXA PPP healthcare.
Chris leads AXA PPP healthcare’s Proactive Health services, a ground-breaking approach to engaging populations and driving health behaviour change in a manner that is both inclusive and cost effective. His team consists of a unique combination of health experts, technologists and experienced e-commerce specialists.
Chris himself combines both business experience with his doctorate in molecular biology, giving him an understanding of and passion for solutions against the diverse range of risks created by modern lifestyles, including challenges such as diabetes and hypertension.
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