This is why should include your employees health in the business plan

To take responsibility for a positive societal development at your company is superb. It is usually called corporate social responsibility. One catch with CSR is that it is difficult to measure the effects. In the company's accounts, it is mostly seen as an expense. With health, it is the opposite. Companies that work consciously with health will soon notice results in numbers.

Okay, let’s be clear, management has understood its significance. They have taken the lead by changing themselves and inspiring the employees. What many might not know however, is that actions from the management are directly linked to the employees' blood pressure, levels of stress hormones and risks of various lifestyle and identity diseases. Fortunately, it is easy to reverse a negative trend. Management that wants to take responsibility for its influence over the employees can get started quickly. It does not just show up in physical measurements. Higher productivity and more fun numbers will come within a year if you do it right.

The boss decides how you feel

"Tell me how your boss feels, and I'll tell you how you feel." That was the great lesson health guru Johan Holmsäter learned from the study of the connection between the manager's and employees' well-being that was carried out together with the statistician and sociologist Ingmar Lycke.

The study covers 1,500 people in workplaces all around Sweden and clearly shows that the manager's lifestyle, leadership style and work style affect employees' stress levels, blood pressure, fitness values, eating habits and consumption of painkillers. A stressed manager increases stress throughout the organization, while a manager who interrupts meetings in time for people to eat a good lunch signals that no task is so important that it can affect people's health negatively.

The company's most important resource

"Our staff is the company's most important resource". We can read this in several annual reports. Paradoxically, staff is also often the companies' most costly resource. There are usually well-developed plans for training, product development and communication, less often for employees' health and personal development.

Together with KPMG, Johan Holmsäter conducted a survey a few years ago that addressed personnel and HR managers at 613 companies with more than 200 employees. The majority were private industrial companies. More than a third were listed on the stock exchange. The report shows that companies experienced stress and high work pace as their biggest problems. 27 percent of the costs of salaried employees' sick leave were related to fatigue. One in three took sick leave due to workload.

Half of all respondents wanted to change their work situation and a quarter wanted much more response from their boss and management. In short, they wanted to be seen, noticed and get feedback. Based on the 200 questions, the following six problems were ranked as the most serious in ranking.

  1. It is difficult to prioritize competence development during periods with a high workload.
  2. Too few opportunities for temporary relocations for employees who need to "stress off".
  3. Difficulties to meet some employees' demands for a slower pace of work.
  4. Difficulties to avoid and handle an uneven workload between employees.
  5. Too high a work pace to have time to meet other employees to exchange information and discuss things that are perceived as important for the company's long-term operations.
  6. It is difficult to detect and help employees who are feeling unwell at an early stage.
The consequences:
  • Employees suffer from fatigue (many do not return).
  • Repeated absence for shorter or longer periods.
  • Employees quit, either due to lack of development and training or due to too high a workload.
  • Expensive compensation in the event of sick leave.
  • New recruitment is affected by the rumor about working conditions.
  • Poorer performance and working environment.
  • High costs for the company.

Published 2021-03-05