For most organizations, the question isn’t if you’re experiencing lost time and productivity due to disability and mental health issues. The question is, how much?
How much are you losing to absenteeism?
Benefit costs continue to rise
Canada’s mental health concerns
- Costs employers $16.6 billion annually3
- Keeps 500,000 workers ways from work each week due to mental health issues4
- Affects 72% of all employees, who want thier employers to help5
- In their job has caused one in four workers to leave their employer6
- Strikes one in five Canadians due to a psychological health problem or illness in any given year7
- Due to psychological health problems:
- the number one cause of disability
- costs the economy $20 billion per year7
Focus on total health
Remedies to increase ROI
Total health management
Build an overarching total health and wellness program that tackles all variables proven to impact employee health, wealth and productivity. Just like total rewards (or total compensation), employers should understand, communicate and support a complete view of the tools and services they have in place to enable a healthy, productive workplace.
Total health includes:
Disability — What is your plan designed to achieve?
- Understand the current state and opportunities
- Use focus groups, interviews to fully understand the situation
- Define your desired state, not just the current issues
- Redesign your program to ensure alignment, clear accountabilities, roles, responsibilities
- Improve relationship with provider and plan results
Health and wellness — Move from initiatives to strategic action
- Create a whole program (not random parts) that’s aligned with culture
- Develop a multi-year strategy
- Choose the right partners
Attendance support — Preventive, proactive support for productivity
- Improve attendance, accommodation, return to work, impairment management
- Develop new policies that work for today’s workforce
It’s like building a garden
Look at building a total health management program the same as developing in a garden. The award-winning gardener doesn’t just move stakes around or add fertilizer; he or she steps back and looks at the whole picture: Is the garden in the right place? How’s the soil? Does it have the right mix of fertilizer and other nutrients? (Only testing will answer this). What plants work here and what ones do not? Am I devoting enough time to key growing issues? Are pests eating away at profits?
How to get there from here
Diagnose your data
You can’t fix what you don’t know. If you’re not using reliable data — or any data at all — begin by addressing what you do know. Much of this may be anecdotal but can provide a good starting point. What are managers saying about their direct reports calling in sick? Have they seen an increase? Are on- the-job injuries increasing? Have more employees been contacting the employee assistance program?
Although these can provide a general trend, it’s important to build a data-gathering capability so that you can successfully diagnose the problem and implement the right solutions. Look at more than past claims data; consider the effectiveness of programs, policies and practices through interviews, focus groups and data mining.
Measure your progressWhether it’s absenteeism, drug and benefit costs, disability, engagement or participation, make sure you measure the right things for your program. One company reduced its average employee lost time from 8% to 3%, or 20 average days per year to 7.5 days. The 12.5 saved days per year, among 1,000 employees, was equivalent to 50 full-time employees — not to mention an improvement in sales, morale, mental health, administration costs and more.
Keep them at work
Our Total Heath Management approach can help keep your productive employees at work by promoting a safe workspace and positive culture that will result in greater employee reliability and productivity.
For example, one lost work day can cost up to 11 times the cost of that day’s pay for an organization. We’ve helped organizations obtain a 10% improvement in productivity with no additional ongoing costs. Is your organization missing out?
At Mercer we work with clients and proven vendors to help create the best tools, support and environment to manage an increasingly costly health landscape. We focus on increasing productivity so there’s a tangible return on investment. Although individual employee outcomes are desired, this approach takes an overarching view of the challenges to ensure a measurable outcome for workers and the overall organization.
The same is true in health benefits. An organization should improve employees’ health and well-being with a full spectrum of services that are just right for your situation. These are revealed through proprietary evaluations and diagnoses that show the best opportunities to drive results and improve employee health — for your unique company.
Mercer clients report an average reduction in claims duration and costs
Outcomes could include:
- Less time seeking new providers
- Improved lost time results (average of 15%)
- Shortened claims duration and frequency
- Data-driven policies and programs that make a positive change for short-term disability, leaves of absence and accommodation, attendance and engagement
- Proven training, education, policy and compliance reviews
- Best practice advice