The inaugural AIA Vitality Summit in Singapore discussed the impact of employee wellness programmes on productivity, costs and profitability
1. Effective employee wellness programmes focus on inculcating the right habits and changing behaviours of employees to make healthier choices.
- To achieve that, key drivers include C-suite leadership and engagement, interventions that target major health risks, leveraging technology and behavioural economics and healthy workplace design.
- Rewarding employees' healthy behaviours and C-suite leadership and engagement were identified as the top two critical drivers for an effective workplace health programme, with approximately one in three (36.6% and 34.7% respectively) attendees selecting each option in a live poll. Mr Mark Saunders highlighted that investing in employees' health is not only the "right thing to do" but that it is also "the smart thing to do" and the responsibility of companies to do so.
2. Collaborative efforts from multiple stakeholders is required to establish a healthy workforce in Singapore.
- When asked who played the largest role in driving wellness in the workplace, besides employers incentivising staff to stay healthy, government providing financial or regulatory support emerged as the second key player, with 14.7% of the delegates' votes.
- At the 10% medical inflation rate per year in Singapore, a much faster rate than general inflation, we are already paying for our employees' deteriorating health without knowing it. Instead of asking 'How can I afford to pay for a corporate wellness programme?' we should be asking 'How can I afford not to invest in my employees' health?' emphasised Dr Jeremy Lim
3. The ability to effectively measure Returns on Investment (ROIs) on employee wellness programmes is essential for companies to start investing in the health of their workforce.
- Approximately two in five (38.9%) delegates expressed that the biggest challenge to implementing a corporate wellness programme in their organisation is because they are unsure about the ROIs from corporate wellness.
- Reduced employer healthcare costs, increased employee engagement and consequently productivity levels, as well as improvements in stock prices were cited as examples of benefits companies have derived from making such investments.
- Measurement is key; while the above results will not be immediately evident as corporate wellness programmes are a long-term investment, it is important to measure the short-term performance of such programmes, such as engagement rate, to keep companies motivated for the end goal.
- Dr Derek Yach underscored how workforce health metrics should be an integral indicator of overall organisational performance within the broader corporate accountability framework by 2020.