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Make the Business Case

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Your company’s management must support your wellness program efforts for them to be successful. Managers will want to know:

  • Facts about diabetes in your workplace.
  • Impact of diabetes on employees and the company.
  • What steps can be taken to address diabetes in your workplace.
  • How much diabetes prevention and management interventions will cost.
  • How diabetes activities will fit in with the workplace wellness program already in place.
  • How program participation will affect employees’ work and productivity.

Three fundamental messages  are critical in gaining management support for diabetes prevention and management efforts:

  • Simple changes can lead to important benefits for people with or at risk of diabetes.
  • The company benefits through improved productivity and reduced health costs.
  • Diabetes prevention and management are worth the investment.

According to an article from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine entitled “The Link Between Workforce Health and Safety and the Health of the Bottom Line:  Tracking Market Performance of Companies that Nurture a ‘Culture of Health'”,  companies that build a culture of health by focusing on the well-being and safety of their workforce yield greater value for their investors. The same journal included  the article, “Health and Productivity as a Business Strategy” [PDF – 184 KB], which showed that employers of all sizes are discovering a competitive edge by understanding the broader health and productivity costs of their enterprise and investing in the health of their workforce. A meta-analysis found that participants in workplace health promotion programs had about 25% lower medical and absenteeism expenditures than nonparticipants according to an article in the American Journal of Health Promotion entitled “Meta-evaluation of Worksite Health Promotion Economic Return Studies”.  Another study showed that the savings associated with worksite health promotion programs — that medical and absenteeism ROIs amounting to $3.27 and $2.70, respectively, were saved for every $1.00 invested during a 3-year time. This study was published in Health Affairs.

Recently, there has been some controversy about the value of worksite wellness programs. But evidence over the past 30 years shows that well-designed, evidence-based programs and principles can achieve positive health and financial outcomes. Employers should use best practices to increase the likeliness of success. A Joint Consensus Statement [PDF – 146 KB] published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine provides information about these best practices.

  1. Fabius, R, Thayer, R, Konicki D et al.  The Link Between Workforce Health and Safety and the Health of the Bottom Line: Tracking Market Performance of Companies That Nurture a “Culture of Health”. Journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2013;55:993-1000.
  2. Loeppke R, Taitel M, RIchling D, et al.: Health and Productivity as a Business Strategy. JOEM 2007; 49:712-721.
  3. Chapman L, Meta-evaluation of Worksite Health Promotion Economic Return Studies: 2012 update. American Journal of Health Promotion.2012;26:TAHP12.
  4. Baicker K, Cutler D, Song Z. Workplace Wellness Programs can Generate Savings. Health Affairs (Millwood), 2010;29:304-311.
  5. Goetzel R, Henke R, Tabrizi M et al. Do Workplace Health Promotion (Welnness) Programs Work?  Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014; 56:927-934.

Aids & Tools

Know More

  1. Learn more about worksite  wellness and the value of health and productivity management from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Learn how to promote your program to senior management.
  2. The CDC has resources on making the business case within the Total Worker Health Initiative.
  3. The Worksite Health 101 from CDC provides additional resources like checklists and slides.
  4. The CDC Division of Population Health/Workplace Health Promotion has information.

Ask More

  1. Where can I find the elements of a comprehensive evidence based worksite wellness program?
    The CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard (HSC) is a tool designed to help employers assess the extent to which they have implemented evidence-based health promotion interventions in their worksites. Worksite wellness programs can provide valuable information and support about diabetes prevention and management. Comprehensive programs focus on healthy lifestyle issues such as weight loss and management, active living, smoking and tobacco cessation and management of risk factors related to blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. Vital diabetes management topics beyond these topics include following the treatment plan prescribed by the healthcare team and dealing with high and low blood sugars as well as the emotional issues related to diabetes.
  2. Besides a postive ROI, what are other positive outcomes of a worksite wellness program?
    For individuals, workplace health programs have the potential to impact an employee’s health, such as their health behaviors/ health risks for disease and current health status. For organizations, workplace health programs have the potential to impact areas such as health care costs, absenteeism, productivity, recruitment/retention, culture and employee morale. Employers, workers, their families and communities all benefit from the prevention of disease and injury and from sustained health.

Do More

  1. Review your workplace wellness program and determine if additional elements related to diabetes and associated diseases are needed.
  2. Talk with management about the need to incorporate diabetes prevention and management activities into the company wellness program.
  3. Get involved with the Workplace Health Promotion Program which offers training and tips on how to work with employers.