I've had the pleasure lately to talk to a few organizations about disability and wellness, and unfortunately, I seem to be the only one with a different mindset. For those of you that are inclined to read and listen, you may actually be the fortunate ones.
Employers believe that weight loss and exercise is the way to wellness and reduced disability claims. I'm thinking they're wrong. Here's why.
Eating too much, smoking and being not so active are ways people are managing to control the stressors in their life. You can also add going off on disability to that small list. So why would you start with these 3 areas to reduce claims?
This is how I see it. People need their devices to manage what is going on with work, with their spouses, with their kids and with life in general.
Don't take away their coping mechanisms to reduce financial loss to your organization. You aren't doing this for them. You are doing this for yourself. Time to stop thinking what you can get out of it.
Employers need to seriously pause for a few moments and implement a plan that has rewards for the employee, and in turn, has a significant impact on the environment they work in, which in turn will result in happier people and less claims. Not so hard or is it?
Now we all agree that eating too much, smoking and inactivity can create unhealthy employees but is this really the root of your claims?
In a health care system that promotes sickness, with ever increasing prescriptions, surgeries and time off work, very little is being done on health promotion. We don't solve our health issues by putting band aids on them.
We need to pull that band aid off, and get some serious healing happening. It's time employers stop following the trend - and yes, it is a trend!
Move away from the usual flu campaigns, weight loss, smoking cessation programs, and others, to wards a long lasting approach to employer AND employee wellness.
Chances are your workplace is more sick than your employees. Try fixing that first.
Lucie M.H. Fournier RN, COHN(C), BA (Psych)
Founder/Workplace Health Strategist
With over 30 years of experience in disability management, and a return on investment on average of 1:7, Fournier disAbility & Health provides customized and results oriented services in Absenteeism Management including Attendance, Sick Time/Short, Long Term Disability, and WSIB claims for employers across Ontario.
Expertise in 5 distinct niches of disAbility management include:
1. Complex claims management resolution
2. Mental health claim return to work & accommodations
3. Advanced level training for internal claims manager to make a significant impact on the health of the employee and wealth of the organization
4. Transitional Leadership when moving to & from a 3rd party disAbility Management company
5. Sensitive claims & disAbility management of professional staff, such as HR, health team, and/or executives such as supervisors, managers, directors