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Is There Really a Connection btwn #health & Productivity? Work.Love.Play.Daily 53 #hr

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Uploaded on Apr 18, 2011

This video blog post is an extension of my current benefits column for HR Executive (client) called, Correlating Well-Being to Productivity: http://bit.ly/g93RJS.

I've been working in the area of employee health and productivity management for approximately the last 15 years. There has been a great deal of quiet discussion lately around whether there truly is a connection between employee health and productivity.

The answer may be, "It depends." In the ideal world, on a population basis, improvements in the major lifestyle behaviors (body weight, exercise, smoking status, and fruits and vegetables consumption) would have a positive cause-and-effect relationship with productivity levels. But, it doesn't appear that we are seeing that to a large enough extent that productivity improves in step with health.

However, the above observation is not to negate the positive correlation that may be seen between an individual's improvement in health status and his/her unique improvement in productivity. The trouble is that we can't seem to get enough individuals to improve in this way to evidence a positive relationship between the entire employee population's health and productivity.

So, where might a relationship exist between population-based parameters and productivity? It seems that more global well-being measures such as job satisfaction, feeling energized, doing meaningful work, ability to grow in their work, a sense of team, positive relationships with other people and belief in the company are more tightly correlated with employee productivity.

The factors that have little connection with employee productivity include exercise and fitness levels. And a healthy weight has no correlation with productivity. (Note: these results come courtesy of Limeade.)

Please keep in mind that these are correlations and not necessarily cause-and-effect results. What that means, for example, is that when employees report that they believe they do meaningful work, they also tend to report that they are more productive. This is a correlation. One may or may not cause the other to happen.

So, to summarize, employee productivity - on a population basis - may be most tightly correlated with the parameters that the Great Places to Work Institute has focused on for years: trust in your employer, pride in your work, and camaraderie with your co-workers.

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