Employee counseling might be more beneficial than you think, especially when it comes to health care cost savings. Spending money on an on-site behavioral health specialist (such as a health coach, health educator, registered nurse or registered dietitian) can save your company money in the long run by improving chronic disease risk factors—like obesity, stress, poor diet and high blood pressure.
The Cost of Unhealthy Employees
Unhealthy employee lifestyle choices add unnecessary expenses to employers’ bottom lines, which is why on-site behavioral health specialists at the workplace can be beneficial. The University of Michigan says one out of four employer-paid health care dollars is linked with unhealthy employee lifestyle habits, with obesity being the most costly. Other lifestyle factors that boost employer costs include alcohol use, mood-altering drugs, smoking, stress, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Health coaching sessions can motivate employees to live healthier.
Health Care Cost Savings
Offering an on-site health coach (or other health counseling professional associated with preventative medicine) means lower employer health care costs, according to a 2015 study published in Medical Care. Researchers who conducted the study found that total health care cost savings were $412 per person (for high-risk patients) per month after participating in health coaching sessions. This health improvement for employees is significant, leading to lower company-paid premiums.
Employees who are healthier and feel better about themselves appear to be happier human beings, which can improve your company’s image—and relationships with clients. A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that one healthy lifestyle habit (increased fruit and veggie intake) was associated with improved happiness and well-being in study subjects. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition says obesity is associated with a negative body image and feelings of depression. So, keeping employees healthy means improving their workplace demeanor as well.
Lower Absenteeism Rates
The perk of lower employee absenteeism may seem like a no-brainer but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. Healthier employees mean fewer sick days and better workplace productivity. Having a behavioral health specialist on-site makes it easier for employees to schedule health counseling sessions, as they can do it before or after work—or even during their breaks.
Improving Your Bottom Line
Adding an on-site health coach to your company’s staff (or as part of a workplace wellness program) is an excellent way to improve employee health, happiness and workplace productivity. Encourage individual or group employee counseling sessions with a health coach, and offer incentives for doing so to keep participation rates high.