Risk management is not normally thought of when it comes to human resources, but with the obesity epidemic in American and greater emphasis on employee health, that is quickly changing. With the costs for a company to provide health care to employees skyrocketing, they have all the incentive in the world to properly assess and mitigate potential risks of employee health.
Overweight and obese employees have twice the number of compensation claims, several times higher medical costs of those claims, and consistently lose more days from work due to injuries or illness.
For most organizations, health and wellness risk management is implemented through employee programs. These programs often include a multi-layered approach of engagement, incentives to reach goals, and even evaluations. The goals of these programs are to boost morale and improve overall employee health, thereby reducing organizational health care costs.
Better employee health and higher morale also has the organizational benefit of increasing productivity through greater work efficiency and reduced time away from work. Therefore, effective health and wellness risk management will work to coordinate efforts of human resources, occupational safety, and health and wellness programs to make an effective impact.
The plan and solutions developed should be customized for the organization. The more unique to the employees, the greater the likelihood they will be engaged. The organization must also have properly trained health and wellness professionals working with risk managers. This program should not be developed by a random employee who visits the gym a lot. Experts should be hired who are trained in developing programs for all types of people and can communicate effectively.
The program must also have the support of the entire leadership team. They can create a new culture that starts at the top and works its way all the way down through the employee ranks. A successfully integrated health and wellness risk management program can successfully mitigate losses due to poor employee health.