Employee Health…Is it the Employers Responsibility?

HR magazines everywhere cite statistics which link healthy employees to healthy workplace results. But whose responsibility is it to ensure that employees take care of their health, see their primary care physicians annually, exercise on a regular basis, eat the right foods, and get vaccinations? Although it is not the employers’ responsibility per se, there are some basic and easy ways to promote a healthy workplace which prove beneficial to both the employee and the organization.

  • Promote a healthy organizational culture. There are some simple ways to do this. When ordering in meals for seminars and/or trainings, order healthy items – skip the unhealthy choices such as pizza, cookies, and chips. Involve your company in local 5ks and/or other exercise initiatives. This does more than get everyone out for some exercise; it’s the perfect environment for socializing!
  •  Encourage Preventative Care.  This begins with offering health insurance; statistics provided by the White House show that the smaller the company, the less likely they are to offer health insurance.  In fact, less than 50 percent of employers with less than ten employees offer health insurance.  When selecting a health insurance company, it may be wise to ask about preventative care options such as vaccines, smoking cessation programs, and perhaps annual exams without charge.   Be sure to advertise these benefits to your employees, encourage them to get physicals, and consider offering them time during the workday for preventative care (The White House, 2009).
  • Consider Incentive Programs.   Incentive programs in organizations are growing all over the United States.  Programs that encourage employees to exercise, attend regular doctor appointments, get vaccinations, eat well, and overall take care of themselves have really jumped in popularity. Some incentives to consider may include bonuses, awards when they reach their goals such as certificates or fitness gear, and overall continued encouragement for the effort in which they put in!

Daniél Kimlinger, MHA, PHR
Human Resources Specialist

 

Reference:
The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses and Their Employees.
The White House (2009, June 25). Retrieved August 22, 2011, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA-smallbusiness-july24.pdf

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