How a Health Coach Can Drive Business Goals
Published by: LifeWorks,
Organizations that bring in experts for individually-tailored wellness coaching helps employees make healthier behavioral changes. These changes ultimately drive company success by increasing productivity and happiness, dissolving employee stress, correcting unhealthy behaviors – all while lowering direct costs.
The Cost Of Doing Nothing
Chronic diseases and related lifestyle risk factors are the leading drivers of healthcare costs for employers and employees. According to the CDC, productivity losses linked to employees who miss work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, annually. Furthermore, those who work full-time and are overweight, obese, and have other accompanying chronic health problems miss about 450 million more days of work each year compared to workers that are healthy.
This costs employers an estimated $153 billion in lost productivity each year. If that’s not enough, 60% to 80% of workplace accidents and more than 80% of doctors’ visits are attributed to stress.
Where the Health Coach Comes In
Wellness is unique and individual; there isn’t a one size fits all solution to well-being. Simply providing employees with health risk assessments will not give them the tools they need to make significant behavioral changes. Employees need someone to explain and assist them with understanding health information and give them tools to make healthier and lasting changes to their lifestyles.
Health coaches engage employees and meet them where they are so they are more successful at making healthy behavior changes. Employees drive success by creating SMART goals with their coach while the coach acts as their personal cheerleader throughout the entire process.
Goal #1 – Increase Productivity, Lower Presenteeism
If your employees are well taken care of, they are happier and more productive. The common thought that having a cutthroat, high-pressure culture will drive productivity is a thing of the past. In fact, it might do the opposite, sending employees into a whirlwind of stress and costing companies additional money in healthcare claims. Sure, every job comes with a certain amount of stress, but creating a healthier environment by providing perks such as a health coach will ensure happier, more productive employees.
Having a health coach to help employees understand where they are in life, get them out of the weeds, and create a plan of action will provide them with the tools they need to stay motivated. When employees feel that they have control over their lives, they’re more likely to be more productive and healthy.
According to a Harvard Business Review article, productivity increases when employers encourage employees to speak up and talk about their problems. Engaging with a health coach about what is going on in their lives will allow employees to become advocates for their own well-being. Encouragement from the top down will take the guilt out of self-care for employees and embolden them to seek assistance when they need it, therefore increasing their productivity!
Goal #2 – Decrease Stress
It’s no secret that stress plays a major role in one’s life and is one of the nation’s leading health problems. Increased levels of job stress, as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands, have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders.
Working with a health coach can help your employees become less stressed for many reasons. Health coaches work with employees to identify their stressors and create an action plans to manage their stress through different techniques such as mindfulness and meditation. Many different sources have stated that coaching for stress management can be beneficial both to the employee and employer.
These sources indicate that coaching is brought into organizations to help employees manage stress, improve performance, and achieve goals, but can also be extremely useful in helping employees identify their stressors, find permanent solutions and maintain these changes.
Goal # 3 – Promote Healthy Behaviors
Your culture is what ultimately drives your business’s success. It is made up of patterns of accepted behavior along with the beliefs and values that promote and reinforce these behaviors. What if these behaviors begin to become unhealthy? Long working hours leading to burnout, sedentary lifestyle, and low self-esteem are some of the many culprits that have employees adopting unhealthy behaviors.
According to a Harvard Business Review article, in order to enforce behavior change, it is recommended to focus on one behavior at a time, even though there may be multiple behaviors that need to be changed. By adopting a coaching practice for your employees to rely on, the coach and employee can quickly identify these unhealthy behaviors, prioritize, and focus on one at a time.
This allows the employee to immediately start correcting behaviors by replacing them with healthier ones that won’t get in the way of their personal success as well as the success of the company.
The Bottom Line: Your ROI
The workplace is a perfect place to put healthy behavior changes into action, as it is where your employees spend much of their day. Employees will influence each other and create a domino effect as they begin to develop and execute healthy behavior changes throughout their day, creating a culture of wellness. Having a wellness program initiative like health coaching in place can mean lower direct costs, such as insurance premiums and workers’ compensation claims.
This can also translate to lower indirect costs if employees miss less work due to illness and are more productive when they are at work. According to the CDC, 73% of small companies (3-199 employees) and 98% of larger companies (200 or more employees) offered at least one wellness program, such as health coaching, as part of their health benefits in 2014. Now is the time to take care of your employees to ensure not only a healthy culture but a more productive and successful company and workplace.
Article adapted from Corporate Wellness Magazine