The inaugural AIA Vitality Summit in Singapore on 25 October 2016 saw panelists discuss the impact of employee wellness programmes on productivity, costs and profitability.
Attended by more than 100 C-suite executives and representatives from government agencies, an estimated 66.3% of them believed that the most important driver for wellness in the workplace is for employers to incentivise staff to stay healthy.
The summit had three major takeaways:
#1 Employee wellness programmes have to focus on inculcating the right habits During a live poll, the results showed that getting senior leaders involved would contribute to a successful healthcare programme. On top of that, rewarding employees’ healthy behaviours is also another key driver to an effective programme.
Group chief strategy and marketing officer of AIA Group, Mark Saunders, highlighted that investing in employees’ health is not only the “right thing to do” but also “the smart thing to do”.
#2 Collaborative efforts from multiple stakeholders necessary to establish a healthy workforce 14.7% of the delegates believed that financial or regulatory support from the government played a huge role in driving wellness in the workplace. Dr Jeremy Lim, partner in the health and life sciences practice of Oliver Wyman, reiterated how employers should be asking “‘How can I afford not to invest in my employees’ health?” rather than ‘How can I afford to pay for a corporate wellness programme?’
#3 ROI important for companies to start investing in the health of their workforce More than a third (38.9%) of delegates expressed the biggest challenge to implementing a corporate wellness programme in their organisation is being unsure about the ROI from corporate wellness.
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.
Patrick Teow, CEO of AIA Singapore, said, “We recognise that poor health of employees could potentially increase costs, lower productivity and reduce business profits. As such, many business leaders today have come to the conclusion that it makes good business sense to invest in the health and well being of their employees.”
With rising healthcare costs being a key concern for Singapore, poor health can be attributed to lifestyle choices, habits and behaviours – such as physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and smoking. The press release also stated that “employees' poor heath is becoming an increasingly massive cost to both businesses and the economy with physical inactivity in Singapore costing the government, companies and Singaporeans more than S$200 million in direct costs in 2013 alone, with the figure ballooning to a whopping S$275 million when indirect costs are included.”
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