There are clear business benefits to supporting employee health and wellbeing, according to a report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Its report, Getting better: workplace health as a business issue, published with healthcare provider Medicash, outlines how improving employee health can contribute to better business performance through lower absence, higher productivity and better employee engagement.
It also provides a practical toolkit to support employers, based on the experience of CBI members to date.
The report’s key actions for employers include:
- Develop joined-up health and wellbeing programmes that factor in emerging public health trends.
- Take a proactive and preventative approach to health and wellbeing to influence employee behaviour.
- Equip managers with the knowledge and support to handle health conditions as swiftly as possible.
- Ensure robust systems are in place to effectively manage absence and the return to work.
The CBI is also urging the government to support employers by:
- Promoting the Health and Work Service and ensuring it is the default option for employees absent from the workplace for four weeks or more.
- Using tax relief and incentives to encourage employer-funded interventions into health conditions at earlier points, taking the burden off the NHS and getting people back to work sooner.
- Promoting the benefits of flexible working as a route to helping absent employees back into the workplace.
- Continuing to raise awareness of key public health issues.
Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at CBI, said: “Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business.
“Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not only the right thing to do, it has real business benefits.
“It’s time for organisations and government to work hand-in-hand to move from a reactive to proactive approach on health and wellbeing in the workplace.
“Encouraging investment that gets people back to work sooner, with less of a burden on the NHS, is in everybody’s interest.”
Sue Weir, chief executive officer of Medicash, added: “Developing and implementing a targeted healthcare strategy can help organisations avoid costly absenteeism and ensure their workforce is a happy, healthy and committed one.
“That’s why more and more employers looking to increase output and maximise business performance are putting into place robust health and wellbeing strategies.
“Offering a health and wellbeing package is an affordable and beneficial means of doing this and of attracting, motivating, rewarding and retaining staff.”