When it comes to promoting a healthy culture in the workplace, there are generally three types of employer: those who understand the benefits of a program to boost it and are doing so; those who understand the benefits but are lost on how to do so; and those who have no stance in making such an improvement.
The factor that may be holding back many in the latter category is a recognition of the importance of such an issue. Does improving employee wellbeing really have a positive effect on the business?
According to a recent article by The West Australian, employee wellbeing programs may be enabling companies to avoid some of the costly concerns people have both inside work and out of it.
The cost of workplace health and wellbeing
A substantial risk for companies ignoring the wellbeing of their workers is a drop in safety standards. A Colorado-based study released this month by Pinnacol Assurance found that out of 260 companies enrolled in a health risk management program, 97 per cent said that a boost in worker wellness improved safety.
For those without such a focus, there will be ethical as well as financial strains on the company in fines, fees and rehabilitation programs. While this cost no doubt fluctuates on a business-to-business basis, Central West Health and Rehabilitation believes it has a good estimate.
"Employees with a cluster of seven heart disease risk factors have an average annual cost of $2,640 more than employees with no modifiable risk factors," the health services firm reported.
"Employers have a choice: proactively promote health promotion programs or expect to pay more in direct and indirect health related costs."
Heart to heart
Focusing on the issue of heart disease in particular, the medical concern can be more pressing for those forced to lead sedentary work lives – such as office workers.
However, with the issue taking the life of one Australian every 26 minutes, it is a concern for businesses all over the country and in practically every industry. A strong corporate health insurance strategy can improve the health and wellbeing of workers at a medical level.
For instance, access to the private health system can help to improve the benefits on offer to employees. They can choose a doctor and the place they will receive treatment, as well as a host of extras, should the company wish to include these in their business health insurance cover.
With a greater focus on improving health, heart disease can be minimised as a risk factor – as can a number of other matters concerning Australians, such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and stress.
Saving money on corporate health insurance
Of course, when we're talking about the cost of not having a health and wellbeing plan, we also need to consider the price of having one.
Employers can offer either a subsidised health insurance scheme, to help workers afford private health insurance, or an unsubsidised version that takes full charge of the insurance costs.
Whichever option companies opt for, they can then take steps to ensure their policy is not breaking the budget – such as comparing corporate health insurance with their broker.
An insurance broker has the network, the knowledge and the time to find a competitive deal among Australia's 34 registered health funds. What's more, they work for you, not the insurance companies, to make sure your needs are met.
So, if you are looking to make your workplace safer and more cost-effective, a health and wellbeing plan could be the way to go.
For more information on the part health insurance has to play, contact HICA today on 1300 44 22 01 for a free and impartial service.