Finding Wellness Dividends at the Better Workplace Conference

I had the pleasure of speaking last week at the Better Workplace Conference, held this year in Halifax. I entitled my talk “The Wellness Dividend: How employers Can Improve Employee Health and Productivity.” The talk was sponsored by Merck, who also has commissioned me to write a report on this topic (watch for a free copy of the report on my website, coming soon).

One of my key points is that employers can gain much greater payoffs from wellness initiatives if these are more directly linked to the organization’s employee engagement strategy. Engagement is a strategic goal for most larger organizations. Wellness may be, but usually is not. Yet the same workplace factors and management practices promote wellness, engagement and job performance. Furthermore, research shows that work motivation influences employees’ participation in wellness programs — no doubt one reason most wellness programs have low participation rates in the range of 1/3rd of those eligible.

The message for employers, then, is to step back from your health, wellness and engagement initiatives and look for potential synergies. Maybe its time to integrate all these goals under a single human capital umbrella.