Health is an HR issue

Peter Mills , 09 Aug 2010

Hello and welcome to this the first of my blog postings. I've committed to the folk at HR magazine to write a piece every two weeks or so. I’ll be focusing upon health, and specifically how the health of the workforce can be managed, monitored and improved to drive better productivity and outcomes. “This is an HR forum” I hear you say, “can’t we leave this sort of stuff to the NHS or the occupational health doctors and nurses?”

Let me try and explain some more; when I first started working in the corporate health management space 10 years ago business leaders, company executives and HR professionals alike would look rather quizzically at you when you mentioned health and business performance in the same breath. A decade on, employee health management is a more accepted discipline, with some organisations even having designated individuals responsible for this area. This having been said, there is still a long way to go before we can really say that health is truly an integrated part of business strategy in the majority of organisations in the UK.

With the inexorable shift away from manufacturing to service based industry in the Western world the way we look at employee health also has to shift. Traditional occupational health and safety is just not that relevant to people sitting in an office all day long….the chances of them losing an arm in the photocopier are just not that big! But, the chances of them underperforming are significantly impacted upon by both their own lifestyle choices, and also how their employer structures their work.Managing this effectively can lead to major individual and group productivity improvements with the potential for tangible competitive advantage to any business.

So, rather than rabbit on in a unstructured fashion I thought it would be a good idea to let you, the reader, decide what you want me to write about. What are the key health issues affecting the UK’s working population? How do you measure productivity? What workplace interventions are effective and generate an ROI? Feel free to email me or post a comment.

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