HR Managers Who Manage Employee Health and Productivity

Why is this important? World wide, poor health of employees costs companies $576 billion a year, and the loss escalates as one moves up the ladder to high-stress sectors.

employee health vs productivity

  • Travel & Hospitality Sector: For a company with an employee base of 2,000, the loss is over Rs.10 crores per annum.
  • IT/ITeS Sector: For a company with an employee base of 10,000, the loss is about Rs.50 crores per annum.
  • Banking/Finance Sector: For a company with an employee base of 5,000, the loss is over Rs.100 crores per annum.

What can you do, as a CEO, HR Manager or departmental head, to minimise or eliminate this massive bleeding of corporate resources?  

Let’s start by understanding what you’re up against. Here’s a breakup of details for a deeper insight into what we are up against.

Employee Health Diseases Average cost per employee per annum in $
Heart Disease. 236
Mental Health. 179
High Blood Pressure. 160
Diabetes. 104
Back Pain. 90
Heart Attack/Acute Myocardial Blockages. 69
Bipolar disorders/Manic Depressions. 62
Depression. 24


Answers to employee health problems.

  1. Wellness program best practices.

India Inc. is slowly coming to grips with the fact that employee meltdowns are bleeding cash. So it’s actually cost effective to invest in health and wellness programs.

According to Ron Goetzel, senior scientist and director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, a strong workplace wellness initiative is building health culture that entwines the health needs of employees with your company goals, and is supported by the top leadership.

A report “From Evidence to Practice: Workplace Wellness that Works,” prepared by the Institute in collaboration with Transamerica Center for Health Studies, highlights the following as the best wellness program practices.

a) Baseline Survey: Start with an assessment of employees physical activities level, dietary preferences and health & wellness interest options.

b) Top management support and participation: To showcase the high level of importance the management has accorded to the wellness program.

c) Implement bold changes: To create a healthy culture among employees.

d) Policy of reward: Reward system based on employees healthy behaviour and results achieved.

e) Communication: Regularly communicate the program’s updates with employees and top management.

  1. Wellness program to tackle 84% of your employee healthcare costs.

This is an outstanding success story of HR managers who managed to find the right balance between productivity and health of their workforce.

Dominion Resources, a company named one of the most admired electric and gas utility companies by Fortune magazine, has a strong base of about 14,000 employees across many locations in the US.

Their health risk assessment and biometric screening threw up some challenges like weight issues, stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and poor eating habits as the five challenges accounting for 84% of the company’s healthcare costs.

This finding prompted the leadership to embark on a wellness program to help bring about a behavioral change in their employees that could eventually improve their standard of life and positively affect the company’s bottom line.

Branded “ Well on Your Way,” Dominion’s wellness program contained:

  • Active leadership support and involvement (webinars, company sponsored fitness, sports events, etc).
  • Regular health risk assessment and biometric screening.
  • Telephone and email based lifestyle coaching.
  • Reward/incentive schemes (partial or full reimbursement of health plan premiums)
  • Online participant portal (run by StayWell, the program’s external partner).
  • Online programs based on Healthy Living.
  • An impressive and growing network of ambassadors for the program.
  • Company sponsored and online activities for participants.
  • An assistance program for employees.
  • Onsite centers for fitness.

And the wellness program’s achievements are:

  • The average health risks number for first-time health assessment completers reduced from 3.17 to 3.00.
  • The average health risks number for repeat health assessment completers reduced from 3.16 to 3.09.
  • The average health risks number for participants of lifestyle coaching programs reduced from 3.73 to 3.54.

Read the full case study –

  1. Wellness case study that reduces employee absenteeism by 33%.

DBS has seen a 33% decrease in employee absenteeism due to illness, a substantial improvement in our overall productivity.” – Kishore Poduri, HR, DBS Bank India.

DBS wellness program covers:

  • Anti-stress initiatives like gym memberships, physiotherapy
  • Metrics to measure and track the success of initiatives floated.
  • iStep: A walking challenge to help make employees fitter.
  • Assigning individual “Health Points”. To incentivise employees to achieve their personal health milestones.

Read the full case study – Times of India

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