Study demonstrates healthier employees perform better and are more engaged

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A recent Australian study has indicated that devoting resources to employee health can yield rewards for organisations by improving worker performance, engagement and retention.

The research, conducted by Australian Unity, found that employees within a high-risk intervention group improved in both biometric health and lifestyle factors, compared to the high risk control group who tended to improve in lifestyle factors only – based on the data of a six month coaching program supplied by the by Remedy Healthcare.

Summary of findings

  • In the high-risk intervention group there was a 14 percent reduction in the number of employees at high risk of developing diabetes compared to a four percent reduction in the high-risk control group over a six-month period.
  • The high-risk intervention group saw a four percent increase in the number of people who received a higher than average performance rating, compared to a five percent decrease in the high risk control group.
  • One of the strongest positive outcomes for the organisation was in the retention metric – the high-risk intervention group returned a 14 percent decrease in the intention to leave the organisation, which has direct cost savings and knowledge retention benefits for the organisation. Intentions to leave did not shift for the high-risk control group.
  • The high-risk intervention group also reported the most positive shifts in employee engagement compared to the high-risk control group.
  • Employees in the low-risk control group, who had better health, were two times more likely to be rated a high performer by their manager than those in the high-risk intervention or control group.

The Wellbeing for Performance Report by Australian Unity and research partner Towers Watson can be accessed online at www.australianunity.com.au.

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