Invest in risk assessment, education, and planning for a healthy, productive workforce.
A common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, exercise, and live healthier. You can help employees feel better, live better, and work better in 2019 with a few simple steps.
Help employees identify their personal risks. Offer a health risk assessment (see a sample here), a questionnaire that helps employees identify potential health problems, risky behaviors, and opportunities for change or improvement. Another source of information is the health inventory (see a sample here), which assesses risks and identifies other factors that contribute to health and well-being. Both of these tools can help employees think about their health holistically. HR can use the information from these assessments to develop wellness programs and other benefits tailored to employee needs.
Once employees identify health risks, provide them with resources to help them manage these issues, such as:
- Health coaching to support diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes.
- Telephone-based case management support for employees with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
- Intensive case management for individuals diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer.
Inform employees about health benefits and resources available to them. While this is a common part of orientation and/or formal job offers, it is important to conduct regular reviews of health benefits, particularly if there are changes to them. Use email blasts, texts, or meetings to highlight aspects of employee health benefits. At the same time, if an employee is diagnosed with a serious illness, remind him or her about what benefits and services are available, including community resources (such as support groups, Meals on Wheels, etc.).
Help employees plan for costs of care. Help them understand what kinds of out-of-pocket expenses they will be responsible for, including deductibles, copayments, medications, and medical equipment. Address options such health saving or flexible spending accounts.
Encouraging and enabling employees to take charge of their health is a key role for HR that keeps people both happy and productive on the job. It also can help reduce costs due to absenteeism, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations.