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White paper examines how to achieve the behavior change needed to boost productivity

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Efforts to increase workforce productivity have focused on upgraded technology, process improvement and better governance. A white paper released in March 2018 by Morneau Shepell suggests that it is now time to tackle the most complex element of improving workforce productivity: ensuring commitments to total health from employers and employees.

Total Health: the last piece of the workforce productivity puzzle, by Dr. Bill Howatt, explains that workforce productivity, or the amount of services/goods a workforce produces within an expressed time and budget) improves when each employee contributes more to the organization’s collective effort.

The white paper’s key premise is that, in order to maximize employee contribution levels, organizations and individuals must work together to improve employee total health.

The solution, as explained in the white paper, is to focus on total health. The approach is based on the principle that improving employee productivity requires proactively influencing four key areas: physical health, mental health, workplace health and life health (healthy finances and relationships) through a two-way accountability model.

“This point of view represents a shift from the traditional model where the expectation is that the employer’s role is to fix everything,” said Dr. Howatt. “The employer-employee partnership model begins with education and change management so that employees understand why the employer cares about their health, followed by their participation in improving their own health.”

In order to arrive at a plan for identifying and implementing measures that will drive workforce productivity, the authors of the white paper identified a flexible five-stage approach that can be adapted to an organization’s particular needs. The five stages of Morneau Shepell’s total health model are:

  1. Define the problem: Frame the employer’s current situation, needs and desired outcomes, as well as why it is valuable to take action now.
  2. Investigate: Survey employees to uncover their perceptions, preferably using a survey tool that uses predictive analytics and social science to identify drivers that are impacting workforce productivity.
  3. Develop a strategy: Using the survey results, determine the organization’s needs and objectives.
  4. Implement: Outline programs and solutions that support the organization.
  5. Evaluate: Determine the methodology that will be used to measure return on investment.

A PDF of the white paper is available for download here (registration required).

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